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How to choose a yi xing teapot 1

18 Jul
ceramic teapotLet’s go on to talk about teapot, let me just say that most seasoned tea drinkers have at least 3 or 4 yi xing teapotsof different shapes and sizes. I am not saying you need a few teapots to be a serious tea drinker. It’s just that in order to make the best out of your tea leaves in different settings, you need to use different teapots.
Getting back to the topic, let’s first talk about size. Teapots come in sizes/volume from 1 gongfu teacup to about 1 liter. The ones used to make

small yixing teapot

Chinese tea typically aren’t bigger than 500mL, like the ones used in Chinese restaurants. Big yi xing teapots of this size usually cannot make very good tea. (There are exceptions when steeping aged fermented tea like Pu’er). In gongfu tea, the right teapot size depends on the number of cups of tea to make in each steep. The yi xing teapot should be just big enough to make the number of cups needed. The reason here is that a teapot too small will not produce enough tea in one steep. A teapot too big will produce more tea than you need, which results in waste if you pour the excess away or you "destroy" your tea leaves by oversteeping if you leave the excess in the teapot. (In traditional gongfu tea we pour straight from the teapot to the cup, so there is no other pot to collect the tea from the teapot).
Another aspect here is that most tea expand when steeped and take up space, reducing the available water volume. How much the tea expands depends on the type of tea and the amount of tea leaves you use. Tea like Gunpowder and Tie Guan Yin expand more, while dragon well and Pu’erh don’t expand much. If you like to make strong tea, you also need a slightly larger teapot because the more tea you use, the less room there is for water in the teapot. Okay I need some tea now. I’ll be back for Part 2.

How to choose a yi xing teapot 2

18 Jul
I talked about choosing the right size of yi xing teapot in previous. This article, let’s look into the types of yi xing teapots to choose. Using the right type of teapot is crucial to brewing a good cup of tea.
Yi xing teapot (zisha teapot,purple clay teapot), is the traditional gongfu teapot. It is THE teapot I recommend for brewing most tea. Here’s why: The clay used to make Yi xing teapot is very unique. It’s slower in conducting heat and has good permissibility.
A good yi xing teapot is capable of concentrating the heat from the hot water into steeping/brewing the tea leaves. It is also very durable because its good permissibility prevents it from cracking. A yi xing teapot that is used everyday doesn’t need to be washed/scrubbed. All it takes is a quick rinse with boiling water before use and it’s ready for action. Yi xing teapot lets you bring the best out of your tea. But a good one now demands quite a premium.
Flat teapots have wider bottom which work well for spreading the dry tea leaves out and preventing "soaping" of tea leaves inbetween steeps. Having a wide bottom (Shi piaostyle or Xu bianstyle) to spread out dry tea leaves allows the leaves to expand evenly during steeping. Better expanded tea leaves release more flavor, producing better liquor.
duo qiu(drop ball) yixing teapot with round bottomshi piao yi xing teapot with flat bottomxu bian yi xing teapot with flat body
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