Friday, October 22, 2010

How Do You Make The Perfect Cup of Tea

You need a good teapot to truly enjoy a good cup of tea. And, it all starts with the vessel – the Yixing Teapot. For centuries, the aesthetic Yixing teawares are known to be the best vessel for brewing tea. Yixing teapots are famous in China and abroad for it’s renowned beauty and practicality.

Yixing teapot was first produced during the Sung Dynasty (A.D. 960 – 1280) but did not flourish until the Ming Dynasty (1600). This traditional style commonly used to brew tea originated in China, dating back to the 15th century, and are made from the world’s only source of uniqye clay produced in the region of the town of Yixing in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu. This clay is called “Zisha” or purple clay. During the Ming Dynasty traders have bought these teapots to Europe. Demand throughout China and from Europe had spurred a high level of artistic mastery in teapot design. The Yixing craftsmen inscribe Chinese art, classical literature, and calligraphy on the body of the teapots. Due to the exceptional artistry, they became sought-after treasures and were often found in the homes of royal families and social elites.

The Benefits
The Chinese have made teapots from different materials: jade, agate, crystal, lacquer, bamboo, iron, chinaware, sand, and clay. Yixing clay teapots have endured the test of time and are the most popular teapots in China. Individually handmade, the Yixing teapots are made from purple clay. With continued usage the porous and unglazed teawares will absorb the aroma and flavors of your tea. It is said that if you use a Yixing teapot for many years, you can brew tea by just pouring boiling water into the empty pot. The exceptionally strong purple clay will also increase in luster and color with repeated use. They have the ability to withstand high temperatures and are slow to conduct heat; therefore, the handle remains comfortably cool even when pouring very hot tea.

Preparing The Teapot
Prior to FIRST use:
1. Remove lid and add tealeaves into the teapot. Use tealeaves that you intend to brew in the future with your Yixing Clay Teapot.
2. Pour boiling water into your Yixing Teapot.
3. Let your teapot soak in the tea for 24 hours.
4. After 24 hours, remove the contents of the teapot.
5. Rinse well with hot water. This removes the natural earthy aroma of the teapot and rinses away any clay residue from the inside of your pot.
6. Let it air dry uncovered.

Cleaning Your Yixing Teapot
After each teapot usage, follow instructions below:
1. Pour the tea sediments away.
2. Rinse out the pot with hot water.
3. Wipe the outside dry with a soft cloth.
4. Leave in a dark dry corner to dry naturally.

Caution: Never use soap, cleansers, or detergents on your Yixing teapot

Having at least one Yixing teapot is essential to the tea lover’s kitchen collection!

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