Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yixing the Day After & Before the First Cup

Yesterday I cracked open my bing of Kunming Guyi factory's 2006 Jingmai Spring sheng pu'er. I like it; it's sweet and medicinal so far. But I used it in my little yixing teapot and the camphor scents of that specific tea seem to have lingered in the pot which makes for an interesting cup of Xiaguan Tibetan Flame brick!

I decided to also read online about the different ideas for maintaining yixing teapots. The information tag I got with my purchase was laconic. It simply said, "heat water, add one teaspoon to pot, steep 1 minute. Empty tea leaves when done and rinse teapot with water."
Very little information as to where the clay was sourced, how it was made, what benefits it has over porcelain, and all that jazz.
I found this odd, considering this is Chapel Hill; all the health food stores have massive poster displays on stands that go into great length with details and photos on where you're buying your food from, the farmer's name, the farmer's region's troubles with politics or threats of logging, and why buying this farmer's crop will allow him to have an extra goat or three chickens more. And then I wonder if all the store's chains have this poster display with the same amount of ink and paper, and then I wonder if the potato farmers have the same displays for them along with the bok choy farmers, and then I begin to wonder if perhaps the store would've saved money in the long run by simply buying the farmer a goat or three chickens with the amount of money spent on paper and ink and just have a handwritten sign saying, "GOOD FOOD."

So, buying something food related that doesn't have a display that goes into great depth about the digestive problems of the crops' earthworms is mighty suspicious. So, to the internet I went to find out more about the care of yixing.

And the amount of info I found was large. On youtube, I found a video of a guy boiling a teapot in water, and then adding tea leaves to season the pot. After all of this, he put toothpaste on a toothbrush and with some elbowgrease gave that pot a good, clean, fresh feeling. Hmmm. Another tea blog had a simple "rinse three times, brew a pot of tea, rinse teapot and let dry" for its advanced seasoning and maintenance advice, and offered that seasoning an yixing teapot closes its pores and makes it similar to a porcelain teapot. And one upscale site had a bunch of monotonous made-up advice which I've paraphrased: "One should first take into mind what sort of teapot would go best with a type of tea. Upon meditation and discovery upon the type of tea corresponding to the shape of the yixing, or as the Chinese are found of saying, Eyashwong, you must then put the teapot in a larger pot boiling water and place tea within the boiling pot, but take care! One must not make the resulting tea bitter or this shall affect the taste of the Eyashwong! When it is finished, one must then put on kidgloves or use all natural, unsealed bamboo tongs such as the type used in the Ming Dynasty (which we conveniently happen to have for a mere $45) to remove the teapot. But do not touch it with the bare hands! The oil of the hands might stick to the yixing, or Eyashwong, and forever mar the enjoyment of your teabags!"

For right now, I've decide to ignore all the advice except for the blog that said to rinse, brew, and enjoy. I drink tea to relax and enjoy it.
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