How to Select the Best Yixing Teapot


If you are an avid tea drinker and are looking to broaden your tea drinking experience, then try a Yixing teapot. The Yixing (pronounced ee-ching) teapot is a traditional Chinese teaware that dates back to the Jiangsu Dynasty (960-1279).

The particular clay deposits used for this type of tea vessel are found in the Jiangsu province of China. The most common clay used for Yixing teapots is referred to as zisha, is purple or red in color and is very rich in iron but devoid of elements such as lead, arsenic and cadmium.

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The high iron oxide content of zisha lends to the distinctive satiny finish once fired in the kiln. The unglazed stoneware is watertight and can withstand high temperatures of boiling water and retains heat well. Most importantly, because of the unique porous quality of a Yixing teapot, it is intended for use with only one type of tea as it absorbs and retains the delicate flavors of the tea that is steeped in it.

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The flexible but firm qualities of zisha clay made it a perfect material that could be fashioned into intricate and fanciful motifs. Master artisans of the trade have perfected their craft, creating exceptional designs that have been recognized for centuries.

When selecting your very own Yixing teapot there are several considerations. First is the size of the pot, which may be determined by the type of tea you would like to drink. A larger pot is often used for puerh or black teas that can serve a group of friends or a family. Smaller pots are ideal for individual servings of green, white tea or oolongs.

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As is the case with many products, the cost of a Yixing teapot will help you assess the quality of it. Many Yixing teapots today are mass-produced using molds, whereas higher quality ones utilize good quality clay and are professionally hand detailed. A good quality Yixing teapot can run $50 – 150. Handthrown pots by apprentices and masters can run in the hundreds of dollars to genuine antique ones in the thousands of dollars.

Enjoy the intimacy of your tea and your Yixing teapot, you may find yourself eyeing your next Yixing teapot for another type of tea in short order! Other teapots to consider include, ceramic tea pots, glass teapots and cast iron tatsubins.

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