Equipment Needed: Yixing Teapot, share cup
Integral to brewing and enjoying fine chinese tea, Yixing teapots have a rich a varied history that we could spend days talking about. Here is the quick and dirty:
Yixing teapots consistently brew some of the best tasting Puerh and Oolong liquers due to their special clay and subsequent breathing abilities. One of the most unique clays on earth, the yixing holds the ability to slowly take on the flavour and essence of the tea it brews. Often, yixings are designated for a single type or category of chinese tea to enhance this effect. Repeated infusions inside the Yixing teapot using strong and concentrated brews via the Gong Fu Technique, allows the teapot to absorb the rich flavours. Rumour has it, that well used Yixing teapots can infuse plain old water when it is poured inside, sans the leaves. Now that’s magical.
Pre-heat the yixing teapot and any associated cups. Feel free to pour the hot water all over the outside of the teapot. Its messy, wet, and will likely give you shivers of excitement. If you are using Puerh or ball-rolled style oolongs, a quick rinse can be accomplished in this step as well.
Just like using the Gaiwan, measure an appropriate amount of tea into the Yixing teapot depending on the type of tea used. Feel free to fully engage with the bouqet of aromas that escape from those dry leaves due to the warmed clay.
Pour in your correct temperature water. A Traditional Gong Fu tea tray also allows for water to be poured over the teapot once the lid has been placed to help the teapot maintain temperature. Steep for the desired amount of time, which can range from 15-20 seconds, and lengthening subsequent brews by 10 or so seconds.
Finally, once your desired steeping time has elapsed, it is time to pour the tea! We do recommend using two hands as some of the yixing teapots can be quite small. Key point here, is to watch where the hole is on the lid of the yixing. On our pot, the hole is just underneath the handle of the lid. That enables a smooth flow through (physics stuff), so try to keep it clear. Pour the tea into the 'share cup' so that it can easily be shared amongst your thirsty guests.
Pour the steeped tea from the share cup into the your guests smaller cups. Pour one for yourself last, and sit back and enjoy. With all the excitement of brewing gong-fu tea, you deserve a break. Repeat steps 3-6 for several more times to really explore all the layers within the tea.