Clay Teapot Gongfu Brewing - How I Got Started

by Rob
(Alberta)

For me, using clay teapot makes a definite difference; because a clay-pot retains the residue and flavor of the tea made in it.


I never thought much about this prior to my last trip to China in Dec. 07. While there, I was magnetically drawn into every tea-shop I passed.

Of course the owners always offered tea and chat. I have a limited Chinese vocabulary but always carried a dictionary and phrasebook.

It was in one of these shops, in Yangshuo, where the owner was treating me to some very tasty pu-erh tea. He knew no English at all but we got along fine. He showed me his serving pot which was a burnt orange color, but on the inside it was as black as pitch.

He demonstrated how, even with no tea leaves in the pot, when boiling water was poured in, the water came out with the hue of tea.

He then showed me, through pointing to various pots and subsequent teas, how one pot was used for each tea to ensure that there was no cross-over in tastes.

Until that time I was always using one pot for my Baozhong and various oolong teas and have always used a glass vessel for green tea. Since that time I have purchased several more pots to separate my tea tastes.

Buying Clay Teapot

I now have a different teapot for each type of tea I drink: pu-erh, raw (green) and ripe (cooked), Baozhong, Tieguanyin, other oolongs, and I still use a glass pot for the West-Lake Longjing tea.

For anyone considering this method, they should look for light, thin-walled pots for low temperature teas such as Baozhong or green teas, and find thicker walled pots for pu-erhs and oolongs and Tieguanyin's.

For anyone not aware, Baozhong and Tieguanyin are both oolong teas, but their personalities are so unique that I make a distinction for them from other oolongs.

I find that a 100 ml pot is ideal for personal use or with one other person. I use 200 ml pots for larger groups.

Caring For Clay Teapots
The new pots should be prepared by first putting them in a pot of water and bringing it to a boil. Be careful to pad the new pot and lid while in the boiling water as they will jump around.

After 15 - 20 minutes, add a quantity of the type of tea leaves that you will be using the pot for, and let them lightly boil for an additional 20 minutes. Be sure that the pot is entirely submerged through this process.

Remove the pot from the brew and let it cool off, upside down. The pot is now ready for you enjoyment.

After using your pot, it should be rinsed out with hot water and left to dry upside down.

Occasional polishing with a soft cotton cloth will eventually bring a lustrous shine to your pot.

Using Gaiwan

For initial taste testing, I use a gaiwan or a competition tea-tasting set I picked up online.

If I am introducing a new tea to a friend, I will also use the gawan so that they taste only the tea that I am offering at that time.

But, for my owRobn consumption, I always return to my clay pots.

I can hardly wait for the time when my favorite teas will begin to "own" their individual pots!

Comments for Clay Teapot Gongfu Brewing - How I Got Started

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Sep 14, 2014
tea kettle
by: Carter

Hi, I like your blog, well done. Wondering what type of kettle or pot you use to boil the water in. Thanks so much.

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