So yixing pots are supposed to be seasoned over time as you use it… but how exactly does that happen?
I’ve been more than puzzled by the exact process. Supposedly, the pots will slowly gain a shine as you use them. You’re supposed to use a wet cloth to sort of buff the pot, basically, after using them and while they’re still hot, ideally. But there are many, many theories out there about the way you raise a pot. Some say you should just leave leaves in them. Some say you should clean them out right away. Some say it’s good to polish them often. Some say it’s good to not do it very often. Some say it’s important to use only one tea in them. Some say it doesn’t really matter how many kinds of teas you use in your pot.
The information has been, on the whole, contradictory. I cannot help but feel though that much of it is magic, and not really true.
What I can say is this — that over time, at least for the pots that I have raised myself, they do slowly gain a shine. I usually pour the wash over the pot while I am brewing my first infusion. Otherwise, I just pour hot water over them. I rarely rub them with a towel — maybe once a month, if even. I don’t usually leave leaves in them over night. I clean them out after using them. The most obvious change happened to my young puerh pot, which was fresh from the kiln when I got it. Now it’s actually got quite a sheen to it after about a year’s use.
There is also the matter of the clay’s quality. I am currently running an experiment on a cheap pot that broke on its way from Taiwan to here. Basically, I’m soaking it in my spent tea leaves every night before I go to bed. I have noticed that it started doing what they call “spitting black”, basically, black spots that show up on the pot. They don’t go away. Supposedly, from what I’ve read online, they are the result of under-firing of the pot. The pores are too big, and the iron ions of the tea (supposedly one of the things in it) will infiltrate these pores and somehow a reaction happen and it turns black. All pots eventually do this, but really underfired ones are more likely to do this, and at a faster rate.
This is only what I’ve read. I don’t know if it’s true. It’ll be pretty interesting if it were true. The black spots, I should add, are quite numerous. Maybe I’ll show you all a picture when I get better lighting. The thing though is that before I used it, the pot doesn’t look that different from many other ones. I could sort of tell it was slightly on the low density side of things, but it was not obviously so.
Anybody got pot-raising stories to share?