How to deal with a new yixing pot

I think I mentioned a while ago that a friend of mine has asked me to write a column for the magazine he’s editing. I just got a copy today of the first issue, and it has a rather interesting article on the care of Yixing pots. This is advice from a daughter of one of the Yixing pot artists on how to deal with new pots:

1) First use hot water to rinse the pot, both inside and out, and get rid of the dust and dirt on the pot. Then put it in a cooking pot that doesn’t have any oil (or other forms of contamination) and fill it with water – three times the height of the teapot itself — and boil for two hours. This will get rid of the soil and the fire taste.

2) Put tofu into the teapot, add water and boil the pot for an hour. The gypsum in the tofu will help reduce the fire element in the pots, and can help disintegrate the excess materials of the pot (this is written pretty ambiguously in Chinese — not sure exactly what she’s talking about).

3) Buy some sugar canes, cut it into pieces, and put it into the cooking pot. Boil for an hour. The sugar will help moisturize the teapot.

4) Then you can brew it with the kind of tea you chose for this pot!

So, sounds rather simple — I’ve heard the tofu before, but not the sugar cane. I’d imagine all this should be done in one go. I wonder what the sugar will do to the pot….


Comments

How to deal with a new yixing pot — 6 Comments

  1. Good tips! Thanks for the translation. Sugar cane is rather hard to get in the US markets. Some Asian supermarkets should have them. However, if it’s the sugar that “moisturizes” (what does that mean?) the pot, I suppose crystallized sugar made from sugar cane should do, no?

  2. Thank you so much for the translation! I’m not entirely sure what she means by ‘moisturizing’ the pot either, but sucrose does cling on to water molecules very well. Perhaps it would help the pot get that seasoning and develop a patina a little better or faster. I don’t know if I would use demerara sugar instead of the cane, though. Sugar cane has a deeper, more ‘molasses’ like taste and obviously less sucrose per mass unit than demerara. Throwing sugar into the pot might blitz it…you could get a lot of sugar on the very surface, but nothing a little deeper where it could be useful.

    But that’s just newbie speculation on my part.

  3. Howdy –
    Reading your blog here as a recommendation via teachat… my yixing pot got busted today and now need to find another

    So – I’m a Chinese medicine practitioner and thought I would mention a couple things from your Chinese notes.

    1. Gypsum (Shi Gao in Chinese medicine terminology) traditionally used to be used to coagulate tofu milk into curds. I don’t think it’s used very often anymore. Check the ingredients (calcium sulfate). Better yet, just use some gypsum. You can buy it at a chinese medicine pharmacy or ask a local acupuncturist / herbalist.

    2. Sugar – moistens dryness according to Chinese medicine. Sugar in the raw or turbinado is the ‘whole’ form of evaporated cane juice (with natural minerals).

    Nice blog!

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