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….