Dozens of web sites advise the same thing: season your new Yixing teapot. But should you really do this? Recently, some folks who are diehard Yixing teapot users said, “No.” I, however, am not so sure. So, that means a bit of closer examination of the pros and cons of seasoning are in order.
|Do you really want to put your teapot through this?
(Photo used with permission, all rights reserved)
How to Season (brief summary)
After cleaning the pot with hot water, steep some of the tea type selected for that pot in it. You can either drink the tea or discard it. Some recommend steeping the teapot in a larger cooking pot full of the selected tea for as long as 24 hours. Since the clay used to make these teapots is not glazed or sealed in any way, they remain porous and thus soak up the tea. Again, this is a very condensed version of the seasoning process. (See a more detailed description in our article on this blog: So You Bought a Yixing Teapot — Now What?)
Some Pros and Cons of Seasoning
One con that has come up several times in discussions is that using the seasoning method where you immerse the entire teapot in a stock pot or other large cooking pot full of some of the hot tea could dull the exterior finish of the pot over time. A pro is that your tea will have less of a clay aspect (something I’ve experienced with the pot I haven’t seasoned). A con is that this clay aspect is not a big deal and not worth the effort to some people of going through the seasoning process – nor the wasted tea. Your pot will absorb a little of the tea you steep in it which will alter the tea’s flavor over time, usually making it a bit stronger, with the flavor profiles becoming more pronounced. This is a pro unless you don’t like this change and want your tea to taste pretty much the same with each infusion session.
It’s ultimately up to you whether you want to go through the seasoning process or not.