Seven Days of Seven Cups, Day 1 – “Seasoning a Boob-Shaped Yixing Teapot”
In December of last year, I shattered my boob-shaped yixing teapot.
Yes, it was boob-shaped once. Not . . . accurately boob-shaped, but definitely figuratively. It had a whole story behind it and everything. (The story in question can be found HERE.) At the time, I was reaching for a gaiwan, and the li’l guy fell from the top shelf of my bookcase. The base completely ‘sploded, likely because I hadn’t seasoned the pot properly.
Naturally, I lamented about it rather loudly on social media. There was quite the show of solidarity from some of my tea contacts. More than I thought was normal. I was never really a “teapot” guy, but this one had been a gift.
One of the most interesting consolations I received was from Seven Cups’ own Austin Hodge, who said, “The Chinese see such an event as a sign that good luck is around the corner. This is especially true leading up to the new year.” That was . . . strangely comforting.
A week or so after that, Austin sent me a message, asking for my address. He said he was going to “send me a letter”. And send me a letter, he did . . . along with a few other things.
In the package, there were six Wuyi oolongs, and a brand-spankin’ new Xi Shi (read: ancient Chinese beauty’s boob-shaped) yixing teapot! The biggest surprise? It was a bigger boob.
A bit of an aside: It has come to my attention that some people don’t think it really looks like a boob. And they’re right, from this angle, it doesn’ t look like one . . .
But if you look at it top-down?
Theeeeere we go. Ya see it, now, don’cha?
At least, I “think” that’s what the original potter was getting at. Oh, who am I kidding? I have no clue what that pervy bastard was thinking. Or if he’d even come close to a woman.
I didn’t get around to using pot, though, until a few months later. And when I finally mustered the gumption to do so, I was dead set on doing it right this time. With the first yixing, I didn’t go about seasoning it properly—i.e. prepping it for use. This time ‘round, I swore to do it correctly . . . so that it wouldn’t ‘splode like the last one.
For this, I consulted a tea blogger friend—Nicole “Tea For Me Please” Martin—on the proper steps of yixing “teapot-fu”. She had even written a primer on the subject. One she based on the instructions provided by . . . *drum roll* . . . Seven Cups!
Full circle, man.
I’ll confess, though, I was in a rush when she told me what to do, and I barely skimmed her post on the subject. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to share the actual steps one should take in seasoning a yixing teapot . . . and compare them with what I did. Let’s begin.
- Pour room temperature water inside your tea pot and let sit for 4-5 hours.
I totally spaced this step. Like, it never even registered. To be honest, I think I was too busy thinking about “boop”-ing the teapot at the time.
Which I obviously did a few weeks later.
- Pour the water out and add boiling water to the inside of your pot. Let the water soak until the water decreases to room temperature.
I did remember to do this part right . . . but I was wincing the entire time—worried that the pot was going to explode from steam pressure.
As I waited for the water to cool down, I watched a lot of YouTube, chatted with friends, and did a little writing.
- Choose the type of tea that you would like to enjoy in your new pot. Place some tea leaves inside the pot and pour boiling water inside. Let the water cool to room temperature then pour out.
I had designated my original Xi Shi yixing teapot for heicha, puerh, and the like. While it would’ve made more sense to make it a yancha (Wuyi oolong) pot, given the teas I received from Seven Cups. I decided to stick with that designation. And for that purpose, I used some Autumn 2014 Misty Peak Yiwu sheng puerh.
I poured the water over the leaves, and let them swim in the pot like it was their own private clay hot tub. For an hour or so. In the interim, I grabbed dinner with my mother, visited with her for an hour, and then returned home. The puerh brewed . . .
Really dark. Like, “black tea” dark.
- Add water again to the same batch of leaves and let it cool for a second time, once cool discard both water and tea.
Completely forgot to do this as well. I was too busy getting tea drunk on the puerh concentrate I just brewed.
I don’t remember much else after that, save for getting a buttload of writing done.
In closing, I was about . . . oh . . . 60% successful in following directions. I think that’s a personal record. Since then, I’ve used the pot on several different heichas with satisfying results. The pour on the pot is perfect.
A beautiful, boob-shaped teapot to dip my balls in.
What’d you think I meant?