We are pleased to share these zisha teapots used for gongfu cha. These are vintage pots from the 1990s. They are unused and have been in storage in Asia for the past ~thirty years. They were produced with clay from Huang Long Shan (Yellow Dragon Mountain), Yixing for the Taiwanese market. These pots were produced by the traditional ‘half-handmade’ method. Therefore, each pot is slightly different with evidence of the craftsperson’s work visible inside the pot. The lids are generally quite tight for pots from this era. We have been testing one of each pot for the past few months and have found each to be very pleasant to use. As these are vintage tea ware, we only have a limited amount and when they are gone they will not be restocked.
Before these pots are used the clay should be ‘opened’. This will remove any dust and grit on the pot from having been in storage for thirty years and open the pores of the clay making it function better in brewing tea. This is done by boiling the teapot in fresh water before using to make tea. Place the teapot with its lid off and beside it in a clean metal pot (preferably one that is not used for cooking, but if that’s all you have it’s OK) and fill with clean, cold water. Make sure there is enough water to cover the teapot by at least one centimeter. Then place the cooking pot on the stove and turn the heat to high until the water begins to boil. Once the water starts to boil, lower the heat to a soft simmer and let the teapot simmer that way for ten minutes. As there is a danger of the teapot chipping or even breaking during this process, please monitor the boiling water carefully during this time to make sure the water does not boil too vigorously. If you would like to be extra cautious you can place a clean cloth in the bottom of the pot and place the teapot and lid on top of that before adding the water. We don’t do this, but it makes for a softer environment for the teapot to boil in. After ten minutes turn off the heat completely and let the water sit until warm. Once the water has cooled enough to safely place your hand in, remove the teapot and lid. Rinse both thoroughly with fresh water then set them out to dry. The clay has now been opened up and the teapot is ready for use in gongfu cha preparation. As a pot is used it will develop a unique patina from brewing often. Never use soap to clean a zisha pot as the soap will become deposited in the pores of the clay and negatively affect tea flavor.
Pour time: ~10 seconds
Number of holes: 7
Available in Purple and red clay
This is a classic ‘water balance’ shape with the added elegance of the ‘pigeon beak’ curve in the spout. The purple (zini) clay is excellent for shou puerh as well as darker and roasted oolongs and black teas. The red clay (hongni) works well with lighter, green oolongs, high-mountain oolong, and white tea.
Pour time: ~13 seconds
Number of Holes: 7
This ‘chopped ball’ shape pot works wonderfully for darker oolongs, black tea (called red tea in Chinese), and puerh (although we think it’s a bit large to use for puerh). Its spherical shape makes it work better for rolled teas to unfurl as opposed to twisted teas. It pours very smoothly at a pleasing angle.
Pour time: ~12 seconds
Number of Holes: 7
This whimsical pear-shaped pot is perfect for lighter green oolongs, high mountain oolongs, and tightly rolled teas. It has a hidden air hole under the ‘stem’ on the lid and pours smooth and fast. It is an aesthetic joy to use.
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