Today when I woke up I had a hankering for some Rou Gui, a darker oolong “rock tea” from the Wuyi Mountains which I happen to have paired with one of my Yixings. It has been months since I last worked with this (or any) Yixing teapots, and as I worked with it I started to become more aware of how different it felt to prepare tea in Yixing clay. Below is a short description of what I noticed…
For whatever reason, I tend to treat Yixing clay with a sort of reverence I don’t have for other brewing vessels. I think this is because of the time that I’ve spent cultivating the Yixings, and pairing them with the particular teas that I enjoy. This process has changed the Yixing teapot into something more valuable to me. I say this because I know that I could replace a broken gaiwan or glass teapot. And while I could do my best to recreate my Rou Gui Yixing, it would take LOTS of brewing: even then, it would never really be the same.
In short: the time that I’ve put into pairing my Yixing is time that I can’t get back, so if the Yixing is broken it will make me feel as thought I’ve lost a personal treasure.
Keep in mind that the teas that I brew in Yixing are darker, and what I’d call “heavier” teas, than the lighter greens and whites I tend to drink more often during the summer…
The Yixing teapots create a much “fuller” cup of tea. When I say this I mean that the tea has more body to it, but also that it has more depth and breadth of flavor. My Rui Gui pot is one of my more used pots, so it has a great deal of brewings which have contributed to its ability to make a damn fine cup of tea. But I’m a firm believer that when it comes to oolongs, and I mean any oolong, nothing can beat a well used Yixing teapot.
I think this might be one of the main reasons that so many tea masters use Yixing as their number one draft pick when it comes to brewing oolongs.
Each time I brew tea I gain some experiential knowledge. Seriously. Every time. But when I brew tea in one of my Yixing teapots I also feel as though I’m adding onto what has been built by all the use prior. Again, this is something that is very unique to Yixings, and I happen to think it’s really cool!
~In the End~
If you work with Yixing (I’m willing to bet) that you know what I’m talking about in this post. If you don’t use Yixing often, I think it would be very worth it to invest some money and time into one of your own.