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How To Season A New Chinese Teapot


New teapots come with a wax coating to protect the clay and make them look shiny on the shelf (and also make them look like more expensive antique teapots). This coating must be removed before making tea.  Here’s how to remove the coating and season the clay:

  1. Rinse the teapot in hot water and brush vigorously inside and outside with toothpaste (which is gently abrasive) and a toothbrush. Yes you read this right!
  2. Put a large pot of water on the stove lined inside with a cloth. The pot should be large enough to completely submerge the teapot
  3. Wrap the lid in another cloth and place in the large pot with the teapot. The cloths prevent breakage by stopping the teapot and lid from banging against the sides of the pot and each other when the water is boiling
  4. Bring the water to a boil, cover and boil the teapot and lid for 30 minutes
  5. After 30 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the water to cool
  6. Remove the teapot and lid and rinse thoroughly in warm water
  7. Optional - If you really want to season your teapot like a pro, re-fill the large pot with water, bring to a boil and add 2 – 3 tea-scoops of the tea leaves that you will be using for your teapot. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and steep the leaves for about 30 minutes to make a strong tea.  Strain out the leaves and any small particles and return the tea to the pot. 
    Repeat Steps 2 to 6 using this strong tea instead of water. (Straining removes small leaf particles from the water that can clog the pores of the clay and reduce the teapot’s effectiveness).
  8. Your teapot is now ready to start making tea 

Always pour any extra tea you might have over your teapot and give it an occasional polish with a soft cloth. This will help to build up the oils allowing your teapot to create its own unique patina.

If you should ever decide that you wish to use a teapot for making another type of tea, simply re-season the teapot per the above steps. There may be a break-in period with older pots.

For a full discussion on Chinese teapots, see our guide in the Library How To Choose A Chinese Teapot by Daniel Lui.

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