Without seasoning, the tea from this little beauty tasted like chalky sand in the mouth.  Yugh.

Oolong pot seasoning A

I got it last year in the town of Yixing, China from Master Zhou, a master potter of yixing clay teapots for which the town is famous.  Most yixing clay is a brown-purple colour but it was this little yellowy-ochre teapot that called to me from Master Zhou’s shelves.

Yixing Master Zhou pours tea SNAP

Seasoning an unglazed* yixing clay teapot is not complicated but for some reason the thought of it was intimidating so only now, over a year later, have I gotten to it.  There’s lots of how-to’s on the internet and if you triangulate the entries you get a good idea.  I found Tao’s instructions and VerdantTea‘s very helpful.

Learn from my experience —  do not use tap water, otherwise the tea made in it will taste like chlorine.

Oolong pot seasoning C Oolong pot seasoning D

Oolong pot seasoning E

Using spring water (not tap), bring to a boil then simmer for about 30 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the water cool before removing the teapot.

Oolong pot seasoning F

Oolong pot seasoning G

Using the type of tea you intend using the teapot for, steep tea in the pot, pouring each 10-15 second steeping into a larger bowl until the bowl is full.  Again, use spring water not tap water.

Oolong pot seasoning H

The teapot will absorb some of the tea’s flavour.

Oolong pot seasoning J

Remove when tea has cooled completely and let pot dry — remove lid so moisture is not trapped inside.

Oolong pot seasoning K

Oolong pot w tea C

For my first attempt at seasoning I used tap water and the first pot of tea it was chokingly chlorinated!  What a disappointment.  At first I wondered if the water mixed with the clay during its making was chlorinated but quickly realised that being absorbent and spending 30+ minutes in hot chlorinated water it had, naturally, absorbed the chlorine from my tap water.  Fortunately re-soaking the pot in hot oolong tea made with spring water seems to have erased that chlorine memory from my little guy.

I will be using this pot only for oolong teas and can look forward to it slowly absorbing more of the flavours and developing a smooth and shiny finish from the oils in the tea.

* If your pot is glazed, you do not need to season it.