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Topic: Question on use of Yixing teaware (teapots aside)

This is a bit of a newbie question, but then I'm a bit of a newbie so hopefuly that's ok :P 

At the local teashop and at various places online I've seen plenty of teaware made from (supposedly) Yixing clay, including cups, strainers, waste bowls, cha hai, etc. some of which are lined with porcelain on the inside, some of which are not.  My understanding is that teapots made from this clay should be used with only one kind of tea to avoid general grossness down the road, so does this rule also apply to other unglazed Yixing teaware?  If all Yixing teaware accumulates layers of seasoning in the same way as the teapots, then is there a way to un-season teaware without making everything that passes through it taste like detergent?  Better yet, is there a quick and easy way to prevent the buildup of seasoning in the first place?  I ask because a strainer of similar style to this one:

http://cgi.ebay.ca/Lotus-Leaf-Yixing-Cl … 3357544076

caught my eye at the local tea shop, but I don't want to have to submerge it in pot of boiling water on the stove for an hour to get it clean every time I use it to filter three or four steeping's worth of tea.

If anyone can shed any light on this, that'd be much appreciated.


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Re: Question on use of Yixing teaware (teapots aside)

I wouldn't worry about seasoning building up on things you don't drink from (waste bowls), but I would personally avoid using non porcelain-lined tools for cups, chahai, etc (though I wouldn't mind some Yixing tea boats or teapot dishes). Just an opinion. Even the Yixing cups that have porcelain on the inside are weird for me - something about the unglazed clay doesn't feel right on my mouth, and I don't think you want people's saliva "seasoning" your cups. On top of this (and this is very subjective), the cups that are completely unglazed somehow make me feel like the taste of the tea isn't as "clear". It might just be because you can't see the color of the tea broth (which is, in and of itself, a problem) The other problem (more an aesthetic one than anything else) is that the clay may not match the clay of whatever pot you're using. Usually you see the Yixing chahai / cups / etc. as part of a matched set.

For a strainer, I doubt it would affect the taste of the tea, but I wouldn't use a Yixing strainer either. Really, though, it takes years and years for the kind of seasoning that you're talking about to build up, and much of the tea will probably be in contact with the mesh part of the strainer, and you'd be rinsing / warming with hot water all the time. If you want to use a strainer (many people don't), my recommendation would be one of the gourd ones with a nylon mesh filter part. If not that, a porcelain filter with metal mesh would probably be my second recommendation.

Re: Question on use of Yixing teaware (teapots aside)

Thanks for your thorough reply William, it'll give me plenty to think about.