Sculpted Yixing Jiangponi Clay Gaiwan
$89.00 – $128.00
- What is Yixing Zisha?
- Seasoning & Care
- Additional information
This gaiwan is fully handmade/sculpted from Yixing Jiangponi clay.
It is available with or without a tray and holds approximately 125ml.
Zisha (紫砂, lit. “purple sand”) clay from Yixing is valued largely due to the porous nature of the clay. As you use it, oils from your tea enter the gaiwan, which can in turn season it and enhance the flavour of the tea you use it with over time. For this reason, we recommend dedicating your new Yixing gaiwan to one type of tea only (raw puer, shou puer, aged puer, black, dancong, yancha, etc) and never washing it with soap or anything else besides water. Please see the care instructions tab above for more details on seasoning and maintaining your gaiwan .
We recommend testing this gaiwan with different types of tea and deciding for yourself which type is most suitable, as there are no hard and fast rules for clay and tea type pairings. However, the conventional advice is that more porous clays are suitable for shou puer, humid stored aged raw puer and higher roasted wulongs, such as many Yancha. This is due to the higher porosity of the clay, which can help “clear up” the tea by reducing excessive storage or roasting flavour.
Additionally, a patina or surface shine will develop on the outside of the gaiwan due to its interaction with the tea, providing an aesthetic enhancement. Functionally, zisha gaiwan also have very good heat retention qualities.
Once your receive your new zisha gaiwan, you may want to season it and prepare it for the many teas and years of use it will experience. Personally, we have shied away from seasoning gaiwan as time goes on, not because this process doesn’t help, but because it is extra work and invites the risk of breakage if you’re not careful.
Gaiwans made from genuine clay should not exhibit much clay taste of flavour-suck for too long, so we feel that a week or 2 of consistent use is typically sufficient to break in a new gaiwan. More often than not, we just rinse a new gaiwan twice with boiling water, then go to town. Simple and easy.
With that said, if you still wish to season your gaiwan and get a head start, the process is relatively simple:
- Check for clay deposits and scrape gently with a wooden or bamboo stick if necessary.
- Place the gaiwan in boiled water and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes. Some may advise letting your gaiwan simmer in the pot during this time. If you do this, avoid letting the gaiwan is rattle on the side of the boiling pot too much. If you notice this, reduce the heat to a less vigorous boil and always use a cloth or towel to pad the sides.
- Remove the gaiwan and allow it to dry
- Using new water, add some new or used tea leaves of the type that you plan to use this gaiwan for, boil, add the gaiwan and allow it to sit for another 30-60 mins. Again, you can boil the gaiwan with the tea for this duration if you wish, just be careful.
- Rinse with regular water and allow to dry. Try not to use excessively cold water for this step in order to avoid shocking the gaiwan and causing a potential crack. In fact, avoid sudden/drastic temperature changes altogether to avoid cracking or breaking your new gaiwan – it can happen.
- Repeat as desired
- Your gaiwan is ready to be used!
After seasoning your gaiwan, it’s advised to designate the gaiwan for one type of tea (raw puer, ripe puer, oolong, black tea, etc) as the gaiwan will slowly absorb the flavour and characteristics of the tea you use it for.
If for some reason you use it with another type of tea, don’t worry. Your gaiwan is not ruined or tainted. The process of raising it is cumulative and happens over a long period of time – one simple session of brewing with another type of tea won’t make a noticeable difference. However, one thing you should definitely not do is use soap or anything other than water to wash or rinse your gaiwan. If it absorbs the properties of tea over time, it will also absorb anything else you put in it, especially anything perfumed or scented.