Monday, November 18, 2013

An Experiment

I was shopping for tea online recently, and decided to visit Yunnan Sourcing.  Once there I noticed the video player that was now on the front page.  For those of you who haven't yet seen it, it's about seasoning a teapot before use.  I watched it, then went over to Origin to try out some new Gaoshan, since Tony's Gaoshan is fantastic, in my opinion.

An impromptu setup that sits next to my guitar repair area.

A few days passed, and that video kept popping up in my memory.  Could seasoning a pot like that have any real effects?  I realized after a little while longer that we most often learn things by doing them, so my sort of newly acquired little yencha pot was the first victim volunteer.

Now don't get me wrong, this pot was purchased from a fellow teachatter, and I trusted him on his word, and it ended up being of great benefit to me.  I know that teapots can change the way a tea feels and tastes, but this humble pot improved both of those qualities a good deal, and my enjoyment of tea was at an all time high.  I could tell you the type of clay and the year/decade it was supposedly made, but I'd rather not - I'd rather have you, the reader of this blog, come over and taste the difference for yourself.  That's more important than any teapot stats could provide.

I initially was very apprehensive of this test and almost aborted the whole thing, but I stuck with it after reasoning with myself that it couldn't go that bad…right?
About 45 minutes later, I gently pulled the pot out of the tarry yencha 'soup' and proceeded to wash the leaves out of the pot. The pot wasn't in pieces or cracked, so I figured so far, so good. It was also neatly nestled in a swamp of tea leaves at the bottom of the pot when I retrieved it, so I figured that kept it from bouncing around too much.

Before I go any further, I had the good idea to drink some tea from this pot before seasoning and take quick notes about mouthfeel, flavours, aroma, huigan, se, ku and sheng jin.  I used a somewhat inexpensive tea that I was familiar with - The Da Hong Pao from 8 Xian tea.  Notes were taken and all went as expected.  After this seasoning, I decided to try the tea again, trying to make sure that all of the parameters that I could control were accounted for.

The tea was in fact better in regards to flavour, mouthfeel, and huigan.  The flavour was deeper and fuller, with a more complex mixture of wood/stone/caramel.  The mouthfeel was thicker and a little smoother, and that's great - but it didn't affect the way it felt on my throat, in which case it felt the same.  The huigan, with a mixture of minerals, a light hint of roast and some floral kind of flavour, lasted a minute or two longer afterwards. The shengjin was unaffected.

Too Shiny

Needless to say, the experiment was a success despite one minor complaint from me - the teapot is too shiny.  I wound up splashing it with hot water to try and reduce the shine, since I'm really not a huge fan of shiny teapots.  I think they should look more rustic with use,  and have spots with tea stains and spots without.  After understanding the difference, I've since seasoned the other pots that I use regularly, mostly my Gaoshan pot and my Sheng Puerh pot.  I have a new, bought-it-for-fun teapot that I'll be discussing in the future, one that's stumped me in a way.

Until next time..

1 comment:

  1. Seasoning certainly does a lot. While I often do some sort of gentle seasoning when I first get a teapot, I still realize the taste changes drastically over the next few months of use, especially if it sees regular use.