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Do we have to use one tea pot for one tea?

[2013.03.20] Posted By

Nosaka teapot

It often comes to the discussion whether or not we should use one teapot for one tea. I would like to share some knowledge based on my first hands experience.
 

It is the mineral that you need to care

 
 

Flavor of tea disappear fast as it get oxidized

1. Flavor of tea comes from organic substance. When we brew tea using a clay tea pot, its flavour may remain for short period of time. Once organic substance is oxidized, flavor will then disappear from the clay. In other words, organic substance present in tea is not our main concern.

 

Mineral keeps growing on the inside

2. Minerals contribute to after taste. Mineral is very stable. For example, the salt found in the mountain remains unchanged and never deteriorated even if it is kept for thousands of year.

Therefore, we need to pay attention to minerals and not the flavour of tea. When we brew tea in a teapot, both tea and water also supply minerals. As such, I determine three sources of minerals as follow:-

A. Tea
B. Water
C. Clay

nosaka reduction clay teapot

Both tea and water is the source of mineral

If the clay and water is the right quality, we are supposed to experimence more “after taste” than that of water by itself.

  1. B + A
  2. B + C
  3. B + A + C

Right clay increases the after taste of water

The combination of clay + water gives stronger after taste than just water by itself. This is due to the interaction of minerals from clay with water molecules. If a teapot is only used with water over and over again for many months, minerals from water will accumulate on the surface of clay and form a layer of “scale”. Scale consists of not only calcium carbonate, but also various kinds of trace minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc and etc. Each type of water used contributes to the mineral composition of the scale. In a long run, minerals accumulate on the surface of clay and form a solid layer.

nosaka clay hohin

Teapot performs better even if it is just seasoned by water

A teapot treated with water everyday for 1 month produce smoother taste.
We did conduct the following experiment.We poured water into clay teapot everyday and continue more than a month. A month later, we tasted the water from the clay tea pot, it is definitely different compare to the taste of water from a new tea pot of the same clay. The clay that has been treated with water for a month gives stronger after taste than new clay. This fact implies that it is very important to stick to the same type of water when brewing tea.

mineral water

Parenthetically, the after taste of No.2 (B+A) must be stronger than water (B). If the combination between clay and water is not correct, the after taste on water is stronger than No.2. This could be happened if the clay is not suitable. Hence, before start brewing tea, please conduct the following experiment and make sure that the intensity of after taste is stronger than control.

 

The minerals from tea also accumulates on the inside of clay

Tea is the additional source of minerals besides water. If we keep brewing the same tea using the same water and clay, a complex of minerals will be formed on the surface of clay. The minerals come from both water and tea leaves. If teapot is used for only one type of tea, it will consistently build-up the complex of minerals. Later on the intensity of after taste on No.2 becomes equal to No.3. If you just run through water in your teapot, you will enjoy the same intensity of after taste as when tea is brewed. Because teapot is coated with the solid layer of minerals supplied from both water and tea leaves.  At this point, if you brew tea using this tea pot, the intensity of after taste is supposed to be even stronger than No.3.  This is the theory of how the performance of teapot is improved.

Tokoname clay hohin

It is not very practical to stick to one teapot for one tea

After all, it is very ideal to stick to one teapot for one type of tea. However, most importantly you must stick to the same type of water. I usually drink more than 100 types of tea in a month. Should I use more than 100 teapots? It seems not very practical for me.

pu-erh mao cha

Recommendation

As a conclusion, for each type of clay teapot, I will only use it for the type of tea which gives a stronger after taste when it is combined with the clay. If I keep changing the type of tea to brew in one teapot, the performance of clay may not be upgraded much, although the performance of clay can be improved thanks to the minerals from the water. If you wish to share the same teapot for a few different types of tea, please select based on the same origin and not the category of tea. Tea should be grouped based on its source, such as “Phoenix tea”, “Wuyi tea”, “Taiwan Oolong”, “Sencha from yabukita”, “Sencha from zairai”, “Yunnan tea” and etc.

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