Last night as I was brewing Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin in my favorite zhu ni (red clay) teapot, I stuck my nose inside and was delighted to find that it has a crisp, floral, oolong aroma. The gradual process of teapot seasoning is well underway!
Aficionados say a well-seasoned pot doesn’t need leaves to brew tea. The affinity the pot develops for its habitual tea variety is one reason that many prefer to make only one type of tea in a given pot. I’ve been using this pot for about a year and a half; the oolong fragrance is a recent development.
Good teapot maintenance is important to proper seasoning. Never wash the pot in anything except hot water or tea. Don’t dry, wipe, or try to clean the dark tea residue from the inside of the pot or lid ... it’s a good thing! After use, rinse the pot, buff the outside dry with a soft cotton cloth or tea towel, and invert it on a rack (I use an old bamboo tea tray) until it thoroughly air dries. Use the pot regularly and be patient. Eventually it will evolve into a treasure!