When choosing a clay tea pot, there are many points to consider. To begin with, Purple clay mined from the Yi-Xing province in China is said to be the best. For those of you who are just starting out, it is good to note that purple clay is not always purple. Yi-Xing clay has a high mineral content which adds to the strength of the overall product and being a porous material, absorbs the flavour of the tea.
Most clay tea pots are small enough to fit in the palm on your hand. When choosing a clay pot, the first thing I look for is a suitable handle - this could be the difference between a tea pot lasting a long time, or a short time. I like the handle to be round and roomy and easy to grip. For people with larger hands, a larger handle is recommended.
The lid should be easy to grip and the ball on top needs to be big enough to pick up so again, if you have larger hands, consider something to fit. Also make sure there is a ventilation hole in the lid. A good clay pot will have the hole on top of the ball which also doubles as a flow control whilst pouring. The lid should be a solid fit. The less it rattles, the better.
Next is the spout. Most spouts on clay tea pots are good, so aesthetics are really what it comes down to for me. A spout that lines up with the handle is always a sign of a well made pot.
Take the lid off and sit the pot upside down on a flat surface. A pot which is well balanced will not have any need to rock from side to side.
This was my first clay tea pot. It is not Yi-Xing but I absolutely loved every pot of tea it made and I learned a lot about tea with this little one. Now retired but not forgotten, it sits proudly on my tea shelf.
This is the pot I use now. Yep... Yi-Xing!
Below, are two Yi-Xing clay tea pots, both exceptional in function and available on the website.