A Tea Addict's Journal

Thoughts on seasoning pots

April 26, 2008 · 7 Comments

My method of seasoning pots is really very simple — use it. I remember when I first started out, I’ve learned all these tricks and things you do when you get a new pot. These days, I find myself not caring so much about all that, since I now tend to think they’re mostly just myth. I do still boil my pots when I get them new, because there are gunk and things that you don’t really want that you may wish to clear out of the pot. The first time I brew a tea in it I won’t drink, because new pots can be nasty. Otherwise though…. I just use.

I do polish my pots sometimes, with a wet (very important — must be wet) towel. Dry towels can make your pot look really shiny but in a slightly undignified way. Rub the pot with the wet towel while the pot’s hot… it will give it a nice shine without that “dry rub” look.

It is important to keep the lids more or less even coloured with the body of the pot, so it is necessary to pay extra attention to the lid. It is also important to make sure that mineral deposits don’t form on the pot — those can be rather difficult to get rid of once they set in. If you have a habit of pouring water over the pot, for example, they can congregate in certain parts of the lid/pot and gradually build up mineral rings. I’ve had one pot that I had to then meticulously work out the ring by constantly rubbing/seasoning that part. Not fun. Use a brush to brush out the liquid so that it won’t happen.

Other than that….. there really isn’t much to do. I’ve found that just by repeated brewing, without even much polishing, the pots gradually will take on a bit of a shine. It’s nice when you can see it change like that — somehow there’s a sense of accomplishment. It’s part of the fun.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • mulcahyfeldman // April 26, 2008 at 5:03 pm | Reply

    Thanks for elucidating your thoughts on preparing a pot and keeping it looking good. How long would you boil a new pot? Do you boil it in tea, tap water or filtered water?
    I also want to include another note of thanks for your blog. I reread your July ’07 entry on Cha Dao on a ‘constant tea meeting’ which is what your blog has provided for many of us tea lovers scattered about the globe. I love your blog, Toki’s, the Half Dipper’s, Tea Masters and Hou De’s just to name a few. Besides the wealth of information on tea, its appurtenances and brewing techniques, the artistry of the entries is often stunning, the level of literacy extraordinary, rivaled perhaps only by the Half Dipper. And I often find myself going back to old entries for more education and sometimes just to look again at the beautiful photos. There must be a book lurking there someplace with all the information and the absolutely stunning photos.

  • mulcahyfeldman // April 26, 2008 at 5:05 pm | Reply

    Perhaps ‘taking shape’ turns the phrase better than ‘lurking’….

  • MarshalN // April 27, 2008 at 1:21 am | Reply

    Thanks for your kind words. I would say for boiling… an hour or two will do. Make sure the water is on a very very low boil, or you will encounter disasters with the water moving the pot and the pot hitting the wall of whatever you are using to hold the pot in place…. bad things happen.

  • mulcahyfeldman // April 27, 2008 at 2:37 pm | Reply

    Thanks for the additional instruction. eileen

  • Anonymous // April 27, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Reply

    Hello there MarshalN,

    I’m reading your blog now for quite a while and I think of it as my favorite one on the net. I’d like to thank you for the experience and knowledge you share. It has been some great inspiration for me. In germany where I’m living it’s difficult to get good information on and good teas other than hong cha.. Thanks to the net!

    Enough honey, to the topic. I’ve read and practiced it for a time to rub the pot’s outside with the used tea leaves, let it sit for some minutes and then clean the pot. Sometimes it’s a mess but I think it will season the pot faster but I don’t know if it will season it evenly over time. Doing so there is polishing (with the leaves) included everytime one is doing this.
    What do you think about it?

    For cooking the pot in a pot I use a cotton cloth for dishes to lay the bottom of the cooking pot out, so the tea pot won’t get damaged. Some days ago I cooked 3 pots for two hours in water to clean them. Two of them were unused and the other one wasn’t used that heavy. The water turned brown over the process and some bad looking film showed on the water surface… so cooking the pot in water for some time isn’t a bad thing.

  • MarshalN // April 29, 2008 at 3:18 pm | Reply

    Hi there Robert,

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m not sure if rubbing the pot with leaves really will do anything other than leaving a lot of residue on the pot that will easily wear off if you rub it or do anything else with it. My preferred way of seasoning a pot nowadays just involves making tea in them…. that’s really about it.

    The towel in pot idea is not bad, I should do that next time. It would be safer. Even just soaking the old pots in water can help get rid of some of the nasty stuff in a pot, although I suppose boiling will work better.

  • Anonymous // April 29, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Reply

    Thanks for answering.

    There’s a point in it. Frankly I have no imagination what exactly happens at the microscopical level on the pot. Maybe it’s fine just drinking from it to season it. When the seasoning of the pot shall reflect the amount of usage then forced seasoning is some kind of show off, isn’t it?

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