One of my Christmas pleasures, besides excellent tea, foie gras and Alsace Gewürtztramminer is a bouquet of white orchids. They look so pure and big. And their sweet smell is so powerful that I can smell them even before I open the outside door of my apartment. It's heaven. No wonder 5 stars hotel like the Grand Hyatt often use them in their reception halls. Luxury for the nose. During the week this bouquet lasts, I feel less the need to brew light Oolongs. The nice smell is simply there and doesn't need much gongfu. Besides, with cold weather, I'm more in a mood for roasted Tie Guan Yin or cooked puerh to keep me warm.
The flowers are so strong and big that they can hold my Baotai zhuni Shui Ping teapot: (Don't try this stunt at home. We decline responsibility for any loss or consequential damages.)
Speaking of scents, Eitan, a reader in Seattle wrote me that: "I own a zisha pitcher (not a teapot) that I too often leave overnight with it's lid on when there is still moisture inside. Because of this there is a faint mildew smell in it, and I am afraid it affects the tea's smell and taste. Is there any way to get rid of this smell?"
I have often mentioned that glazed ceramic is neutral and therefore more suited to handle different teas. This is true for the gaiwan, but also for the pitcher and for the tea cups. So, first of all, I would advise Eitan to replace the zisha pitcher with a glazed one, especially if he uses it for various teas.
Having said that, it can be interesting to use a zisha (or any unglazed clay) pitcher and/or cups for their unglazed properties. If the clay is good (difficult to judge from a picture) than it can actually enhance the taste of some specific teas. I'm thinking more of cooked puerh or roasted Oolongs. Best is to test with tea or water to find out.
So, here is how I would cure the pitcher:
- Rinse it with hot water,
- Use a melamine magic sponge and some water to clean the surface of the pitcher,
- Rinse it again with boiling water,
- Dry it under the sun for a day.
If the bad smell persists, then I'd alternate several hot and cold rinses. If the tea that comes out of this pitcher is still not better than from a glazed pitcher, then throw it away.