In my previous post about my new silver teapot, Michael asked me if it needs to be prepared like an Yixing (clay) teapot or if I can use it right away.
The characteristic of clay is its porosity. Cleaning and unclogging these pores requires a different preparation than for an impermeable surface like silver. Here, the only preparation is to clean the silver with a soft cloth and rinse it with water. That's it. A silver teapot won't improve with age. But another way of looking at it is that it performs its best from the first day.
Bejita then asked me if the silver adds a taste to my tea/water, in a way like an iron teapot does.
According to its chemical properties, silver is stable in water. That means that no taste is added at all. However, this lack of change is a difference when you compare it with other clay pots that add taste. In this regard, silver acts like a glazed ceramic pot. It's completely neutral.
Jérôme asks what does silver add to the brewing? How big is the difference compared with other materials?Another property of silver is that it's the metal with the highest thermal conductivity. Tea leaves are brewed at a higher temperature than with any other teapot. And we know that the higher the temperature, the more of tea leaves release their flavors in the brew. The good and the bad.
I would say that the difference in taste (silver compared to a glazed ceramic) is at least as big as the difference between duanni and zhuni. To make an analogy, I like to say that a tea brewed in a (zisha) clay pot is like a woman with makeup in low light. Tea in a glazed ceramic teapot is like a woman without make-up in normal daylight. And tea from this silver teapot acts like a mirror with 10 lamps around it: a real beauty will look fabulous, but there would be no way to hide a wrinkle or an imperfection!
With all this in mind, here is some more advice to use a silver teapot:
- Use it for your better (best) teas, but also use fewer leaves than with another pot.
- Fresh teas with little roasting will perform best (ex: High mountain Oolong, fresh Baozhong, Oriental Beauty, raw wild Puerh...). This being said, I tried my top grade roasted Tie Guan Yin and found that the fruitiness came out with much more strength than usual.
- Tea stains can be hard to clean. I recommend to often clean it with a 'magic' melamine sponge. I also recommend you clean the inside and rinse well after.
- Pour hot water in the teapot more gently than usual.
- Be careful when you handle the hot teapot. Don't burn your fingers or your mouth!