Blog 107: Clay Tea Pots Can Ruin Your Tea

Making a good tea is hard. From the harvest to the tea-making, tea makers must carefully process every single fresh leaf accordingly. Even the slightest mistake can fall short of success.


But ruining a good tea is quite easy. Bad storage conditions or bad tea-drinking habits can easily spoil a tea’s true tastes and aromas.



In the past, we’ve published many tea blogs explaining why some tea lovers struggle to bring out the full potential of a premium tea. (Please click here to learn more.) Today, we’d like to continue this conversation and talk about how clay pots can ruin your tea.


Clay pots are unglazed teaware made of red clay. In China, this type of material is also called as “Zi Sha/紫砂” (purple clay).


Because the clay is unglazed, clay pots have a unique structural feature called “double air-hole”. This feature allows the material to absorb smells and flavor.


A common clay pot

Advocates of this type of teaware often claim that clay pots can alter and elevate the taste of a tea. Many tea lovers also fall in love with clay pots because of the versatile designs and easy-to-handle shape.


Now, here is the interesting and the tricky part. First of all, yes, unglazed clay pots can “alter” the taste of a tea because the material absorbs flavor overtime. However, whether this “alteration” can elevate the taste depends on how a clay pot is used. Depending on the situation, clay pots can sometimes be more detrimental than instrumental.


To understand why, we must take at look at how clay pots “enhance” the taste of a tea.


Because they’re unglazed, clay pots have great breathability. As a result, clay pots can absorb smells from the tea soup. Even after you empty the pot, the smell of the tea still lingers on the walls of the pot.


If a clay pot is dedicated to a single tea, after years or decades of use, it can acquire the essence of that particular tea. In return, it starts to “emit” this smell.


To some teas whose flavor take a long time to present, clay pots can accelerate the flavor-producing process.



However, the benefits of clay pots don’t apply to most teas. Interestingly, what makes clay pots unique happens to be what ruins the tea.


In the world of tea, the purpose of teaware is to serve and help tea leaves release best flavor and aromas. But clay pots often dictate over teas.


The double air-hole structure of clay pots is like a hungry monster, and it devours good flavor and aromas that are supposed to be enjoyed only by you.


In clay pots, the original thick and mellow tastes become only a plain tea soup.


At the same time, because of the big body and small spout design, clay pots have a slow outflow, and the spout is easily blocked by extended tea leaves. This unavoidably prolongs the amount of time tea leaves soaked in the water. Consequently, tea tastes a little bitter and dry.


Also, ff you use one clay pot for multiple teas, the flavor of these teas can interfere with each other. This is why more experienced clay pot users often have many tea pots for every tea they drink.



In reality, not only can’t a clay pot enhance most premium teas, but also it’d make them mediocre. As a result, clay pot users can rarely truly experience the 100% of a premium tea. In some cases, clay pots might even change the taste of a good tea for the worse.


It’s rather common on social media that clay pot users complain a supposedly good and sharp tea tastes “disappointing”. Most of time, people suspect it’s something wrong with the tea. But in fact, it’s the clay pot that undermines the experience.


If you are a regular white tea, oolong tea and black tea drinker, please remember that the ideal tools for your teas are always glazed teaware (including glazed clay teaware).


We hope you enjoyed today’s blog. As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please leave a comment, tweet us @valleybrooktea or email the author directly at zhang@valleybrooktea.com. Please also follow us on Instagram @valleybrooktea and join our mail list to get our daily tea updates and our latest promotions!