Yixing clay teapots, also called Purple Sand (紫砂), are commonly used to brew tea Chinese style tea. This traditional style dates back to the 15th century. They are made from clay produced near Yixing in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu. Yixing teapots are smaller than their western counterparts, as the tea is often brewed for only a short period for each infusion and re-steeped multiple times. This example exhibits a special bamboo basket weaving pattern.
Yixing teapots are usually used to brew oolong, black/red, and aged pu-erh teas. The clay absorbs oils from the tea during brewing. With regular use, the pot will develop a coating that retains the flavor and color of the tea. It is for this reason that soap should not be used to clean Yixing teapots. Instead, it should be rinsed with fresh water and allowed to air-dry. We recommend brewing only one type of tea in a particular pot, so as not to corrupt the flavor that has been absorbed.