Thursday, January 17, 2013
Holding an Yixing teapot
When you see the looped handle on an Yixing teapot, its intuitive to hook your index around it to lift it and pour. But one of the first things the Tea Masters at Kkik Da Geo taught me was the proper way to hold them, not by hooking it with your index, but by pinching the handle between your thumb and middle finger at the highest point of the handle, away from the body of the pot, and using your index to hold the lid down while pouring.
At first, it feels a bit awkward but it quickly becomes comfortable and the advantages are immediately obvious. But hooking your index around the handle, your grip is not strong and the pot can easily slip down and press the hot teapot against you other fingers. It's also easy to burn your knuckle against the pot, as it pokes towards the pot inside the loop. But by pinching it, you have a much more secured grip are more controlled. With your free index finger, you don't need your other hand to keep the lid from dropping. A pot with good shui pin is perfectly balance when held this way, making the pot feel lighter and more comfortable to pour.
When held correctly, your thumb and middle finger should not touch. Though there's usually a practical reason for everything, this may be more for etiquette or elegance. It could also be that if your fingers are touching the grip is not centered but too high on the handle, making the pot vulnerable to slipping out.