There is a Chinese saying that says that "water is the mother of tea, and the teapot is the father，"meaning that the pot is just as important in making the tea as the tea leaves and water. Zisha Hu, or the "Purple Sand Teapot" of Jiangsu Province is generally recognized as being the best pot for making tea.
What's so extraordinary about the pot? What kind of magic happens when Chinese tea meets the Purple Sand Pot?
An unglazed, unpainted purple sand clay teapot captures the color, fragrance and flavor of tea, and also preserves it, so that the tea doesn't go bad if left in the pot overnight on hot summer days. If a purple sand teapot is used for a long time, it absorbs the tea, and the surface of the pot becomes smooth, shiny and fragrant, even if there is no tea in the pot.
What is so magical about the purple sand teapot?
The purple clay used to make the teapot comes from deep in the mountains near the city of Yixing in Jiangsu Province, contains many minerals that aid in creating a perfect teapot. Iron helps the clay keep the water hot, which helps the tea infuse properly, and the quartz and other minerals in the clay create a double pored surface after being fired at between 1100 and 1800 degrees Celsius. The highly porous quality of baked purple sand clay is what makes it an excellent material to make teapots from. The microscopic holes not only allow the pot to adapt to drastic changes in temperature, but also allow the tea to "breathe" which brings out it's flavor and fragrance. The delicate oils are absorbed into the walls of the pot, enhancing the flavor.