The $5 Aliexpress Yixing Tea Pot

Actually, I paid $4.59.

I was looking at the insanely cheap “yixing” tea pots on Aliexpress. At $4.59, this was the cheapest one I found. I thought my $7.00 40ml one was cheap, but noooo this 120ml was even cheaper! I decided to purchase the cheap tea pot for science. Hey, maybe this pot might be alright. All fails, I can display it to look all fancy. All my yixing tea pots I pack into little boxes and hide them in cupboards to keep them safe from earthquakes and my clumsy butt hitting the tea shelf.

The tea pot arrived while I was on vacation. First glance, the lid button looks off center, but overall not too bad. I expected to poor craftsmanship for $5.

5 dollar yixing tea pot fail - Oolong Owl  (6)

5 dollar yixing tea pot fail - Oolong Owl  (1)

However, there was something wrong here with this tea pot. The tea pot smelled funny, like chemicals. What caught me right away was the feel of the pot, it just felt wrong. It felt too dry, like a chalkboard. I took off the lid…

WTF is this?!?!

5 dollar yixing tea pot fail - Oolong Owl  (2)

The “yixing” pot is painted a matte brown. Why is it painted? My only guess is the paint is hiding the clay underneath which is some strange dark brown shade. Heck kinda clay is this?

I can see droplet of paint on the inside.

5 dollar yixing tea pot fail - Oolong Owl  (5)

Plus there are parts where the paint is thin or chipped around the top and spout.

5 dollar yixing tea pot fail - Oolong Owl  (3)

As well as thumbprints on the bottom. Next on CSI: TEA OWL – getting this fingerprint off and bring them to justice (Fly by Owl poop on them).

5 dollar yixing tea pot fail - Oolong Owl  (4)

Since the pot is painted with paint inside, this is the only tea ware purchase I actually wonder if this tea pot is safe to use. My tea will be in contact with actual paint without a glazing which sounds pretty bad.

Okay, so this pot is all paint, is the design usable? Nope. I also discovered the tea pot pours mostly out of the lid and dribbles out the spout down the base. No redeeming qualities here.

So yeah. Don’t buy a $4.59 yixing pot to save a whole lot of money. Save up and buy from a reliable seller that cheap $30-$50 machine made yixing teapot, or save up even longer and buy a handmade one.

This pot is totally going on my shelf to display. I could plant a succulent in it and sell it on etsy – maybe someone will buy it trying to save the pot, to discover the tea pot complete junk. HAHAHHAHA!


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  • Yikes! I had heard about shoe polish being applied to make a pot look older but the paint there takes the cake. It doesn’t even improve the appearance 😛

  • SoggyEnderman

    Ughhhhh I bought a pot like that once! It was pretty purple clay, but some nut ball painted it with a black oil paint (maybe it was shoe polish) and a week of boiling it in vinegar, scrubbing with baking soda, and so many water changes, I got it back to normal. I paid $10 for that pot, I was getting my money’s worth *fail* sometimes being cheap really bites me in the ass sometimes

    At least it pours really nice though, and seasoned really well…sorry yours is barely usable as a flowerpot. And speaking of, I wonder if that etsy seller has any more teapots turned candles I can rescue 😛

  • Oolongowl – willing to go the distance where other tea drinkers can’t.

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  • Thanks Oolongowl for sharing! It’s really bad experience. We had bad time when we tried to sourcing some YiXing teapot from China suppliers, it is not possible to find any “Real” & Raw clay pot with “Good” craftsmanship at price under $50, most of them are being polished or painted.

    Luckily, we finally found some legit suppliers in Hong Kong for some aged teapot (they told me that they bought at around $0.7 each in 70s’) at reasonable price. For personal/daily use, we prefer to use raw, non-polished, “Poor” Craftsmanship but “Real” YiXing Clay teapots. 🙂

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