Soak the clay kettle/pot in room temperature water 20 minutes prior to burning for each use, else it can crack easily. I fill the pot with room temperature water to the top each time I finish using it, so that I won't forget and spend 20 minutes to soak the pot the next time. Make sure there's water in the pot when you put it on fire at any time, avoid cold water in an empty hot pot, or hot water in an empty cool pot. Do not refill water while pot is on the fire. The clay is very porous, expansion and contraction due to water temperature change will crack the pot easily. I have done that!
For first time use:
Scrub stove under tap water to get rid of any tape residues before using.
Discard the first pot of boiled water.
To light fire:
Hardwood charcoal is the best choice next to Olive Pit Charcoal, do not use any BBQ briquettes, especially ones smell and smoke a lot. I use Whole Foods Market’s 365 brand hardwood charcoal. For choice of charcoals please check the following website: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lump.htm
Place small pieces of hardwood charcoal on stove stop to burn for a few minutes till they are red on the side, then transfer to clay stove. Add more charcoals if necessary during the session. See picture. Fan from the bottom opening of the clay stove will speed up the fire.
To put out fire:
1. To put out fire completely, cover lid with the knob on, and cover the bottom opening. You may stop the fire at any time this way without waiting for the fire to burn out or put water over it and make a mess.
2. If you want to stop making tea for a little while, but want the fire going for later, cover lid with the knob off, cover the bottom opening but leave a small gap on one side to keep the air flowing inside the stove chamber. This way the charcoal will keep on going at low temperature, when you are ready to boil water again, open up the cover and lid, add new charcoal to catch on fire. You can adjust the bottom cover to control fire temperature as well. Bigger the gap, more oxygen, higher the fire temperature, faster the water will boil.
To boil water:
The lid will make clinging noise once the water is boiling. You can take the kettle off the stove and place it on a trivet (wood is the best choice) or take off the lid. Do not place hot kettle/pot over any water. It will crack the pot also. When boiling water, line the pot handle above one of the 3 elevated landings of the stove, this will prevent the fire from heating the handle, hence prevents your hand getting burnt.