When you choose a teapot to enjoy that perfect cup of tea, you may initially be looking at appearances. What style, colour or pattern? Though it is somewhat of a personal choice, there are various important factors to take into consideration. These will help you to decide which teapot will work best.
Tea drinkers in China were the first to create teapots. As they were for personal use, they were quite small. Today, the size of your teapot depends on the amount of tea you are making, the type of tea you are brewing and the size of the tea leaves.
Tea leaves need room in the water to fully expand. The size of the teapot and the method of infusing should allow for the water to circulate around the loose tea. Only then can you enjoy the full flavour of the tea. A tea ball stuffed with leaves does not allow for the tea leaves to fully expand. For this reason, we do not recommend the use of a tea ball.
There are many materials that are used in making tea pots. Each type of material has its own merits depending on the type of tea you are brewing.
Glass teapots work best for brewing blooming display teas. These teas are created to allow for the tea drinker to appreciate the beauty of the unfurling leaves and watch them “bloom” in the glass teapot.
Porcelain teapots as well as glass teapots do not affect the tea’s flavour. White and green teas steep at 175 to 185 degrees F, so these materials work well with the lower temperatures.
Ceramic teapots are made of clay and work well for herbal and black teas. These teas are brewed at a higher temperature so it is best to use a material that will hold the heat. Pu’erh is a fermented tea. It should be brewed in its own dedicated unglazed porous clay teapot.
Cast iron teapots are heavy and hold their heat for the longest time. This works well for black teas. They should be glazed and coated so that a metallic taste is not transferred to the tea.
Brown Betty teapots are a type of teapot that are made from the red clay that was discovered in the Stoke-on-Trent area of Britain in 17th century. A Brown Betty is easily recognized by its characteristic brown glaze and round profile. The clay from the area maintains heat and brews a great cup of black and Darjeeling tea.
And now to make some tea!
Remember, when choosing a teapot, you should take into consideration the size of the tea pot, the water temperature and the steeping time required for each type of tea.
Before you enjoy your tea, take the time to look at the various shapes and sizes of tea leaves. How do they smell when dry, when wet? What is the aroma of the liquor (tea jargon to describe the smell of wet tea leaves).
Whether you use sachets (tea bags), or loose tea, your perfect cup of tea begins with you, your tea and your choice of teapot.