Enjoying that perfect sip of tea whether it is green tea, black tea, white tea or any other kind, starts with the selection of your teapot. With the vast array of available teapots and designs, we may sometimes forget the importance of having the “right” teapot. So, what is the right teapot for you?
When researching the right teapot, aside from aesthetics of beautiful design, you may want to consider the size of the pot, the material (primarily seen in glass, ceramic or porcelain) and whether or not you will be using the teapot for brewing or simply serving the tea. The options we have today are derived from the incredible popularity that tea has received over the centuries as the tea experience spread from Asia to Europe and beyond.
The Ch’a Ching (or Tea Classic) is the earliest book on the subject of tea, appearing during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). However the traditional method of making tea involved brewing tea leaves in open vessels and the first teapots, closely resembling wine-ewers, only made their appearance in the world in the 16th Century. Notably, the Yixing teapot was first produced during the Sung Dynasty (960-1280) and flourished during the Ming Dynasty (1600) as the hybrid of the earlier drinking bowls and the modern teapots. These teapots, made of unique “Zisha” or purple clay, were used to brew tea and then to drink the tea directly from the spout of the pot, quickly became sought-after treasures found in the homes of royalty and social elites. Click here to view our selection of Yixing teapots.
As tea reached the west and moved from being used for medicinal purposes to being more of a fashion in social pastime, the demand for teapots grew as well. Teapots imported from China were smaller in size by western standards because they were created for the purpose of serving smaller, typically single person, portions. In Chinese culture, this exemplified the importance of brewing the most flavorful tea. Ceramic and porcelain teapots were more widespread in the 18th century, particularly porcelain, a material that was more durable and better transportable. Because porcelain was also not something easily obtainable in Europe at the time, these teapots became highly desired, particularly by the wealthiest consumers who could afford the luxury.
As the years went on, new trends appeared such as the boom of bone china in the 19th century, a material that was tough as it was easy to manufacture and design. Yet despite its bountiful history, the teapot basics have remained virtually the same for centuries: the pot, spout, lid and handle.
Porcelain teapots have been renowned all over the world for their aesthetics, from beautiful scenery to amazingly shaped vessels. Traditionally, porcelain chinaware has appeared as blue and white, but today many variations exist. The one consideration to keep in mind when selecting porcelain for your teapot is that much like glass, porcelain does not have the same heat retention properties of ceramic teapots and therefore is not ideal for teas requiring high heat such as black and herbal teas.
Ceramic teapots began as clay and earthenware and quickly gained popularity in Europe when cream-colored earthenware was introduced in the mid-1700s. Today, these teapots really allow a tea lover to enjoy the full flavor of their tea using native heat retention properties. While some ceramic pots are equipped with strainers or infusers, others are not, so when selecting, you may want to decide how you are planning on using your teapot. Also, check to see if the teapot is glazed on the inside, which will allow you to brew different teas unlike an unglazed teapot, which tends to retain the flavor of the last brewed tea. Remember that although ceramic pots are stronger than glass and porcelain, they should not be subjected to extreme temperatures.
Make sure to view our selection of porcelain and ceramic teapots.