Summer Kitchen Supplies | How To Choose A Teapot
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How To Choose A Teapot

How To Choose A Teapot

Being the most enthusiastic tea drinker in the family, I often get asked to help with tea-related purchases. My mother-in-law recently asked me to help her pick out a new teapot, and as we flipped through the 50+ pages of a tea catalog, I realized just how confusing the whole process can be. There are so many styles available, and it’s not easy to figure out what you need. Allow me to share a few thoughts (stepping on my tea box now, ahem):

Being the most enthusiastic tea drinker in the family, I often get asked to help with tea-related purchases. My mother-in-law recently asked me to help her pick out a new teapot, and as we flipped through the 50+ pages of a tea catalog, I realized just how confusing the whole process can be. There are so many styles available, and it’s not easy to figure out what you need. Allow me to share a few thoughts (stepping on my tea box now, ahem):

If you’re looking for an all-purpose teapot, choose one with a:

  • Glazed Interior: A glazed interior prevents the teapot from absorbing the flavors of a particular type of tea, so your smoky Lapsang Souchong won’t contaminate the next pot of delicate green tea.
  • Removable Infuser Basket: A removable infuser basket is a common feature on many new teapots, and I highly recommend choosing a teapot with one. Why? Because it prevents stewy and over-steeped tea. Brew your tea for the recommended time, and then simply remove the basket. Keep the tea leaves ready for their next infusion, and enjoy your tea knowing the next pot will be good too.
  • Well-formed Spout: Is the spout well formed? This can be hard to tell if you’re buying a teapot online, but in general check that the top of the spout is level with the top of the pot. Also, oval-shaped spouts tend to drip less than round ones.

The 4-cup Bee House Teapot (26 oz.) or Adagio’s PersonaliTEA are both excellent options.

If you typically drink certain types of teas, like black, green, or flowering teas, consider these specific teapot recommendations for a more tailored tea experience:If you typically drink black teas, like English Breakfast or Earl Grey, consider a ceramic, clay or porcelain teapot. These materials retain heat well, so your tea will stay warm longer. Black tea is usually served in larger cups, so if you plan to serve several people, you may want a larger teapot (36 oz. to 48 oz.).

Teapots made for green teas are smaller than those used for black tea, because these teas are often infused multiple times, and a small teapot allows greater control over steeping. Green tea is usually served in smaller cups (not the mugs frequently used for black tea). Japanese cast iron teapots (also called tetsubin) are an aesthetically pleasing option, and are often decorated with beautiful designs, such as animal or nature motifs. A safe bet with a Japanese cast iron teapot is to choose one with an enameled interior. The enamel prevents rust and oxidization, so your teapot will last for years.

The beauty of hand-sewn flowering teas is completely obscured unless you have a transparent teapot. There are several excellent glass and plastic options out there, including Adagio’s favorably reviewed Glass Teapot, as well as Bodum’s Assam 4-Cup Tea Press. I own the Bodum, and it is also a great travel teapot, lightweight and unbreakable (so far), despite the many times it has been dropped and tossed around. The Bodum isn’t as transparent as many glass teapots, but its versatility (I use it for black and green teas too) makes it a good value. The downside to glass or plastic teapots? They don’t retain heat as well as their ceramic or metal counterparts, so tea will cool faster.

Last, but very important – is the teapot attractive? If you drink tea often, you’ll spend a lot of time looking at your teapot. Choose one that is pleasing to your eye and touch. True wealth is not in the accumulation of many things, but in the selection of a chosen few.

A Note For Serious Tea Drinkers: Dedicated tea drinkers usually own several teapots for different types of tea: one teapot for green teas, another for black, another for oolongs, and yet another for herbal blends. Unglazed teapots, such as Yixing teaware, become seasoned with use and take on the flavors of the teas brewed within. Some tea connoisseurs even reserve teapots for a specific type of tea – I recently met one oolong tea specialist who reserved one special teapot exclusively for Wulong, saying that it is the only way to ensure it will taste just right.

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