Choosing the Right Teapot
“Water is themother of tea. Ateapot itsfather. Andfire theteacher.”
If you truly want to taste the perfect cup of tea, you need to start with the teapot. It’s no use dropping leaves into a mug – your tea needs room to breathe, to unfurl and to release delicate aromas.
The right teapot allows even pearl and bead teas such as jasmine tea pearls and tie guan yin oolong tea to create wonderfully delicate brews, even over multiple infusions.
So what makes the right teapot?
This won’t affect the tea, but it will affect your mood. A beautiful, stylish teapot will bring a smile to your face even before you add the first leaf.
A teapot must retain heat at a consistent temperature during the infusion. A thicker teapot will keep the water at a consistent temperature, although you will need to preheat the pot to ensure it doesn’t absorb heat and cool the water.
The right teapot also needs to handle well. It must be easy to lift, and pour tea in a steady stream. A teapot which retains water between infusions can ruin the flavour of a tea, while a pot which spills everywhere can ruin your mood.
Infusers and Strainers
The teapot must also strain the tea leaves and keep them out of your cup. A separate basket-style strainer allows you to prevent over-steeping, but we recommend a pot with a strainer in the spout as it gives the tea leaves more room to unfurl.
If you do choose a separate infuser for your teapot or mug, use the largest one that fits.
Types of Teapot
Not all teapots are created equal. While all teapots must infuse the leaves, retain heat and handle well, there are a variety of pots available in a range of materials, all of which need to be used differently to ensure the perfect cup.
Glass teapots are beautiful, and there’s something relaxing about watching the leaves unfurl and steep. But glass doesn’t hold heat well, meaning that the water often cools too quickly to make the perfect brew. Thicker glass and more water can offset this, allowing you to sit back and watch the show.
A ceramic teapot will absorb large amounts of heat and radiate it out. That means that it’s crucial that you pre-heat your pot. Filling it with hot water, leaving the pot to heat up, and then adding tea and fresh water allows you to keep the water hot enough to brew that perfect cup.
Metal pots such as Japanese teapots were used to boil water, not brew tea, and as such they absorb and radiate lots of heat. However, if you find a metal teapot with an intact coating and you take care to preheat it as you would a ceramic teapot, you will still be able to enjoy a perfect cup of tea.
If you were to imagine a teapot, the chances are that you’d think of a delicate fine bone china porcelain pot with matching cups. And you’d be right to do so. A porcelain pot is perfect for tea. It feels great to touch and to put to your lips, and porcelain doesn’t absorb or radiate too much heat. No matter what tea you prefer, you won’t go wrong with a porcelain pot.
Stoneware, Clay and Yixing Teapots
These clay and stone pots are highly sought after by tea connoisseurs, and not just because they look beautiful. The materials used to make these pots allow oxygen to seep through their pores, and slowly absorb the aroma of the teas which you brew. This results in aromatic, flavourful brews with a unique character.
However, these pots can be expensive – often costing over 100 pounds or euros – because they are made by hand with expensive clay.
What Do We Recommend?
Valley of Tea always recommend that tea connoisseurs invest in a quality porcelain pot. They are perfect for use with any tea, allowing you to discover a whole world of flavour and aroma.
And if you find yourself falling in love with pu-erh black or oolong teas, then you can consider investing in a Yixing teapot. It’ll certainly add a new depth of flavour to your perfect cups!
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