I know there are many women out there who would rather be having a conversation on shoes or handbags. Then there are the unusual few like myself, who put in as much effort into shopping for tea and all its accessories.
If you’ve ever gone teapot shopping for yourself or in search of the perfect gift, you’re likely to come across a wide range of designs, styles and materials suited to different preferences. One of the questions I’m often asked is how to choose the correct teapot. The type of material you choose has important impact on the appearance, the use, the maintenance required, and the ability of the teapot to retain heat.
Over the past 6 months we’ve explored different loose leaf teas available at The Tea Merchant stores I trust you have been inspired to visit one of the stores and you are now embracing this cold weather with a cup of tea Tea Merchant tea. Tis the season for tea and today we talk teapots!
We all have the traditional ceramic teapots with 6 cups that we receive as house warming or wedding gifts but these are not the types of teapots we are talking about today. We are talking about tea pots to brew your loose leaf tea.
You may be asking yourself whether or not you need a teapot, what type of teapot, what size works best and why even use one? The below guidelines will answer all these questions and more.
My love for tea is all encompassing. I love sourcing new blends of loose leaf tea but the joy is more in the process of brewing the tea. In terms of quality and flavour, there really is no comparison between loose leaves and tea bags. However, brewing loose-leaf tea requires a little bit more equipment than brewing tea bags. Whether you prefer teabags or loose leaf tea its imperative to invest in a teapot as they allow the teas to swell and expand in the water to bring out the full flavour of the tea.
When investing in a teapot, consider the different materials used
We use glass teapots for serving in our retail stores as it allows you the customer to see the leaves and true colour of the teas. Glass pots do not change the flavour of tea nor absorb them. These pots are always light and easy to pick up but they are fragile and if you have small children, these are not ideal. One has to be careful when cleaning and storing them. I love to use them for brewing green and white teas as they allow me to sit and admire the leaves. Glass is not a good retainer of heat. Borosilicate (Pyrex) is a type of glass that is tougher. If glass is more suitable for you, I suggest you buy Borosilicate teapot.
If you need a teapot that will be a conversation piece, stainless steel it is. Stainless steel teapots always have a lovely design and can be used as a design piece in the home. Good for retaining heat, steel teapots don’t affect the taste or absorb the flavour of the tea. The teapots are durable and low maintenance.
Porcelain pots are classic. The word porcelain, is derived the words “porcella” (Italian) “porcelain” (French), which are the words used to describe cowrie shells and their shiny appearance. These teapots are possibly the most commonly used in the world. Porcelain teapots are good for retaining heat and don’t absorb or retain the flavour of tea.
Cast iron teapots are my favourite as they keep my tea hot for longer, are indestructible can last a lifetime. These teapots are good for distributing the heat evenly around the pot, which helps to bring out the full flavours and health benefits of the tea. These teapots are usually fully enamelled on the inside and come with a stainless steel mesh infuser basket in which the tea leaves are placed for brewing. Cast iron is generally cold so it’s a good idea to warm the pot before making your tea. By warming the pot, I mean pouring boiling water into pot and allowing it to settle for about 5 minutes before pouring it out again and making your tea with freshly boiled water.
Also known as Yixing teapot, clay teapots are collectors items for most tea lovers. These teapots are used mainly to brew oxidized teas such as the darker oolongs, black tea and pu-erhs. Ideally you have to choose one type of tea to brew in a clay teapot as it absorbs and retains the flavour of the tea.
What’s the perfect size teapot? The right size depends on how you are planning to use it. Teapots generally start at 200ml which is the perfect size for a cup of tea. The larger pots can go up to to 2 litres or more. A perfect family sized teapot to serve 4 has a 1200 litre capacity. As a rule of thumb, consider that a mug is usually 250ml- 300ml. You can base your purchase on how many mugs you are trying to fill in one serving.
When investing in a teapot, make sure it comes with Infuser/strainer
Some Teapots come with a separate mesh-type strainer that holds the tea leaves while they brew.
A teapot strainer is a mesh stainless steel/glass baskets that comes with the teapot. The strainer allows the leaves to move freely inside the teapot without them landing up in your cup when you pour the tea. It’s no fun drinking leaves so make sure the teapot comes with one.
Lastly, when investing in a teapot, consider the design
What is the point of drinking and enjoying tea in a plain teapot when there are so many attractive designs on the market? The teapot should be functional so consider whether you will be able to hold the teapot, is the handle user friendly, is it easy to pour from and if the lid is stable. All tea pots require some degree of maintenance. Most can be cleaned with warm soapy water except cast iron and clay teapots. Cast iron and clay teapots are cleaned with warm water and a cloth, using NO detergents.
Your teapot-buying decision should now be made easier after reading the above. If however you still confused and undecided do yourself a favour and step into any The Tea Merchant store where the ladies are happy to take you through all the options available and answer all your questions.
With Father`s Day coming up this Sunday we have the following gift sets specials available in store
Happy teapot shopping!