When it comes to choosing the right ceramic teapot, it may seem as challenging as choosing the right tea for a special occasion. There are many different manufacturers, each advertising their product as the ideal one for your needs.
Ceramic teapots come in many different designs, shapes, and colors to suit a customer’s preferences. If you are a genuinely passionate tea lover looking for the right teapot, you came to the right place. This article focuses on the history of ceramic teapots and what to consider when choosing the right pot to brew your sweet tea.
By the end of this article, you should be able to choose the right vessel for your needs.
The History of Ceramic Teapots
The history of the Chinese ceramic teapots is as colorful as the tea itself. The Chinese made the first teapots during the Yuan Dynasty. These tea vessels were essential in the tea brewing process, especially the delicate tea such as white tea and green tea.
In ancient China, they were made for individual use with each vessel being used to make a particular type of tea. Some records say that the Chinese carried them and drank the tea directly from the nozzle.
Ceramic teapots existed over 11,000 years ago according to archeologists who discovered porcelain pots in the Middle East and Asia. The vessels were made of pottery which was heated over open charcoal heat. Clay is preferred to make the vessels due to its high heat retention rate, and the fact that it does not leak.
Tea was introduced to Japan by the Chinese monks who could drink it for long hours of meditation. Japanese people liked this beverage and invited the Chinese for lessons on how to make earthen teapots. This is how the Japanese Raku was made in the province of Bizen.
When they were introduced to Europe in the 17th century by travelers, the English really loved them. They were small individual pots with tiny matching cups. The quality was unmatched to any European equivalent, and this caused a sensation. For the high quality, the term “china” was used when referring to beautiful dishes, plates, cups, and teapots.
These vessels became adored by the British for tea and during diplomatic events. The British craftsmen mastered how to mold their own porcelain teapots with beautiful designs over them. In 1695, they began molding the famous Brown Betty Teapot using red clay from the Stoke-on-Trent region of England. Till this day, the local football club Stoke City F.C is nicknamed as “The Potters” to signify the heritage of the city.
You may not believe that there are still over 1500 registered potters, with most being family businesses. Whether you like your teapot rounded cylindrical, or taking any other shape, with ceramic teapots everything is possible.
Teapots boast an impressive history, right? If you wish to get yourself one, the next part is about what to consider when buying a ceramic teapot for your needs.
Related Article: The History of Tea in Japan – Who Introduced Tea to Japan?
How to Choose a Ceramic Teapot
There are several factors you need to keep in mind when choosing a ceramic teapot;
First, you’ll need to know how many infusions you want to prepare at a go to determine the size of your ceramic teapot. If you want a pot of tea for one, you’ll prefer a teapot that can hold at least two cups. If you want a teapot for hosting a party, you’ll want a teapot that can hold several cups. If you are not sure, aim for a teapot that can hold at least 4 cups to cater for two people.
For most people who enjoy brewing tea that requires close attention to temperatures such as green teas, small ceramic pots work best. The smaller the teapot, the easier it is to control the temperature and flavor infusion.
Larger pots, on the other hand, are commonly used to serve black teas as these are brewed in larger quantities compared to their herbal counterparts. Moreover, loose black teas may need more space to steep completely. You should not use larger pots to prepare little tea in it as the empty space accelerates cooling down.
2. Pouring and Comfort
If you go for a large teapot, you’ll need a pot that provides a comfortable grip. Once you fill the large ceramic pot with tea, it may weigh considerably more than when empty. Therefore, look for a handle in the ceramic pot you choose, and ensure it’s comfortable on the hand.
Also, pay attention to the design of the spout. A good teapot spout design should pour out tea steadily without bubbling. It should narrow slightly towards the tip to flow well. Avoid ceramic pots with wide openings as these may not pour out well.
The top of the handle, the tip of the sprout and the rim should be at the same level for ease of pouring. Additionally, the handle and the sprout should be opposite one another for accuracy of pouring.
Also, try to hold the teapot by the handle and ensure that the knuckles are not touching the surface of the pot as this could scald your knuckles. Moreover, check to see if it’s comfortable to lift and if the sturdiness is proportional to the weight.
Quality is the most crucial aspect to consider when shopping for a teapot. Remember that you need a pot that will hold the liquid safely without breaking or cracking. Ceramic pots are found anywhere from discount box stores to big-name brands. The best place to get the highest quality teapots is from artisan ceramic makers.
Beware that poorly constructed ceramic may develop cracks and fall apart quickly. Look for well-built ceramic teapots that are chip-resistant. High quality ceramic teapots should be fired at extremely high temperatures to last long. They should be handmade to demonstrate attention to detail and display unique designs.
Well, to make your work easier, it’s essential that you buy your teapot from a reputable manufacturer who offers a guarantee on materials and craft. Think of a teapot as a long term investment. A ceramic teapot is a long-lasting investment that you may even pass to the next generation.
If you want to brew more than one type of tea, you’ll want to have a teapot with an interior glaze. This because an unglazed stoneware absorbs some of the tea flavors with each brew. This adds to flavor with each new brew making every cup sweeter than the last.
While unglazed pots may seem great for one type of tea, glazed ceramic pots work better if you want to use the vessel to multiple kinds of tea. Apart from preventing the clay from absorbing tea flavor, an interior glaze adds a pop of color.
Another crucial consideration is the lid of the vessel. It must fit properly on the rim to ensure that the aroma and flavors of the tea do not escape. Most lids may have a small hole drilled on the lid to allow air to enter the teapot when the tea is poured in the cups. The tiny hole is vital to control the flow of tea to prevent splattering when pouring out. Apart from that, the small hole should form a seal for the teapot to prevent heat from escaping.
Many ceramic teapots are made to be dishwasher safe, but you need to confirm on the guidelines of the teapot you choose. Ensure that it doesn’t drop as this may cause the material to crack and break. Also, sudden temperature changes may weaken the material and cause cracks.
When washing your ceramic teapot, ensure that it doesn’t touch with other utensils to protect it from chipping. For unglazed ceramic teapots, avoid washing it in the dishwasher or use soap. Its clay can absorb the flavor of your washing soap and alter the taste of your next cup of tea. To care for unglazed pots, wash with warm water after use. For small teapots, use a brush to clean inside and get rid of any tea leaves.
At every tea session, you are going to be looking at the appearance of your teapot. For this reason, you can’t underestimate the importance of the look. Besides brewing the perfect tea, your ceramic teapot should act as a decorative item in the shelf.
In terms of appearance, the pattern and shape are equally important. The spout is mainly the focus, as well as the lid and handle. The best ceramic teapot should have a balance of the three. If you plan to have your model on display, choose one that will match your décor.
Making a Ceramic Teapot for Yourself
The Bottom Line
For any passionate tea lover, having an excellent ceramic teapot adds to the taste of the tea. While it’s important to get one, you need one that can brew the perfect tea.
The main advantage of a ceramic teapot is it can hold heat well even through multiple infusion. We hope this article will help you choose the best ceramic teapot for your needs.
Why not get yourself a ceramic teapot and improve your tea drinking experience?