There is nothing more invigorating and refreshing than a cup of hot tea. It soothes the soul and seems to magically wash worries away. If you enjoy drinking hot tea, and you enjoy sharing the tasty beverage with others, a teapot is an absolute essential. Not to be confused with a tea kettle, which is used to heat the water that is used to make tea, a teapot is used to serve the tea. You can either pour hot tea that has already been prepared into the teapot, or you can pour the boiling water into the teapot and add your tea bags or fresh tea leaves into the teapot and allow it to steep in the hot water.
If you are shopping for a teapot, you are going to find that there are a lot of options to choose from. While having a lot of options is a good thing, it can also make choosing the best teapot for your specific needs a bit of a challenge. With so many choices, how do you know which one will best serve your needs? In order to help you on your quest for finding the best teapot, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide. This guide highlights everything you need to know about teapots, and will prepare you for buying the best one for your needs.
Types of Teapots
There are several different types of teapots available on the market. In order to find the best teapot for your needs, the first thing you need to do is understand the different types that are available, and the advantages and disadvantages that are associated with them.
There are five main types of teapots, which include:
- The ceramic teapot
- The porcelain teapot
- The clay or yixing teapot
- The glass teapot
- The enameled cast iron teapot
Each of these types of teapots offers distinct benefits, as well as some negatives. Here is a breakdown of each of the five main types of teapots.
The Ceramic Teapot
Ceramic teapots are traditionally fired over open pits. They originated some 11,000 years ago in the Middle East and Asia, and they are still a favorite among tea lovers today. Also known as clay or earthenware, ceramic teapots are highly regarded for the natural ability to retain heat, low amounts of seepage, and their ability to brew leaves quickly and efficiently. On the downside, in order to use a ceramic teapot to make different types of tea, the interior needs to be glazed. If it is not glazed, the tannins from one tea can be transferred to other teas. If the interior of the ceramic teapot is not glazed, stick to using it for only one type of tea.
The Porcelain Teapot
Clay teapots first originated in the 7th century. They were crafted out of clay, just like ceramic teapots; however, wood ash and iron were added to the clay and they were fired in a low oxygen atmosphere. Today, porcelain teapots are commonly used for preparing and serving delicate teas, such as green or white tea. These teapots often feature intricate embellishments, which add beauty to the art of serving tea. Because it is glazed, porcelain does not absorb flavor, so you can use this type of teapot to serve different types of tea. It is also microwave and dishwasher safe. On the downside, porcelain is delicate, which makes it more prone to chipping.
The Clay or Yixing Teapot
Yixing is a county located in Southern China, where this type of teapot originated. These teapots are crafted out of clay that can only be found in this part of ht world. The clay has a special mineral composition that makes it porous and allows it to retain heat very well. Because the clay is porous, it absorbs the flavor of the tea, which allows the clay to develop a beautiful patina. It also allows the teapot to absorb the flavors of the tea, and with every successive infusion, more flavor is absorbed and passed into the next serving. On the downside, this type of teapot can only be used for one type of tea, as the flavors will be transmitted from one type of tea to another. Also, authentic clay or yixing teapots tend to be very expensive.
The Glass Teapot
This type of teapot is constructed of heatproof glass, which means that it won’t shatter when boiling water is poured into it. The glass teapot allows you to watch the tea leaves open while the tea is being steeped, something that avid tea drinkers may really enjoy. This will also allow you to decide when the tea is prepared to your ideal drinking preference. Another major benefit of a glass teapot is that it will not transfer flavors from one tea to another. On the downside, glass teapots can be fragile, and they can get rather hot.
The Enameled Cast Iron Teapot
This type of teapot is, as the name suggests, constructed from cast iron that has been enameled. The main benefit of this type of teapot is how long it can retain heat for; it can hold heat for about an hour, which is the longest heat retention of all types of teapots. Also, the cast iron distributes heat evenly inside the pot, ensuring your tea is perfectly brewed. On the downside, cast iron is heavy, which can make handling this teapot a bit difficult, and, because this material retains so much heat, it is not a good choice for brewing delicate teas, such as Oolong, as it can over steep them.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Teapot
There are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when buying a teapot. By thinking about your specific needs before you select a teapot, it will be easier to purchase the right teapot for those specific needs. Some of the most important factors to take into consideration include the type of tea you will be brewing, the size of the teapot and the heat retention, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think are the most important to consider when buying a teapot, please keep on reading.
The type of tea you will be brewing
The first thing you are going to want to consider is the type of tea you will be using the teapot for. Will you be using it to make one specific type of tea, or will you be using it to make various types? Will you be brewing delicate teas, or hardier teas? Certain teapots, such as the unglazed ceramic and the yixing teapot, should only be used to brew one type of tea, as these materials are porous and will transfer the flavor from one type of tea to another. If you are going to be brewing delicate teas, you want to choose one that doesn’t retain a lot of heat, such as a glass teapot, as too much heat retention can lead to over steeping, which can spoil the taste of the tea.
The heat retention
You should also consider the amount of heat retention the teapot offers. Heat retention will not only impact the way the tea is brewed, but it will also impact how long the tea will remain warm. If you are going to be serving hardy teas, or you want your tea to remain hot for a long period of time, a cast iron teapot is a great choice, as this material retains a lot of heat for a long period of time. If you are going to be brewing delicate teas, glass is a better option, as it doesn’t retain a lot of heat.
The size of the teapot
The size of the teapot is another important factor to consider. The size will, obviously, directly impact the amount of tea the vessel can hold. If you are going to be serving tea for several people, look for a larger one. If you are going to be serving tea for a small group, or just yourself, a smaller size will suffice.
Ease of use
This is another factor that many tea drinkers are going to want to consider. If you want your teapot to be easy to clean and reheat, look for one that is dishwasher and microwave safe.
The fit of the lid
The lid plays a vital role in brewing your tea. It should fit properly inside the teapot and create a tight seal. This will ensure that the water will remain at the proper temperature to steep the tea.
The design of the teapot
If you want to make a statement with your teapot, design is an important factor to consider. Teapots come in various designs and colors. If you want to have a more intricate design, a ceramic teapot is a great choice, as these teapots often offer beautiful embellishments.
The price of the teapot
Another important factor to take into consideration is the cost of the teapot. Teapots can vary widely in price, with the most basic models starting around $20; however, more intricate teapots, and teapots that offer more features, will have a higher price tag. Make sure you know how much you want to spend before you start shopping so you don’t spend more than you are comfortable with.
Features Teapots Can Offer
Believe it or not, teapots can offer a number of features. These features are intended to make the teapot easier to use, and more versatile. As mentioned above, the more features a teapot offers, the higher the price tag will be. In order to determine whether you want or need certain features, and if the added expense is worth your while, you first need to have an understanding of these features.
Here is a look at the top features that teapots can offer.
Some teapots come with their own infusers. They can either be built into the teapot, or they can be designed to be removed. An infuser is a type of strainer, so to speak. It holds loose tea leafs, and is placed into the boiling water. As the boiling water makes contact with the infuser, it steeps the tea, and the tannins and flavors are added to the water, but the tea leafs remain in the infuser.
A tea cozy
A tea cozy is a cloth insulator that wraps around the teapot. This feature helps the teapot retain its heat for a longer period of time. If you want your tea to remain warm for a prolonged period of time, a tea cozy certainly a feature worth having.
A curved neck
A teapot that features a curved neck prevents the tea from dripping out of the top of the teapot while you are pouring it, which will prevent burns and will keep things neat.
The Best Teapot Brands
There are several manufacturers that produce teapots, which can make it challenging to determine who you should purchase a teapot from. To help you find the best teapot for your needs, we have tested several different brands and we have read through user reviews. After our assessment, we have determined that the following teapots are the best of the best.
This company produces all types of teapots, and they offer a number of different options. Their teapots are sturdy, durable and users report that they brew outstanding teas.
This company is famous for the glass teapots that they produce. The makers of heatproof glass, Hario glass teapots are extremely durable and are hailed the best by those who use them.
For Life produces a variety of teapots, and a wealth of accessories for the tea drinker, such as tea presses, tea cups and jugs. Their products are expertly constructed and users say that they last a long time – and brew high quality teas.
Lenox is regarded the world over for their fine dinnerware, and their teapots live up to the company’s reputation. Lenox produces teapots that are constructed of the highest quality materials and offer various designs.