You've picked your favorite loose leaf tea and now you want to know the best way to brew...not only for yourself but for others as well. This is where the classic teapot comes into play. Why even use one? What are they for? Do I need one? Hopefully these questions will be answered as well as a few guidelines to help you choose the best one to suit your needs. Yes, "needs." A tea drinker NEEDS a teapot like fish need water. It's just the nature of leaves. Tea needs a place to be brewed in not only an ideal container, but also for visual presentation.
Visual presentation for tea? Yes. Let's take a look at the coffee house phenomenon. What makes us willing to pay some big $$ for a cup of coffee at a coffee house when we could get it for 99 cents at the gas station? Let's face it. We not only love the way our coffee and tea taste, we also are having lots of fun with the process of how it's made too.
The Asian cultures have always valued their teas. The Japanese are known to have a choreographed tea ceremony in order "to prepare a bowl of tea from one's heart." The Chinese have special small teapots and steep leaves in a very specific way and multiple times in order to savor each small cup of tea and to compare each infusion with the other. Now if these aren't sensory experiences, I don't know what is.
Tea doesn't need to be this elaborate, but it does help us to understand the value of the right teapot and infuser for the purpose.
1. Consider a teapot if you're brewing loose leaf teas. If you are using teabags, then there is really no point to invest in one. However, teapots are perfect for loose teas. They allow the teas to swell and expand in the water if you use a teapot without a brewer basket. You'll just want to make sure you have a tea filter or some kind of strainer when pouring your tea. Also, you will want to make only the right amount of tea for drinking right away so the tea leaves don't sit and become bitter. You can always add some more hot water again for another infusion, just let the tea leaves steep a little longer.
|Found this one at a local tea house...a six cup teapot.|
2. When investing in a teapot, consider how many people you want to serve. I have teapots in all sizes because...well, you get it, I love them. However, my first every day use teapot was a 4 cup floral one my mom found at an outlet store. It is still my standard one today. I use it for family pots of tea as well as for company. A four cup teapot is good to hold four 8 oz. cups of tea. This is good for multiple cups for two people or one cup for more company. It works even for one person if you enjoy tea.
I eventually invested in a large six cup teapot because I was entertaining more and once you serve people good tea, they always come back for more! Most of my friends (and our son's friends) are now true tea lovers and always expect a cup when they come to visit.
|My four cup teapot...my first new one.|
3. You may want to invest in a teapot with a brewer basket. My personal daily teapot is a 24 oz. model I bought some time ago to replace my French press (another way to brew tea!) I really like the mesh basket that came with it because it filters out the tiny leaves of rooibos tea, my every day tea. A basket doesn't let the leaves flow as freely, but it does allow my tea to sit as I can take out the basket and re-steep later.
I really like its more modern design and clean lines. It takes tea out of the Victorian tea rooms and makes it more appealing to the younger crowd as well as the guys. Not that I don't like tea rooms...I love them! But I like the idea of drinking tea in a more modern way or even oriental style...it only adds to the romance of it.
|My 24 oz teapot with brewer basket.|
4. Consider using a new teapot for your everyday tea. When I first started out in tea, I came into the possession of some beautiful vintage teapots...one from England that I love. I would use them happily until one day my sister-in-law, who used to work for a major pottery told me that lead in the glaze on dishes was not regulated until after the 1970's. So, it would probably be good if you are drinking tea for health reasons to use a newer teapot or better yet a lead-free (in the glaze) one. I read one blogger's post how lead could possibly leach into your food/drink if the glaze becomes cracked or scratched. Not to panic anyone, but just a thought if you get serious about drinking tea, especially for its health benefits.1
Here is a link to a lead-free site that sells teapots and sets....Bee House Teapots and Tableware
|My younger son's personal teapot. It makes about 10 oz. of tea.|
5. Consider alternate types of teapots. I was just gifted this very cool "infuser/teapot" for Christmas. I love it. It's the best of both worlds. It steeps your tea very loose leafed AND you can watch the tea leaves unfurl. After that fun, you simply set it on top of your cup or travel mug and the tea is released from a bar being pressed by the rim of your mug. It's a great experience. It's made with BPA-free plastic, so you need to decide if you feel comfortable with using it. I like it for a change as I use my ceramic teapot most days.
This teapot is a bit costly, but since I got it as a gift, I won't say a thing. You can find the one I have here.
Well, hope this is a bit helpful as you explore your own tea journey. It can seem overwhelming, but you just start out with one canister of loose leafed tea, one infuser and one teapot at a time. You may stop there or you may find yourself needing a larger teapot for all those wonderful friends and family in your life...blessings!