Tea has been around for years but in recent times it has become an extremely trendy drink due to the numerous health benefits it offers. But, in order to fully enjoy a tea drinking experience you need the right teapot.
A teapot is more than just a statement piece you can put in your kitchen or living area. Certain teapots have been designed to enhance the flavors of specific types of teas.
With the above in mind, we’ve created this comprehensive guide whereby we will be sharing information about the history of tea and what it is, the different types of teas available, as well as how these are packaged.
We’ll then tell you how you can prepare tea and how best to serve it. We’ll tell you what a teapot is, highlight some of the benefits of using one, share some of the different types available, and finally, run you through some of the most reputable manufacturers in the industry today.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Tea is a drink made by pouring boiling water over cured leaves. These leaves are called the Camellia Sinensis and come from an evergreen shrub originally from Asia.
There are thousands of different teas now available to drink, all of which have their own set of unique flavors and health benefits. After water, tea is the most commonly consumed drink across the world.
Originally used as a medicinal drink, tea originated in Southwest China and was first recorded in 59BC, although many believe it was introduced long before then.
Later, tea became a recreational drink for a variety of other East Asian countries before being introduced to Europe in the 16th century. Tea was introduced to the United Kingdom in the 17th century and the British later commercialized it in India to bypass the Chinese market.
Other herbal teas, also known as tisanes or herbal infusions, have been introduced to the market but do not actually use the tea plant during production. They are made by infusing other plants and herbs with boiling water.
As mentioned before, there are hundreds if not thousands of different types of teas available to choose from. To help you understand the full extent of this, we’ve highlighted some of the most popular and well-known types.
White teas are much milder in flavor because instead of being fermented they’re simply sun-dried. While there are many types of white teas, the most popular is probably the White Peony (Bai Mu Dan).
During the manufacturing process, yellow tea goes through a smothering process which lasts from anywhere between one hour and several days. Because of this, yellow tea normally has a sweet and buttery flavor similar to green tea.
While it is among the most common classifications of tea, it is actually only made in a few places in China and is quite rare. Yellow tea is typically drunk without milk or sugar.
Whether it’s dry or fresh, green tea retains its green color which is where its name comes from. There are different types of green tea and some are even blended with different classifications of tea in order to offer a larger variety of flavor.
A traditional green tea is quite vegetal with sweet tones. It can be quite grassy and even earthy depending on the strand of green tea. Green tea is a specialty of Japan, Korea, and China. Once again, green tea is best drunk without milk or sugar.
Oolong tea varies based on where it comes from, its age, the cooking process, and its range of oxidization. Oolong tea is semi-oxidized and changes between countries and even regions within countries. With this in mind, Oolong tea can vary in color, shape, and of course, flavor.
Black tea is 100% oxidized and many of the active substances in it do not develop at temperatures of less than 90 degrees Celsius. The most common types of black teas include Darjeeling, Nepal, Assam, Ceylon, just to name a few.
While many believe black tea is black, it can range between dark grey to rich dark brown and even a deep red. This type of tea is the most common in western regions and is typically drunk with either milk or sugar or both.
Also known as dark tea, post-fermented tea is a type of tea that can go through a microbial fermentation for anywhere between a matter of months and years. While many believe that black tea is very bitter, its true process should reduce astringency and mellow the taste.
Post-fermented tea is made in China but you may find it is produced in Japan and through South East Asia in countries such as Thailand and Myanmar.
Tea can be packaged in a multitude of ways. Not only this, different teas benefit from various packaging methods. To help you understand the difference between each, we’ve highlighted some of the top tea packaging methods available:
Tea bags are by far the most commonly found form of packaging for tea. They are a great way to transport tea and are, on the whole, good for the environment because the bag is made of biodegradable materials.
The first tea bag merchant was Thomas Sullivan, an American man who started packing tea in small Chinese silk tied with a drawstring. This was popularized in Europe by the famous tea brand, Tetley, who rationed tea in bags during World War 2.
As the name suggests, loose tea is packaged loosely in a pot, cannister or paper bag. While best kept in a tea chest, some loose teas are vacuum packed like coffee in order to maintain their freshness. These are normally whole teas that resist crumbling.
Loose tea is measured and ordered by the gram. It can also be combined with other teas to test various flavors. For the best drinking experience, loose tea can be consumed through a strainer, tea balls, tea presses, with infusion bags or by using a filtered teapot.
Compressed tea has a longer shelf life because the leaves are loosened and steeped in water. Compressed tea used to be the most popular type of tea in China.
Now, it is not as common but still consumed in the Himalayan countries and Mongolian Steppes. In the Himalayas, compressed tea is combined with yak butter and salt.
Instant tea works in the same way as instant coffee. It can be drunk either cold or hot and was first developed in the 30’s. This type of tea was first introduced by Nestle and then commercialized in the mid to late 40’s. Instant iced tea was commercialized in the early 50’s.
While the flavor of natural instant tea can be delicate and enjoyable on its own, these often come with added honey, fruit, milk, and other ingredients.
As with instant tea, canned and bottled tea is often accompanied by other ingredients, most notably flavorings and sugar. This type of tea is sold ready to drink and can be bought in a huge variety of flavors.
The first type of canned tea was introduced in the early 80’s in Japan and is now available worldwide including the Americas, Europe, Australia and most, if not all of Asia.
Preparing the perfect cup of tea can be challenging. While many are happy with virtually any teabags, if you learn enough about tea, you’ll quickly notice the difference between a good cup and a really bad one.
The process of preparing a mug of tea with loose leaf tea has now become increasingly popular. A tea infuser is a tool that allows you to create a great cup of tea using loose leaf tea without getting leaves stuck in your teeth.
Tea infusers are perfect for those of you who want to create a high-quality cup of tea without preparing an entire pot’s worth. Typically, you’ll need about one heaped teaspoon of loose leaf tea to every six ounces of water.
To create an awesome cup of tea from there, you need to fill up your infuser, place it in your mug of boiling water and steep it depending on the type of tea you are making.
White and green tea should be steeped for anywhere between two and four minutes, black tea should be steeped for three to five minutes, and Oolong and other herbal teas should be steeped for five to seven minutes.
The best way to serve a cup of tea completely depends on the type of tea you are serving. A cup of English tea is traditionally served with the choice of milk and sugar. Not only this, it often comes with sandwiches or cakes.
When it comes to Chinese tea, you should traditionally smell the tea and show it to your guests. You would then rinse the teapot and cups.
You must heat your water according to the type of tea you are serving, fill the teapot to steep the tea and serve it in warm cups once ready. Loose leaf Chinese tea leaves can typically provide three to four batches of tea to you and your guests.
Other than English and Chinese tea, you could serve Moroccan or Indian tea as well. Not only this, you can choose among thousands of varieties between these regional types of tea.
As the name suggests, a teapot is a pot that is used to steep tea. It also allows you to create other herbal hot beverages by using natural ingredients such as lemon, ginger, mint leaves, among others.
While most teapots look the same they can be made of a variety of materials and some have additional features that make them unique from traditional forms of teapots. Here is a bit more information on how teapots are built:
Teapots come in the form of a pot with a handle. These pots can be made of a variety of materials, from ceramic to copper, stainless steel, silver, clay, glass, among others. While all teapots are built to steep teabags, some are not designed for loose leaf tea.
Now, some teapots are designed with a mesh compartment which stops the tea leaves from pouring into the user’s mug or cup.
Teapots also have a spout. This is the end of the teapot through which the tea is served. The spout stops liquid from pouring out of the teapot when full. Certain teapots are also designed with a strainer inside the spout rather than the main body of the teapot.
The concept behind a teapot is simple. Teabags or leaves are put in the teapot and boiling, or near boiling water is poured over the top. Once filled, the lid stops heat from dissipating. Once steeped, the tea is poured through the spout into a mug or cup.
The difference between a teapot and a kettle is simple. With a tea kettle, water is poured into the body of the kettle. The kettle is then plugged in and turned on.
This boils the water ready to pour over the tea leaves which are placed in the teapot. Tea leaves should never be placed in the tea kettle. The tea kettle is purely used for heating the water.
The teapot does not heat the water but does hold the tea bags, or leaves, ready to be steeped. Do not try and heat water in your teapot. Use your kettle to heat the water, and your pot to steep your leaves.
The benefits of using a teapot are endless. Many believe that tea poured from a teapot tastes significantly better than when poured from a kettle straight into a mug.5
A teapot allows you to properly infuse your tea, no matter the type. A pot also allows you to make your tea drinking experience more sociable.
Instead of pouring multiple cups and taking trips to and from your kettle, you can serve your tea from one pot on a tray with biscuits or other snacks.
Each type of teapot has its own set of unique advantages and disadvantages. Below is a list of the main types of teapots available on the market today as well their pros and cons:
Ceramic teapots are perfect for preparing any type of tea. This type of teapot is particularly good for more delicate teas, for example, white tea.
Ceramic teapots do not absorb tea flavors and retain heat for longer than other types. We cannot think of any disadvantages to owning a ceramic teapot. Our only tip would be to choose one that is not too heavy and will therefore not strain your wrist.
Porcelain teapots are also great for serving more delicate teas. Porcelain teapots also do not absorb tea flavors meaning they can last a lifetime.
That said, they’re not as good as ceramic models when it comes to preparing teas that need to be brewed for longer periods of time because they do not retain heat as well.
If you combine your porcelain teapot with a tea cozy you’ll benefit from the same heat retention as ceramic models.
Clay teapots absorb the tannins in the tea meaning that the more it is used, the more you’ll be able to taste the various tea flavors.
While we like the idea of various flavors in our tea, if you’re looking for a pure tasting experience, this cannot be achieved with a clay teapot. Clay teapots also aren’t best used for green and white tea as well as other delicate types.
Glass teapots are awesome for brewing virtually any type of tea, and they often come with infusers for loose leaf tea. They’re great for steeping blooming flower tea and make great centerpieces on a living room table.
While they are beautiful, they don’t retain heat like ceramic pots and do require more time when it comes to brewing black and herbal teas.
Cast iron teapots are another type that can make for a beautiful piece for any home. They’re great for brewing most types of teas apart from very delicate ones.
They’re perfect when it comes to heat retention but can be quite heavy to carry. Plus, you’ll notice it’s easy to oversteep your tea unless you use an infuser.
While relatively modern, stainless steel teapots match the interior of virtually any home. Aside from looking great, stainless steel pots are very durable and less likely to break if dropped. They have excellent heat retention but, while unlikely, they can rust if not looked after properly.
As with any kitchen product, a huge number of companies now manufacture teapots, and some better than others. With that in mind, it’s important that you know about the best teapot manufacturers in order to find the perfect model for your personal needs.
Below is a list of four of the best teapot manufacturers in the industry today:
Tealyra has one of the largest selection of teas and tea related accessories. The company, which was founded in 2010, is based in Montreal, Canada, and was created with the aim of providing tea lovers a place to explore the world of tea.
From Chinese to Japanese and even herbal infusions, Tealyra offers a huge variety of tea-related products. The company has customers that range from China to the Americas, Europe, and even New Zealand.
Established in New York in the late 80’s, Frieling offers a diverse range of high-quality and well-designed products to its clientele that range from cookware to tea and coffee machines, cleaning products, and other homeware.
Its customers range from hotel and restaurant owners to retail customers. The company aims to provide solutions to day-to-day problems through its products.
Tea Beyond is an independent company started by a woman who suffered from health issues which stopped her coffee drinking days.
She went on to study tea and found that there was a huge gap in the market. As a result, she created Tea Beyond, one of the top-rated brands on Amazon.
Based in the Tohoku region of Northern Japan, Iwachu is one of the largest providers of cast iron teapots and kitchenware in the entirety of Japan. Beautifully crafted, these products are a combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology.
As with any home product, teapots need to be maintained properly in order to continue functioning the way they’re supposed to. Firstly, avoid harsh detergents as these could damage your pot.
Assuming you use your teapot regularly, we recommend you clean your teapot a minimum of twice a month with baking powder and vinegar. Generally speaking, you should soak your teapot overnight with boiling water, one cup of vinegar, and four tablespoons of baking powder.
By cleaning your teapot after every use and not leaving cold tea soaking in your pot, you should be able to avoid any nasty stains.
Tea culture is everything that encompasses the world of tea. Because tea has evolved over the years, so has the culture surrounding it. Tea ceremonies are common across China and Japan, while in England tea rooms with varied teas, cakes, and other meals are extremely common.
With that in mind, different regions across the world offer and favor various types of teas. As a result, tea culture includes everything from production to brewing techniques, history, ethics, communications, and much more- and, this varies depending on the country and region.
Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world and with that comes a mound of accessories that can enhance your tea drinking experience.
With that in mind, if you’ve decided that a teapot is what you need, check out our buying guide. In it, we’ll not only go into more detail about teapots, but also tell you about some of the best models on the market today.