I Love Teapots

I Love Teapots

A collection of metal, ceramic, and cast iron tea pots. A sign made with Scrabble letters is in front of the collection, that says 'I <3 tea pots'.

I was thinking about what to write for upcoming blogs. I was looking for a hint, a muse, a suggestion, a sign. Then a sweet and dear friend gave me a sign

The Sign 

A clear glass teapot with a glass infuser.

There are times when I am unclear what to write about. My mind goes blank and I have no clue what my writing will center around. This past week was no exception. The blahs of winter, the snow storm, the frigid temperatures, and being cooped up inside was getting to me. I felt my creativity was sapped.

I had several ideas but they didn’t develop into concrete writing points. The snow had finally melted enough to make it a drivable day. More than happy to get out and about, I met a friend who was in town. She gave me a sign; literally and figuratively! The sign states “I ❤️ Teapots.” Her sign was the muse that I needed. This article is dedicated to her.

Tea Pots 

A ceramic teardrop-shaped teapot with a blue and gold design on the top rim.

I have been blessed by being gifted with teapots. Each teapot has a personal history for me. I remember who gave me the teapot, and the occasion the teapot was given to me. When I use the teapots that friends have given me, it reminds me of them and their friendship. It is also a reminder for me to check in with them to see how they are doing. I also have purchased several teapots in antique stores, and recycle shops during times of travel and when exploring a new city.

A ceramic teapot that is shaped and painted to look like a rooster.

I have teapots that were manufactured in various countries. China, Japan, and England are some of the countries represented through my collection of teapots. I enjoy how each teapot is unique and has its own style, design, and flair. I have some teapots that are what I call utilitarian. They are not necessarily the most exquisitely designed teapot, but they are practical, and have great laminar flow (when the flow of a liquid is smooth or in a regular, consistent manner). There are other teapots that I have that are lavish, ornate, and decorative. I am cautious when I use the teapots, handling them with extreme care.

A white, gray, and silver ceramic teapot with a wide floral pattern band in gray and several thinner silver bands.

Teapots do require some attentiveness while cleaning. The spouts are prone to collecting tea leaves and becoming clogged. Leaves accumulated in the spout have an effect on the laminar flow of the water. Teapot spout brushes are a great tool to have on hand for cleaning out the spouts. When cleaning the spout, be careful not to apply too much pressure that may crack, chip, or break off the teapot spout.
Ceramic and Yixing clay teapots. These teapots are kyusu teapots, which means that they are made with a side handle.

I have damaged the inside of a beautiful metal teapot by scouring it, attempting to remove stains. If I had it to do all over again, I would replace the metal scrub pad with a natural and more gentle abrasive like salt, loofah sponge, or a soft plastic scrub pad. I still have the teapot and use it sporadically. Unfortunately, that was a lesson learned the hard way.

A white ceramic teapot with a floral design. On top of the teapot, a ceramic butterfly is perched.

Lastly, please do not place a teapot on an electric burner, or gas stove to heat up the water. Usually, the material teapots are made from are not suitable for stove top heating. Teapots are for table tops and not a stove top, or a microwave. Teapots are made of clay, ceramic, porcelain, glass, or metal. They could crack, and serious injury could occur while picking up the teapot from a cooktop, or microwave. Possible burns could be inflicted by grabbing a hot handle of a teapot that has been heated on the range, or in a microwave. If apprehension exists regarding placing a teapot on a stove cooktop or in a microwave, it is best to contact the manufacturer of the teapot for concise usage instructions.

Tea Kettles 

While teapots are used to serve tea, tea kettles are implemented to boil water for steeping tea. Non-electric metal tea kettles can be placed on a cooktop. Tea kettles can be used on an electric range, a gas stove top or even a camping burner. Cast iron camping tea kettles can even be placed directly on a grate above a campfire. With all tea kettles, please use caution when picking up the handle of the kettle; the handle could be hot to the touch. There are tea kettles that “whistle” when the water is boiling, as well as tea kettles that quietly boil.

Electric tea kettles can be programmed for specific temperatures depending on temperature requirements of the tea being steeped. The electric tea kettles will automatically shut off, or stop applying heat to the water, once the water has reached a specific temperature. If the electric tea kettle does not have temperature controls, it usually will automatically just shut off once the water has reached a full boil.

Coffee Pots Versus Tea Pots 

3 ceramic teapots of different shapes. One is taller than the others and has a pair painted on it. The other two are shorter and have grape and mixed fruit designs, respectively.

I suppose coffee pots could be used as teapots if one is needed and a coffee pot is the only thing available. The risk of using a coffee pot for tea is that the oil in coffee is difficult to completely eradicate from the coffee pot. For example, a floral jasmine green tea may be adulterated and tainted in taste and aroma if placed in a coffee pot that has a residual coffee odor. 

The design of the coffee pot varies slightly from the design of the teapot for specific reasons. The teapot is short and stout, while the coffee pot is tall and slightly stout. The spout of a coffee pot is affixed or mounted near the top of the pot. The grounds of coffee are heavy and sink to the bottom of the pot, thus allowing a clean pour of the coffee without grounds escaping into the cup. In addition, the coffee pot is taller and not as stout as the teapot so that there is less movement of the coffee grounds inside the pot.

The teapot is more rounded, or stout, to allow movement of tea leaves while steeping. Tea leaves float on the top of the water. The teapot spout is located lower on the teapot to allow a pour of water without tea leaves. Care should be used while picking up a teapot. Carrying a teapot by the spout can cause the spout to break off, rendering the teapot useless for pouring.

Teapots are meant to be used. Enjoy the teapots that you purchase or that are gifted to you by acquaintances and dear ones. Teapots can be an extension of your own personal ritual of tea.

Keep steeping and pouring,

Leslie

References:

www.artelia.com.myDifference Between A Teapot And A Coffee Pot.Dec.22, 2020.

Baldridge, Letitia.The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book Of Etiquette: A Guide to Contemporary Living.Doubleday, 1978.

Encyclopedia Britannica. www.britannica.com.

About The Author

A photo of Leslie on the patio wearing a pink cardiganLeslie Sundberg is a World Tea Academy Certified Tea Specialist, a World Tea Academy Apprentice Tea Sommelier, a Specialty Tea Institute Level IV trained Tea Specialist, and a Tea and Business Etiquette Specialist. On any given day, Leslie can be found teaching, speaking or sharing in the joys of a cup of tea.  No matter what Leslie is doing or where she is, one thing remains constant: 4:00 in the afternoon is tea time!

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