You might be surprised to learn that there are hundreds of different designs and styles of teapots available for sale today. Why so many? Different people use teapots for different things. Some want them merely for decorative purposes, while others enjoy the subtle change in the taste of their favorite tea when it is brewed in a pot made out of a different material than what they are used to. There are many ways to enjoy all of the many and varied types of teapots that we have available to us.
Classic Types and Styles Never Grow Old
One of the oldest types of teapots that is still being made today is called a Brown Betty teapot. It is crafted out of the same type of clay that the original teapots were made of back in the 17th century. This clay is still found in a small English town called Stoke-on-Trent, and the real Brown Betty teapots are handmade here in several different sizes. The British people are quite fond of this type of pot, and swear that it makes the best cup of tea in the world because of the combination of the shape of the pot, and the type of clay used in the making of it. Beware the “imitation” Brown Betty teapots. They are the same size and shape as the original, but you can usually tell the real thing from an imitation if you look carefully at the surface. The original teapot is not glazed, while the cheaper imitation has a shiny glaze on the outside.
The Japanese Tetsubin
Another classic teapot from years past is the Japanese Tetsubin. Made out of cast iron, these teapots were originally used during the 17th and 18th centuries in the fireplace for a near constant supply of boiling water for the household. They also helped to heat the room during cold weather. They weren’t used for tea, as during this period only the rich could afford the type of tea that was available. When the Chinese developed a way to brew tea that used the entire tea leaf, common folk in Japan could afford tea. They took their teapots from the fireplace to use for brewing tea, and it became a habit. The spout on this type of teapot is generally facing the right. The reason for this is because during a Japanese tea ceremony, you always hold a teapot in your left hand. Having the spout located on the right made it much easier to pour!
A Status Symbol
The Tetsubin teapot started out as a plain little iron pot, but it didn’t stay that way for very long. Around the beginning of the 19th century, the design and style started to go through a change, becoming quite elaborate. Today, a Tetsubin has a simple geometric or animal design, but back then, the more opulent, the better! The teapots actually became a sort of status symbol for their owners. If you were a member of high society, or even if you just wanted to be, your Tetsubin was quite elaborately designed.
Silver teapots are well know for their ability to retain heat. Rumor has it that Queen Victoria was the first person ever to have tea in a silver teapot. The first teapots made of silver surfaced around 1730, and continued to evolve for several years until the 1780s, when they appeared with feet and in a drum shape. Not too long after this, someone
discovered how to fuse silver to copper, and the first silverplate was born. This combination was in use for around 100 years, but was eventually replaced with electroplate.
Porcelain Makes a Difference
Sometime around the year 1710, a type of clay was discovered in Germany by a man called Johann Bottger. This clay was fired using a method that had not been tried before, and much to Bottger’s astonishment, a beautiful porcelain was produced that easily rivaled any of the porcelain produced in China. The city of Dresden soon became known for the porcelain, which was named Dresden after the city of origin.
Chinese Yixing Teapots
The Yixing teapot is a little different from other types of Chinese teapots. They are made from a type of clay that is the color purple, and quite porous. Each time tea is made in a Yixing pot, a little of the flavor of the tea is absorbed into the pot, seasoning it. It’s said that once a Yixing teapot has been in use for several years, you could actually put plain water in it and make tea! It is best when using this kind of teapot to always brew the same kind of tea, so as not to ruin the delicate balance of seasoning in the clay.
Clear Glass Teapots
One advantage of a clear glass teapot is the fact that you can brew more than one type of tea in it without the worry of the glass retaining any of the flavor. If you like to drink a variety of different teas, a clear glass teapot would work well for you. It’s also nice to be able to watch the tea as it brews. Glass pots are simple to keep clean and can be placed in the dishwasher and the microwave, making them highly convenient.