As you continue to drink tea more often, you likely will eventually have the desire to brew tea in a teapot. But with so many choices of teapots, how do you decide on which one to choose? There are several things to consider– are you still using teabags, and how many are you serving?
If you are brewing loose leaf tea, you want a teapot with a filter of some sort, and in general you want a smaller teapot something no larger than 15 ounces, as to prevent over steeping you will need to pour the tea from that teapot into other containers shortly after steeping is done. If you are brewing with teabags, any size works and a filter or screen is optional.
Now as you descend into the world of tea certain teapots and kettles are known to produce better results. These include but are not limited to a Tetsubin, Yixing, Kyusu, or gaiwan. While a gaiwan is actually more of a cup with a lid that you use hold back the leaves while pouring into a pitcher, and just about always used for gong fu brewing.
Tetsubins come in two different varieties ones with a glazed inside and plain cast iron inside. Cast iron tetsubins are meant to boil water, and they are said to improve the quality of the water by releasing minerals into the water which make for a great tasting tea experience. Glazed tetsubins, on the other hand, are simply meant to brew tea in, look nice, and be a nice presentation. More than likely, the inside of au unglazed tetsubin will eventually rust, but you can prolong its life by drying it between tea sessions. Also, if you heat a glazed testubin you can actually crack the lining, which will lead to rusting as it will be very hard to dry thoroughly.
Yixings are a Chinese clay pot often used in Gong fu brewing. They are said to take on the characteristics of the tea is brewed in them. They are typically used for oolong and puerh tea, but one generally uses only one yixing for each different type of tea, as the absorption of the tea oils from one tea can be said to interfere with the flavor of others.
A kyusu is a Japanese teapot often seen with a side handle. These also come in both glazed and unglazed varieties. Unglazed kyusus are rather similar to yixings in their absorption properties. The glazed kyusus, however, can be used for any type of tea.
6 thoughts on “Types of Teapots”
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I agree, though I have heard of people using glazed kyusu’s as general use teapots, mine is saved for my Japanese greens only.
The most interesting part of this is the Tetsubin while the name makes me think its japanese, the chinese have been using cast iron pots for heating their tea, for just as long, if not longer!
But if we start getting into tetsubins as kettles we scratch the surface of ways to enrich water and produce great quality tea. Something I think someone with more experience in those experiments would need to write a post about.
I am rather particular myself with regards to the brewing vessels for my tea. I never brew Chinese tea in a standard teapot, and never brew an Indian tea in my gaiwan.
Somehow tea does taste better when brewed in its proper vessel.
To truly enjoy sencha, gyokuro or other fine Japanese green tea a kyusu is an essential part of the preparation. It’s extremely difficult to properly prepare these teas in a western-style teapot. Having used both, I can say that my sencha has always tasted much, much better when prepared in a kyusu.
Thanks for the comment! It truly is amazing how much of a difference something as simple as teapot can make, that always has amazed me.