Just like the basic and timeless Brown Betty, the Amsterdam teapot is quintessential and a must for your British-style teatime. Its full body shape makes me think of a lovable grandma perpetually cooking wonderfully smelling and tasting treats to serve along with seemingly never empty pots of tea.
Amsterdam Teapots are made in China for the Old Amsterdam Porcelain Works company, supposedly founded in 1701 (information on the company could not be found online). One legend is that teapots first came to Europe through a Dutch trader during the 1700s, as portrayed in many famous paintings by Dutch artists. Whether they looked like these teapots or not, I’m not sure.
For those of you who own a tearoom or restaurant, these teapots are your best buddies. They are affordable, colorful, and available in several sizes (2-cup and 6-cup being the most common).
As for colors, these Amsterdam Teapots go far beyond black and white. They have a rainbow of choices: white, sahara, yellow, mustard, sierra rose, red, burgundy, plum, lime, sea foam, green, powder blue, blue, cadet blue, royal blue, brown, and black. You can order several of each color (quantity discounts are available) for your tearoom or restaurant and mix and match them for a wonderfully colorful array. Don’t forget matching creamers and lidded sugar bowls for a color-coordinated (or perhaps mixed and matched?) tea table that resembles a bouquet of flowers. There are also warmers to set the teapots on and keep your tea at the perfect temperature until you are ready for it. Round out the table with matching cups and saucers.
Going solo? There are also Amsterdam tea-for-one sets. Their Easter-egg shape is formed from a teapot nested on top of a teacup. Each teapot has the capacity to hold 11 oz. of the tasty tea of your choice.
Besides their affordability, classic simple design, and array of colors, what do these teapots offer? For one thing, an air of a far off land. Their very name conjures images of a city that enchants in a country that is a monument to man’s will over Nature. I’m speaking of Amsterdam, capital city of The Netherlands. It’s a city I got to visit not too many years ago and that forever remains alluring and ethereal in my memory.
A far cry from the days when nomadic reindeer hunters roamed the Lowlands, this country, through its long history, is picturesque yet modern. Signs remain of the various peoples who inhabited it during the millennia. Celts, Romans, Franks (a Germanic tribe), Germans, and more all left their mark.
One of the county names, Holland, often gets confused with the country name, which is actually The Netherlands (meaning “The Lowlands”). “Holland” is a shortening of “Holy Land” when a feudal Holy Roman Empire system was in place. The country had a virtual “Golden Age” from about 1600 to about 1800. During this time, they established a colony in a distant land and named it New Amsterdam, which in 1674 was taken over by the British and renamed New York (after the city of York). They also became great traders, having one of the best fleets in Europe, and included tea among their wares. Even occupation by Germans during World War II didn’t keep these indefatigable people down.
If you get a chance to visit, remember that in these modern times, afternoon tea remains a very important part of life in Amsterdam and throughout the country. Along with a potful of strong hot tea, you can munch on “gebak” (a delicious pastry), “vlaai” from the province of Limburg (they don’t just make stinky cheese), “poffertjes” (mini pancakes with butter and sugar), and even the Dutch version of French fries called “patat,” served in a cone and smothered with either mayonnaise or sate (peanut) sauce (very yummy!).
If you can’t travel that far, just use your Amsterdam teapot to steep up a potful and have your own version of the treats named above.
See one of these teapots in action in this video on steeping the perfect pot of tea.
Proof positive that tea is the Affordable Indulgence!
For more on all things tea, check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!