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Teapot Shape Defies Infusers

Amsterdam 6 CupTeapot - Red
Amsterdam 6 CupTeapot – Red

Have you noticed that the best steeping teapots, no matter how “unique” they are, have a tendency toward stout? There are exceptions out there and some really “different” ones in that pack, but generally short and squat are regarded as the preferred dimensions for the best steepers. From the standard in many a UK kitchen the “Brown Betty” to affordable and utilitarian Amsterdam, Price and Kensington, San Remo, and Grimaldi models, stout teapots dominate wherever basic steeping of teas is needed. Don’t forget yixing pots, Royal Albert teapots, a very cute and popular Asian Tea Pot, and many more that follow the portly schematic.

The reason for this discrimination is that the wider bodied teapots give tea leaves plenty of room to spread out in the water and fully infuse, assuming you steep them loose, that is. Some advice articles I’ve seen on how to buy a teapot definitely recommend the stout models for that reason and also due to claims of aesthetic appeal.

Beware of that oh so neat teapot shaped like something tall and slim, such as the iconic British call box. It can look great on the shelf but not be the best steeper if you’re like me and steep the leaves loose in the pot. It also most likely won’t hold the heat as long nor fit most tea cozies out there.

Yixing Chinese Teapots
Yixing Chinese Teapots

If you want a holiday teapot that will not only be decorative but also good for steeping and serving tea, go for one that has not only that holiday style but a ho-ho-ho shape (as in that “Jolly Old Elf” otherwise known as “Santa Claus”), like this Whimsical Woods Christmas Teapot.

Teapots that come with infusers don’t really make use of this wonderful stout shape that helps infuse the tea leaves and keep the tea warm. The infusers are a great idea in terms of neatness and convenience while being able to enjoy loose leaf teas (you can remove the leaves cleanly and thus avoid oversteeping without straining the tea into another teapot). Yet, it’s doubtful that you get an optimum steep that way since the tea leaves stay bunched in the infuser, with the ones in the middle getting little, if any, exposure to the water.

Just my observations here.

Whichever way you go, loose or in an infuser, the stout teapot shape is not only sensible but just plain cute!

See also:
The Humble and Excellent Brown Betty
Teapots, Teapots and More Teapots
Those Wonderful Amsterdam Teapots
Yixing Teapots
All About Teapots
Tetsubin – Asian Teapots
Cast Iron Teapots  

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5 responses to “Teapot Shape Defies Infusers”

  1. I occasionally use an infuser, a large one with plenty of room for the leaves to unfurl. You have probably seen, as I have, tea novices completely filling an infuser with no thought to the leaves expanding.

    1. Yeah, I talked about that in Torturing Your Tea Leaves http://englishtea.us/2010/06/17/torturing-your-tea-leaves/

      Plus, I talked about using a larger infuser in Tea and the Infuser Experiment http://englishtea.us/2010/04/23/tea-and-the-infuser-experiment/

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  2. […] Teapot Shape Defies Infusers, by A.C. Cargill […]

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