A Not-So-Serious Guide to Shopping for Teapots

We all know that spout shape is important, that short, squat teapots can be better steepers that those taller, thinner ones, and that different materials (glass, metal, bone china, terracotta, zisha clay, etc.) affect how the teapot steeps. But it’s time to take a look at some not-so-serious reasons to buy that teapot for your collection. And so I present this guide!

A dented silver teapot — victim of a fracas? (Yahoo! Images)
A dented silver teapot — victim of a fracas? (Yahoo! Images)
  • Be sure the color of the teapot matches the color of your arm cast — wouldn’t want to clash at tea time!
  • Speaking of clashing, avoid teapots that cannot hold up to boisterous clanking if your tea time happens to get a bit … uh … rowdy (which would account for the arm cast mentioned above). Even those metal teapots (stainless steel primarily) can wimp out and dent if you get a bit carried away with your celebratory actions. Cast iron may be your best bet here.
  • On second thought, cast iron may not be good, since you could end up injuring or getting injured if those teapots go flying, so go with something that won’t leave too big of a lump when it contacts your head. Glass, porcelain, or even bone china should shatter nicely on impact and therefore pose a lesser danger.
  • But wait, those shattered teapots could end up causing serious cuts. Maybe it’s best to stick with that stainless steel. Won’t shatter and won’t leave as large a lump or cause a mild concussion if you get hit with it.
  • Watch out for those floral patterned teapots when you are having an outdoor teatime. I’m not saying that bees are stupid or anything, but they, as well as wasps, get attracted to bright colors. You might also get confused and lift up a bunch of flowers instead of that teapot and try to pour out a cuppa for your guest.
  • Which brings up the issue of contrast, a key factor in our visual perception of things. If your teapot blends in too well, such as a red teapot on a red tablecloth, how do you find it? Reaching blindly around on the tea table can result in a bit of knocking things over. And as any good tea lover knows, wasted tea is a terrible thing.
  • One sure way to avoid wasting tea is to make only the amount you plan to consume at a given time. Since teapots come in a variety of sizes, this should be pretty easy to do. Just buy a bunch of different sizes so you can have the right one available when needed (use a shopping cart for easy transport to the checkout line). For example, you would hardly use a 6-cup Brown Betty to steep some Longjing or Sencha. And that Irish Breakfast tea is best steeped in a teapot no smaller than a 2-cupper, since it is a tea where one cuppa is never enough (at least not at our house).

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. So, now you are armed. Go forth into the tea stores and seek and find your perfect steeping vessels. And again I was not saying bees are stupid, so you apiarists can settle down now.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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