Teapot porn and our guide to avoiding the dreaded dribbles when choosing your perfect pot

Choosing the perfect teapot

Anyone who’s ever been plagued by a dribbling spout (!) knows there’s far more to a tempting teapot that a pretty pattern on the side.

It’s not just the quality of the resulting tea that counts – there’s also a pleasure in the pouring. Which means you’ll need to consider the shape, size, functionality and the material from which it’s made to ensure an all round brilliant brew.

If you don’t know how these elements affect your tea experience, buying a humble teapot can be a daunting experience. So let’s consider each in turn.

Appearance (or aesthetic design)

This could be pretty simple really: you choose a pot whose appearance you like and pop in a teabag or some loose leaf, brew and pour. Yet, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of the look.

It is actually crucial in terms of enjoying the tea experience and can greatly enhance the pleasure of pouring a cup of tea. What was purely functional becomes a ritual to be enjoyed alone or with friends. Our Henley teapots (below) have provided a real talking point in our HQ (Metrodeco in Brighton) and fit with the style of our shop as well as being extremely functional.

In terms of aesthetics, as well as the pattern on the pot, the shape is important.  Look at how the lid, handle and spout on our Henley pot are all beautifully aligned. The spout should be the focus but in a successful teapot there is balance between  the three.

Henley tea pot

Henley teapot

Functionality

Returning to the matter of the spout, always ensure it is level with or higher than the lid. If it is lower, tea will slosh out of the pot through the spout when carried. Think about whether there is a loose leaf tea infuser in the teapot if you are using loose leaf tea or invest in a tea strainer or tea ball if not. Using a sieve when you haven’t got a strainer is rather uncouth (I’m blushing at the memory).

Also, look at the edge of the spout. Is it sharp? My pet hate is a dribbly teapot, which can be caused by a blunt edge. It really shows the mark of an unloved, thoughtless design and is all too common.

Size 

This is fairly straightforward. If you mainly brew for yourself then you should get a small pot. If you brew for a few at a time then a larger pot will be necessary. I think it’s a good idea to have one of each in the house because there is something quite forlorn about brewing tea for one in a big pot.

At Metrodeco, home of mdtea, we mainly do single servers so everyone gets their own pot, which pours two cups. But this might be a bit indulgent at home and sharing can add to the ritual.

Material

This is key to the retention of flavour and heat in the tea. In some countries, for example Japan where drinking tea is very much a ritual, the material is paramount. Traditionally, tetsubin pots are used in the tea ceremony. This is a carefully crafted cast iron vessel, beautifully decorated all over its body. Cast iron does a great job of distributing the heat around the pot and so extracting the most flavour and nutrients from the tea.

Yixing teapots are also very specialised and are made in the Jiangsu Province in China from clay. The clay absorbs the flavours of the tea so if using properly you should only brew one type of tea in these pots. More common in Britain are porcelain, bone china or ceramic pots and these vary immensely in shape, colour and size.

They don’t do such a great job of holding the heat but neither do they hold the flavour in the lining so can be used for different types of tea from brew to brew. Silver and stainless steel pots are also popular. Stainless steel is very good at holding the heat and a brushed steel, like that of our Henley teapots, will not show fingerprints if that is something that would concern you.

Lotus glass teapot

Our Lotus glass teapot

A great way of showing off an aesthetically pleasing tea is the glass teapot, like our Lotus glass teapots (see the picture above and below – with artisan flowering tea brewing inside). They are delicate and – yes – very easy to break but they show off the tea in all its glory so if you have a beautiful flowering tea or colourful Chamomile – or any great looking tea or infusion – you might want to consider this option so you can enjoy the look as well as the taste of your brew.

So there’s no need for the dreaded dribbles. Just choose a terrific teapot for a brilliant brew! 

Artisan flowering tea balls

Our Lotus glass teapot with artisan flowering tea inside

About Michael Taggart

Michael Taggart is married to mdtea and Metrodeco co-owner Helen. He advises mdtea on marketing and because of a personal love of tea, writes the occasional post himself.
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Metrodeco

38 Upper St James Street, Brighton, BN2 1JN
+44 (0) 1273 677243 (10.30-7pm Sunday-Thursday & 10.30-10pm Friday and Saturday) or
+44 (0) 7956 978115 (out of hours)


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