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8th February 2012


The British Teapot

Glass Teapot on Bamboo Wooden Tray

Alexander Smith from the Mail Online is quite right to be concerned with the decline of the teapot in Britain. Freshly brewed tea is great to share and the quality of tea filling our teabags today is rather shocking. But where are we going wrong?

We are big admirers of the teapot, it is core to our
daily lives and there is nothing more pleasurable than a perfectly made pot of tea. Faced with the array of teapots retail has to offer, the quality of the material and size seems to give way to large, spotted, flowered, metal, or marmite pot shaped versions. Just witness the puckered face of the person to “enjoy” the last cup from such a teapot to conclude that there is something amiss.

Are these teapots right for today’s design-conscious customers?

The problem is simple: our everyday teapots don’t make good tea. Our teapots hold 3 or 4 cups of tea, but look at China’s teapots. With an over two thousand year old tea culture, their ornate tea vessels rarely contain enough to fill our British mug. Chinese teapots are small and only small teapots allow for control of temperature, taste and infusion.

Tea is best made in teapots that do not absorb tea residues. Having your fresh white tea tainted with richness of a black tea is certainly best avoided. Metal and ceramic teapots tend to be the worst culprits and are harder to wash. Glass and porcelain is easily cleaned and do not absorb tea’s taste.

The small teapot is also economical. Loose leaf tea can be brewed numerous times, so with the higher precision of the right pot you get more for your money.

Tea culture is a part of our culture, but we shouldn’t stoically cling to it for the wrong reasons; an uneconomical teapot making bad tea is certainly not something we should aspire to as a British icon.