Updated: Feb 11
Have you ever seen similar tea leaves giving different tea experiences at different places? It probably happens because of a variation in the teapots. Selecting the correct teapot is as necessary as picking quality tea leaves because only then can you get that perfectly brewed cup of tea. That is why teapots have their own history. A few teapot features that affect the quality of tea are:
● Material: The material from which your teapot is made plays a crucial role in deciding the taste of the tea. Some substances like ceramic and cast iron are known for their heat retention property, while others like clay help in incorporating more flavours into the beverage. You need to learn about distinct materials to know which one fits best in your choices.
● Steeping Style: A particular steeping style determines how well your tea will taste. If you want to obtain the perfect tea taste, you will have to steep it in a specific method for the required time. Otherwise, your tea won’t taste as good.
Other than this, a suitable teapot can also change the tea preparation experience for you. For example, a bigger teapot will be able to hold your entire day’s tea, and you won’t have to prepare it again and again. Now that you know how crucial teapots are let’s explore their history.
History Of Teapots
Tea gained popularity in the Chinese culture between 618AD-908AD. However, it is still unknown whether people used some pots to steep tea leaves or put them directly into the cup in those times. Even if teapots existed in that era, they must have been simple pots without any beauty appeal to them.
Initially, China had red or purple coloured earthen pots as their official teapots. Each of these vessels was made for specific types of tea. It is also said that Chinese people drink their tea directly from the pots. After this, the Buddhist monks of China took their green tea to Japan. They used the beverage to keep themselves awake during meditation.
When Japanese people developed a liking for Chinese green tea, they asked people from China to teach them the art of making their earthen pots. Following that, they made their own first teapot. The next place to get teapots was India. Indians used tea only for medicinal purposes until the officials of British East India Company asked China to send their teapots.
They requested a unique grate to be put before the spout so that tea leaves could get filtered through it. That is how tea drinking and teapots came to India. The country still holds a big market of tea and the beverage is served throughout the country. Slowly, tea and teapots became popular all over the world with globalisation.
Different Types Of Teapots
Being the first three countries to explore tea, China, Japan, and India have the most historic and unique teapots. Here is what you can find in these places.
-> Chinese Teapots
Chinese were the first to make teapots, and it is said that their inspiration for the vessel came from Chinese wine ewers. They made red and purple earthen pots, as stated earlier. Later they developed teapots with infusers on the demand of East India Company officials. Currently, you can find round teapots to be popular in the country.
-> Japanese Teapots
The teapots are known as Kusu in Japan. When the Japanese asked people from China to teach them teapot making, the concept of Raku pot came up. People made them with hands in the Bizen province of Japan. As time progressed, they started incorporating nature-based themes on these teapots. In today’s time, you can find kettle-shaped teapots in Japan that are used for Sencha and Houjicha teas. These teapots are utilized for more massive tea drinkers’ groups.
-> Indian Teapots
Initially, teapots came to India from China on the demand of British officials. So there was nothing special then. But if you look into the tea market of India now, you will find that it holds some of the best teapots in the world. Plus, there is a considerable variation of teapots used across the country. Some exciting concepts you will see in India are:
● Red Clay Pots: Earthen red clay pots are used widely in rural India. These are also used in urban areas, as they are said to give a distinctive taste to the tea.
● Bone China or Porcelain Pots: Indians use these on special occasions like functions or festivals. You may not find these in the rural areas of the country.
● Glass Pots: Glass teapots are generally used in ceremonies, as people consider them to be something that portrays a “good impression” on guests.
You can also find other types of teapots in India based on places and classes of people.
Some Other Teapots
Other than these three, other countries also hold interesting teapot variations that are worth exploring.
-> Turkish Teapots
Along with the current biggest tea market, Turkey also has a great history of tea making and drinking. People of the country use a stacked teapot known as “caydanlik” to prepare their favourite black tea. They also combine sugar and lemon in the tea to give it a unique taste.
-> European Teapots
Along with India, the East India Company took the Chinese teapots to Europe, as well. Germany was the first country in Europe that tried out developing similar earthen teapots as Asia. But they used soft-paste porcelain as the base material, which broke on pouring hot tea. Then the people of France came up with brilliant pieces that were decorated with Rococo designs. In Russia, the artists prefer to portray daily life images on the teapots.
Teapots have an interesting history, and they have not lost their charm over so many years. They are loved in the current market as much as they were cherished in the period 1600-1700. The only change you will find is in the variety and quality. Several different types of teapots have come to existence now. Materials like clay, cast iron, ceramic, and glass are also used to prepare various kinds of teapots. In case you want to buy one, you will have to look for the alternative that fits best in your tea choices.