Teapots are one of those rare things that are exquisitely lovely and serve as great decorative pieces, and also quite practical at the same time. If you are a tea lover, then a teapot is practically a must!
There are several different kinds, mainly porcelain, glass, and ceramic. And contrary to popular belief, the purpose of a teapot is to brew tea, not to boil water – that is what a kettle is for.
How to Make Tea in a Teapot
Place water and your tea in the teapot, then place it on the stove and bring it to a low boil. It is recommended that you remove the teapot almost immediately after brewing, because the longer it brews, the more that the tannins will get dissolves, and this leads to a very bitter tea.
If you are looking a less bitter tea than average, then also use loose tea in your teapot instead of tea bags. Tea bag leaves are ground very fine which gives them a more bitter taste. If you do use loose tea, also use a strainer to filter out tea leaves.
A History of Teapots – How to Improve the Tea Experience
Do you ever wonder about the first teapots and what they were like as you are pouring yourself a cup of tea from your lovely porcelain teapot? Historians aren’t 100 percent sure where the teapot originated.
>One theory states that in the sixteenth century, Chinese potters in a town called Ishing created small, individually sized teapots which were given the name “Boccarro” by the Europeans who discovered these pots amongst the various teas that had been shipped to their country from China. It’s said that they used the Boccarro, which means “large mouth” in Portuguese, as a model for some of the initial teapots created in Europe.
Another theory discounts the Chinese history, and states that those in China did not even use teapots! Rather, they brewed their tea right in the cup that they drank it from, so no pot was necessary. This seems feasible, as you can still see this technique used in certain Chinese restaurants.
The First Teapot?
Yet another explanation for the first teapot has been drawn from 16th century Europe coffeehouse practices. A type of Islamic coffee pot was hugely popular during this period, and it is believed that the first teapots were designed to look like this pot.
Also, the Chinese had developed a container to be used for holding wine that was to be served at table. This was called a wine vessel, and it was shipped to the European countries stuffed with native Chinese tea leaves in order to hopefully prevent breakage during its long journey.
Many people were unsure as to the original purpose of this container, and assumed that since it arrived full of loose tea that it was meant to be used with the tea! The rounded shape of the wine vessel set the pattern for a good many of the teapots that were later produced in Europe.
Porcelain Comes of Age
It wasn’t long after this that teapots began to come out of Europe, but they were quite different from what we think of as teapots today! They were created out of a very heavy pottery material and had replaceable spouts, for this was a part of the teapot that often got broken.
Some imaginative designs also saw the light of day, such as pots shaped as plants and animals. However, due to the quality of the workmanship and of the pottery that was popular then, these were not considered to be good quality teapots at all.
About this time, a new type of porcelain was discovered in Europe that was clearly of a higher quality than ever before. It even rivaled the fine porcelain China was known for! Teapots began to come into their own then, and were designed with ornate handles and spouts to complement their rounded shapes.
The middle class people of Europe began to clamor for more and more teapots, as they had gotten wind of how those of the upper classes enjoyed afternoon tea each day, and wanted to mimic them.
This is when such famous porcelain manufacturers such as Spode and Wedgwood began to create their beautiful pieces, and the first silver tea services also came into the picture, with a young Paul Revere as one of the best known silversmiths of that time. The silver teapots were made in various shapes, including a lovely drum shape, and some had feet to help protect the tabletops.
Teapots during the 1800s were noted for being quite different from any previous styles! They were designed in all sorts of “arty” styles that reflected the popular arts and crafts of the Victorian era. Art Nouveau, Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance, and others were appreciated for their novelty alone.
This type of teapot continued to be made until around the 1920s, when people began to prefer function over form, and wanted to use a plainer teapot. But the 1930s were the age of Art Deco, and this was reflected in the teapots of that time. Designed to look like such items as airplanes, race cars, and trains, they were quite colorful and quite appealing!
During World War II, people made do with the teapots they had. Not very many teapots were manufactured during the war, as most factory production had been changed from the usual products to anything and everything to help a country in the midst of war.
The 1960s saw function return to teapot design once again, as the clean lines of a style called Modernism was all the rage. History repeated itself in the 1970s as many different types of what were dubbed as novelty teapots burst onto the scene. Teapots were shaped like dogs, cats, apples, spaceships… almost anything could appear as a teapot design!
From the 1980s until the present, tea connoisseurs have welcomed a return to the classic teapot styles of yesteryear. Many designs from the 17th and 18th century have been reproduced so that they can be enjoyed on our modern tea tables today.
Teapots have a rich and fascinating history. Today, you can find teapots in all shapes, sizes and colors, which is a tribute to the many different designs that were available throughout the years.
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