Most tea drinkers agree that tea is no laughing matter. In fact, the Japanese were probably the first to realize the real importance of tea – the Japanese Tea Ceremony is of great significance, and very symbolic. Though it actually originated in China, it remains an integral part of Japanese culture.
If tea is that important, how you prepare it is also a subject to which a considerable amount of attention has been dedicated. After all, a badly brewed cup of tea can be a rather painful experience, as opposed to a correctly brewed cup of tea, which is delightful.
It is in this respect that teapots become important. While choosing the right kind of tea – well, there is no real right and wrong kind of tea, there’s one for everyone – and knowing how long to steep it, when to add the milk, how hot the water should be are all very important, you also have to use the right kind of teapots.
There are ceramic, glass and metal teapots. Traditionally, glass teapots with infuser have been popular. Most of the illustrations in children’s stories are of glass teapots, so they have a fairy tale sort of appeal to them. Glass teapots can be very elaborate and beautiful, as well.
Functionally, glass ones serve the purpose. They retain heat well, especially if combined with a tea cozy. However, you have to be careful while using a tea cozy that covers the handle and spout – it can heat the glass handle up more than you would expect.
Glass ones are as good as glass ones, with the added advantage that you can actually watch the infusion, so you can judge how long you want it to steep.
Both ceramic and glass ones have the same disadvantage – they break. Glass ones are especially susceptible to chips and cracks, which can look very unattractive.
The third option is metal. A lot of people prefer metal pots, but some people feel that it gives a rather weird taste to the tea. Also, because metal is such a good conductor of heat, the tea will not get all the heat it might need during infusion. Quite a bit of heat might be conducted away.
All in all, making tea is not a frivolous exercise in the least. Finding the right kind of tea, finding what you should mix with the tea, how hot the water should be, whether the milk will be scalded if you add the tea to the milk instead of the milk to the tea – there are lots of questions to be answered, as any tea drinker will tell you. And choosing the right pot is not the least of them.