Just as we all have favourite mugs, here at Cupsmith we also have our favourite teapots. Even though we pack our tea in biodegradable tea pyramids, we quite often put the pyramids in a teapot because there's something so lovely and enticing about the sound of pouring a cup of tea into a cup! A perfect moment to stop, sit down and quietly pour a cuppa from the teapot. So we've been looking at teapots of the world and the huge array of shapes and designs.
Here in the UK our teapots for the most part seem to follow a similar standard that was moulded in the Victorian times, but what of the rest of the world? Emma's painted and collaged some of her favourites below!
China - Gaiwan
The Gaiwan, meaning ‘covered bowl’, originated during the Ming Dynasty and is still used to this day. Tea is brewed directly in the bowl and the can be strained through opening the lid ever so slightly while pouring the tea into your drinking vessel of choice, or you can sip tea directly from the Gaiwan using the lid to keep the leaves away.
China - Yixing
These pots are made from the purple clay of Yixing and date back to the 15th century. Yixing teapots are known for absorbing the flavours of tea and creating stronger brews with each use. This unique characteristic means that you should only use one variety of tea in a pot. Nowadays tea enthusiasts are often seen with Yixing teapots as some of their most beloved possessions.
Japan - Kyusu
This beautiful Japanese pot is held in high regard among today's tea enthusiasts and is found in many collections. Commonly made of ceramic and sometimes glass, perhaps the most distinguishing feature of this teapot is the large handle that can either be seen protruding from the side or back of the pot.
Japan - Tetsubin
This is another example of beautiful Japanese craftsmanship. While this may look like a normal teapot and most definitely has the facilities to be used as such, the Tetsubin is an early example of a cast iron kettle and is still commonly used to this day. The Japanese swear by this pot's ability to smooth out the taste of boiled water which in turn brings out all varieties of wonderful sweet flavours that Japanese teas are known for.
UK - Brown Betty
Ah yes, the Brown Betty! A staple in British households since the Victorian times, the origins of this iconic teapot stem from 17th century Stoke-on-Trent where it was made with the red clay of Staffordshire. Originally a product targeted towards the working class, Betty’s round shape made her brilliant at retaining heat and releasing full flavours, which in turn tickled the fancy of the aristocracy and the Brown Betty became a member of British households throughout the classes.
Argentina - Gourd and Bombilla
Argentinian Mate tea is traditionally prepared and served in a Gourd and Bombilla which can be made from metal, plastic or wood but most authentically from the shell of a calabash gourd. The tea can be sipped and shared through a straw-like Bombilla, to prevent the tea leaves from leaving the gourd, Bombillas come with a strainer at the bottom of the straw.
India and Pakistan - Kulhar
While most modern chai wallahs on the streets of India and Pakistan will serve their tea in plastic or paper cups, the more traditionally inclined will serve tea in clay Kulhar. Fans of these small clay pots swear by their ability to give the tea an earthy flavour. These pots are designed to be used once and only once, so how does one dispose of it after use? Chuck it on the ground and smash it! Modern desires for waste reduction and cost effectiveness have lowered the use of the Kulhar in modern times but chai wallahs who want to offer a traditional experience to their customers can be found throughout India and Pakistan.
Tea is something that we all share across the world but in such different ways, making the world of tea an endlessly fascinating one to explore. Now, time to go and put the kettle on...