PaulRobert said

What is the best type of teapot to steep in?

I have recently kicked coffee for good and have been doing a lot of research on tea. I hear mixed things about the best ways to prepare it, whether it be a cast iron pot or ceramic /glass pot. I currently use a typical cheap kettle to heat my water and then steep in a perfect steep (IngenuiTEA). I feel as though I may be missing out on the full experience here and would be stoked to get some feedback from people. Thanks!

32 Replies
Spot52 select said

It is a preference thing. I started with a perfect tea maker, and then bought a kyusu. There was a difference, but I do not think either is better or worse. I have tried a lot of pots, and the best advice I can give is; pay attention to your water temperature. But explore other brewing preperations, they can be fun and change your experience.

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IdentiTEA said

It depends on what you want out of your tea.

I would shy away from the IngenuiTEA just because it is plastic and it absorbs aroma of scented teas (mine currently smells like peppermint dispite my efforts). Not to mention plastics are known to leach chemicals when subjected to boiling water. I am not sure if the IngenuiTEA is BPA free or not… someone correct me if I’m wrong.

As far as a teapot, I would recommend a glass teapot if you want to watch the “agony of the leaves.” This is good for all types of tea. However, heat disipates quickly.

If you are concerned about keeping the temperature of the water roughly the same throughout the steeping process, then a cast iron is your best bet. However, this obviously doesn’t give you the show that glass teapots provide.

Ceramic teapots and kyusuus are inbetween glass teapots and cast iron – they offer no show of the leaves, but hold heat a little better than glass, just not as well as cast iron.

Gaiwans are good for greens, whites, and greener oolongs… basically teas that don’t require boiling water. I say this because there is really no protection between the heat of the cup and your fingers… thus, teas that require cooler water helps with this.

This may be a stretch from what you are looking for… however you did say you wanted the “full experience,” so if you are an oolong lover, a yixing pot would be good. These are typically used with oolongs because of their large leaves and multiple steeps. I won’t go into full detail of the fun with yixings in case this is not what you are looking for. If you are interested, try Googling the term, or PM me and I can help you out.

Oh, and welcome to the wonderful world of tea! :)

Spot52 select said

http://www.adagio.com/teaware/ingenuiTEA_teapot.html?SID=6ab1f47236dff9b17e99c4dcdeda2e9c
It is BPA free certified by SGS.

I have not had the flavor problem with the teamaker. But I usually do not use flavoured tea in it either. When I do use flavoured tea, I clean it out after steeping. And if necessary, I clean it out after a soak in baking soda. It is a fairly versatile little steeper.

IdentiTEA said

Ah, good! Thanks for the link.

The IngenuiTEA is still my ‘last restort’ teapot. It hardly ever gets used – only when I want a lot of tea because it is the biggest pot I have in terms of volume. The peppermint scent is mainly in the strainer. I have always cleaned it soon after use. I have tried the soaking method but nothing has worked. I am not too worried about it and will probably just pitch it eventually.

I use the ingenuiTEA almost exclusively, and I’ve never had a problem with flavor transferring.

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Welcome to the world of tea. Just as there are thousands of different teas to taste and experience, there are a multitude of different ways to prepare the tea.

Your ‘full experience’ may be based on expectations of a traditional tea brewed in a porcelain Tea Pot. You will soon see that you may continue to experience tea a new way, every day if you wish. Try several for a while and settle on what brings the most enjoyment and you won’t miss out on anything.

I think that your IngenuiTEA is an excellent way to begin. It gives the tea leaves plenty of room and you have the added experience of viewing the leaves as they infuse. That is certainly something opaque tea pot users miss out on. I personally recommend making the amount of tea you intend to drink and decanting all so as not to end up consuming bitter tea. Whole leaf teas are wonderful in that they can be infused a second time. Experiment with this and you will find which teas you like a second and 3rd infusion of. If you are kicking coffee for the reason of limiting caffeine, the infusions after the first are said to have less caffeine.

If you have a favorite mug you like to drink from, there are several styles of infusing baskets to use. I like this method as it makes just the amount of tea I want to drink. I usually use a tea pot or a press if I am making tea for two. Cover the mug to keep the essences and flavor from escaping during infusing time. I like to use the large tea-sac style of infuser when making tea in a tea pot. Once again giving the tea leaves plenty of room.

Once you settle on a favored type of tea to drink, you may find your tea pot issue evolved and resolved. Experiment and enjoy the process. THAT is the experience.

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Meeka said

I got the IngenuiTEA when starting out and I haven’t had any issues with the taste transferring through the plastic. Last night I had left a strawberry herbal tisane teabag inside and it smelled like strawberries even after I washed it, but my green tea that I made right afterward had no strawberry taste at all. The thing I like about it is that it makes exactly enough tea to fill my thermos or fill two 8 oz cups. Another thing to consider when looking for a teapot is portability (if that’s an issue) Plastic may not be the nicest looking option but it’s pretty light and sturdy.

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IdentiTEA said

Wow, I did not realize how many people are infatuated with their IngenuiTEAs. That is the last thing I would ever recommend to someone.

However, I did buy this for my step-mom for Christmas.
http://www.mightyleaf.com/teaware_teapot/piao-i-multiple-infusions-teapot/

Relmaster said

I LOVE my Piao i teapot!! It works extremely well for my green/Oolong teas!! I use it more than my Hobnail cast iron teapot (Teavana)..Any suggestions for a good teapot for daily use and preferably brewing up to 32 Oz??

Bonnie said

You won’t believe this but, besides my PIAO and several gaiwans (I have one clay gaiwan for puer’s) I have a glass 32oz pot with stainless steel basket that has a partial hard plastic sheeth so it won’t break easily. I can pull out the basket without burning my fingers because there’s a rim ring.
I love the thing. I have given them away as gifts. It cost under $20 on (get this…wait for it…haha) QVC! Har har!

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Spot52 select said

I recommend it because it is affordable, easy to use, doesn’t drop temp quickly, and it doesn’t alter the tea flavour. I have one, and I use it mostly for blacks or oolongs. My kyusu drops temp great for whites and greens, but not for blacks. There are other options, but it is a pretty affordable cool tool. But I do not think it is the end all of tea ware. I think the water temp and steep time is the most essential. And for new tea drinkers, it is an easy way to enjoy and explore.

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PaulRobert said

I cant say thank you enough for everyones advice! Its nice to post in a forum and not have people attack you based on the fact that my knowledge of tea is still slim to none. I did not realize how much emphasis is put on the tea temps. Is there a rule of thumb with this to easily monitor? I am a Chef by profession and now I feel like I am taking on a whole new facet to my culinary ability. Any other beginner tips would greatly be appreciated as well. Thanks again everyone.

Jenny said

This might be weird, but the way I’ve developed a sense for how hot the water is just through practice.

I had a regular thermometer because I wanted to be careful not to burn my green teas, and over time by just putting my finger in at different temps, I just got a sense of how hot 150 degrees is and how hot 125 degrees is (the temperature any drink needs to cool down to before my boyfriend will drink it).

Jenny said

Also, as a college student I’m pretty lazy so I just add certain amount of boiling water and then add a bit of room temperature water to make my 150 degree water. If you have a particular sized mug or pot that you use regularly you can play with it a bit until you find something you like.

Don’t forget that there is no “right” way to drink tea ~ play with it to find your own individual perfect cup!

PaulRobert: a very basic/simplistic rule of thumb for water temperature; “Black tea – bring the tea to the water; Green tea – bring the water to the tea.”

If you want to quickly develop the “sense” of water temperature that Jenny mentioned you need only follow a few simple guidelines. Below I’ve posted some info from our company’s website. It’ll make it almost effortless for those who want to be able to simply glance at the water and know it’s temperature. Hope it helps and happy steeping! (For more info about tea go to www.tea-addiction.com and click on the “Tea Novice” tab. There are also some general questions answered on our “FAQ” page.)

Tricks for Knowing Water Temperature Without a Thermometer

160-170 degrees F: Light to moderate amount of steam rising from the water. No bubbles will be present.

170-180 degrees F: Column of steam steadily rising. There will be tiny bubbles forming on the bottom of the pan.

180-190 degrees F: Many bubbles will appear and seem to dance across the bottom of the pot. A few tiny ones will begin to rise to the surface of the water.

190-200 degrees F: You’ll see strands of bubbles extending from the bottom of the pot to the surface of the water.

200-212 degrees F: This will be a full boil. The surface of the water will be very active.

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Spot52 select said

There is no one perfect way to steep tea. You will have to play around with it, and see what actually suits you. I have played around with different guidelines, and this is the one I prefer:
http://www.chicagoteagarden.com/steeping-tips

If a tea doesn’t taste right, monkey around with the parameters. I know at http://www.teachat.com/ people often request advice on parameters, if they are not getting the flavour they want. Just have fun with it.

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IdentiTEA said

Another piece of advice would be to stay away from teachat.com. Those people WILL attack you for not knowing enough. They have some type of weird high school mentality clique going on over there… like if you are not in their group they could care less about your posts. It sucks because it used to be a very nice forum

Spot52 select said

I wanted to PM you about something. Would you follow me so that I can? It isn’t anything bad or nasty, I promise.

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I have found that putting a pot on to boil and taking it off the second it whistles and letting it sit for a few minutes makes a water temp that is do-able for most tea.
Most folks starting out don’t want to hear intimidating things, like having to use a thermometer. The main thing for me is to convey using a timer that you can hear and pay attention to. I will invariably oversteep and have to drink bitter tea (or add milk). I get distracted while waiting for tea to steep.

Just wait till you expand your use of tea into your culinary skills. Then tea really gets exciting.

Teachat has plenty to offer education-wise. I read there quite often.

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