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Teapot questions--possibly a search

Hi Steepsterites! I have a couple of teapot-related questions.

I recently was gifted with a beautiful tea set that included a ceramic pot and four small cups. I love it (especially since I contacted Kotobuki Trading and they informed me that all of their products comply with California Prop. 65 chemical standards—I am very wary about lead and other contaminants in dishware), but I haven’t used it much lately because of a rather irritating design feature. The style of the spout filter is such that the ball-shaped filter (is this what a ball-style spout filter is?) is convex and sticks into the main body of the pot, and the first holes begin about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch away from where the filter meets the pot. (I realize this is really hard to describe, but I’m trying.) The issue is that when I make tea in this pot and then pour it out after it steeps, the last bit of water can’t make it out of the pot because it’s not high enough to escape through the filter holes. This water stays around and the leaves sort of sit around in it. To keep the leaves from sitting in the excess water, I’ve tilted the pot and put the lid under it to keep the water to one side. It’s kind of frustrating, though, and I would love to possibly get a pot that doesn’t filter like this—maybe one with a better-designed internal filter, maybe one with a removable basket.

I feel kind of bad for not using this pot, since it was a gift from my favorite aunt and uncle, but it’s sometimes challenging to use! I am considering giving it to a friend at school who might appreciate it more. I know that if I’m not happy while I’m using it, I won’t use it, and I want something that I enjoy using.

That was a little philosophical—onto my question. What are some suggestions for a simple, small (would be well-suited for 4-12 oz capacity), well-designed teapot? What materials should I consider? It’s important to me that I know for sure that the pot doesn’t have any questionable materials (lead glazes, other heavy metals, etc.) health-wise, since I’m really concerned about that. What are people’s favorite pots?

And is it ridiculous that I don’t really like my pretty teapot, or am I right to try to find something that works well for me?

16 Replies

I’m having a hard time imagining what you’re describing. Pictures?

Would you considered using an external filter so that you can just remove the leaves from the pot entirely? I’m thinking of something like this:
http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/473415125/Stainless_steel_Tea_filter.html

You can get whatever brand you like, of course. This is just an example of what I’m talking about. I have a similar stainless steel one from teavana that I use for my mugs and my teapot. Though I also have a couple of teapots that wouldn’t accommodate a filter like that because the hole is too small or the top is square shaped.

My favorite teapot is a glazed stoneware from Le Creuset:
http://lecreusetteapot.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/wpid-31b2B3PXm3ZLSL500.jpg

It’s not fancy, but it works for everything. It has no built in filter whatsoever, and that’s how I like it. I use my stainless steel filter basket and just take the leaves out when I’m done steeping. The spout and shape of the pot allows for easy water flow. The only complaint I have is that the spot drips, but I’d think that with this style of teapot, it is inevitable.

I have a smaller pot for gung fu style, but that’s it. I guess my teaware needs are pretty basic. :) I am looking for a gaiwan though…

Uniquity said

My teapot drops a bit at the spout as well. Drives me nuts but I’ve learned to love it. My teapot is as faulty as I am : )

Here’s a picture to better illustrate what I’m saying:
http://www.puerhshop.com/images/Basic_Pot_Filter.JPG
(I forgot I could put pictures in here.) These style filters probably work okay, but on mine the holes in the ball start too high up to allow all the water to drain.

These suggestions look good! I would LOVE something like my little Yixing, actually, except glazed…and I like all the things I’ve been seeing. I also may want a glass one, since I love seeing the color of the tea.

Hmm…that pot does look a bit annoying to use. Is it unglazed?

I always liked the look of a glass teapot, but they’re always so thin and delicate I’m afraid of breaking them. I like something sturdy looking. :)

Oh, and that’s not my pot…it’s just a random yixing I found a picture of that has the same style filter. The pot I got is glazed…

Uniquity said

One of my teapots is glass and has survived nearly two years of use just fine. I did manage to break one of my double walled mugs the other day though…That was a big mess.

Ooh. Double the shards, double the fun…sorry about that.

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Uniquity said

I have a number of different teapots, several of which I bought to suit my needs (tea for one or two versus tea for four or five) and the rest of which have been gifted to me. Over your tea drinking “career” you are likely to be gifted a lot of wonderful (and not so wonderful) things from well meaning friends and relatives. I appreciate it every time a friend picks something out for me, even if it doesn’t end up being to my taste – Sometimes that happens!

I would say you are very reasonable to look for a teapot that suits your needs, and maybe even keep your pretty teapot for special occasions, or gift it along if that is more appropriate. My standard teapot is now one I got from DavidsTea that holds a good amount for two people and has a deep metal infuser which allows me to fill the pot as much as I would like and still have water circulating around the leaves. (See here: http://www.davidstea.com/accessories/teapots-and-tea-sets/the-bubble-teapot) I’ve heard they are closely modeled on the ForLife teapots which I have seen and also think they look fabulous, as well as coming in different sizes.

What else? Oh! I also have a gaiwan which I purchased for $12 from a local tea shop that I like to use for unflavoured teas, and which I love using. It makes me feel very fancy – It is a lot of work though. I think as long as you consider your needs when buying a teapot, you’ll be fine!

unfeasible said

The Bubble teapot from DavidsTea is the one I use too. It’s so cute and pretty. The infuser is really well-built too. My last infuser (from a different style of teapot) just sort of fell apart after a while, but this one is really great.

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Bonnie said

I also have a few different size pots…16oz, 24oz used most often and a collection of other larger pots (some from long ago) with stainless baskets and finish with a 16 oz copco cup that my tea spot collapsible filter fits nicely in the top of and can be used to get the very last drop out of used tea leaves…then I drink out of the big cup…very handy I must say!

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Bonnie said

No offense but I think the previous advice is correct…in that it is easier to have a stainless basket that you can pull out at will for a lighter steep if you wish and also for ease of washing the pot. How on earth are you going to enjoy the whole process if you end up with bitter tea or digging out leaves caught in the grate. The pots that I have without basket inserts I just strain thru them externally and only brew rooibos or herbal tea. I know this is an opinionated view…trying to help in all sinserity.

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Thanks for the advice! I think I’m still going to go with the glass one with the tea brake. I talked to Garret and he said that people at Mandala really like them and haven’t had problems with them—and if I don’t care for the tea brake, I can always put a basket in there. I really like this one.

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Garret said

Hi!! The stainless steel tea brake is completely removable to enable easy cleaning. Using the tea brake, no leaves get caught in the spout of the tea pot. I have used many different pots for years and this small glass pot is one we use every day here at the shop and at home. Fortunately, we have another shipment coming in because we’re almost sold out again. We also have a similar pot in 10 ounce (not yet on website) and also a 16 ounce size. We buy them by the case load – all popular items.

I love my teapot! I’ve been brewing a coin of the pu’erh you sent me all day, and it’s been fantastic! The tea brake works really well—it doesn’t let anything out while somehow not impeding pouring, and it’s easily removable. I love watching the leaves unfurl in this beautiful little pot. It’s perfect!

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I recently acquired a teapot designed like the one you described. I really like it for green teas.
My advice for a better all round purpose tea is a Chatsford. I am including a link:
http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/item.asp?from=catalog.asp&itemID=AP22&begin=0&parent=Accessories%3ETeaware%3ETeapots&category=Chatsford&sortMethod=0&categoryID=88

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