I’m a new student to the art of making tea. I’ve been reading whatever I can get my hands on including past forums here, very interesting opinions and knowledge here. In short I’d like to purchase a teapot that will last me a good year until I will want to invest again. Is Pyrex and stainless steel a good first purchase to get me started? Is steeping in a teapot and better than pouring boiling water over my teaball and steeping?
Uniware Pyrex Heat resistant Glass Kettle Tea Pot 800ml NEW!
I value the purist mentality and the pursuit of perfection. I’m happy to cry once when purchasing something that will last. I would like a versatile option since I’m new and experimenting with various teas. Having something with a built in stainless steel strainer seems logical and convenient.
I far prefer “built-in” infusers over teaballs – usually less escaping pieces and floaties, also quite easy to remove. I would suggest you make sure that the lid of the teapot can be put back on once the infuser is out (one of mine doesn’t work that way – means your tea either gets over-infused or really cold). Assuming I’ve found the model you’re talking about, this looks to have the same problem, because the lid fits into the infuser, not the pot itself. (http://www.amazon.com/Uniware-Pyrex-resistant-Glass-Kettle/dp/B004MH2Q8G)
Glass cools off more quickly than most (all?) other teapot materials, but for me that isn’t a problem. Plus, the fact that can theoretically sit on a burner is pretty cool, so you could reheat tea if it cooled off. I like to watch my tea steep, so glass is lovely! If you’re willing to go a different route, DavidsTea’s bubble teapots are quite nice and don’t have the lid/infuser issues I meantioned above. I’ve also heard many good things about ForLife teapots as they have good infusers.
Finally, if you’re making tea for one, you might consider a mug with an infuser like the Kati Cup, Bodum cup with infuser or Perfect Tea Cup from Davids – I use mine at work because I don’t want to bother with cleaning a teapot, but still want looseleaf.
PS – Sorry to recommend so many Davids’ products, they’re my “local” so they’re what I see the most.
Glass is certainly one of the most versatile materials. Very easy to maintain too. As Uniquity says, a great advantage is that you enjoy watching your favourite tea infuse. It is also a good way to learn. You can observe how different teas ‘behave’ over multiple infusions and learn to understand what brewing times yield brews that you will enjoy.
Unless you need a big pot try and avoid buying one that is excessively big. Typically 400ml is good for an individual and when you will have a friend for tea.
A teapot is a huge leap forward verses a tea ball – IMHO.
The other good value for money is one of the Piao Yi cups / Gongfu one press cups. They can be bought in a range of sizes to suit your needs and are widely available.
im going for a glass teapot too! does that mean im a purist ^^
Stainless steel mesh strainers certainly have the virtue of being “neat”. They keep leaves from pouring out the spout and make clean up easy. But they are hardly “purist”. A simple teapot is the most “pure” way you can go. Not having a mesh insert also has the practical result of letting tea leaves circulate better, move up and down and allow more of the leaf surface become exposed to the water instead of being confined within the volume of the strainer. Especially if the mesh insert is, as often the case, small. And then, aesthicallly, when you open the lid, you can look at and see what the leaves look like fully open. That’s especially true with better Oolongs where you will see the full leaves attached to the stem. The color and variation of the fully opened leaves tells you a lot about the tea, and is often just part of the experience to look at. Better Assams Ceylons and Darjeelings will also have fairly large leaf pieces.
I have several glass tea pots and enjoy watching the leaves open with each brewing. Most glass teapots these days are made of borosilicate glass rather than Pyrex. When most people think of Pyrex, they are thinking about the oven ware of their mother or grandmother’s time. But some years ago the formula for Pyrex was changed and it is now made using soda lime glass, which is less expensive to produce than borosilicate. That’s led to many reports of Pyrex dishes shattering when taken out of the oven and put on cool surfaces. If you choose a glass teapot, I’d advise you to look for borosilicate.
Remember too that porcelain (or china) is a fine “purist” choice which doesn’t retain flavors and can be cleaned to allow you to use many different types of teas.
wow, great tips Foolongthehill!
i want to just let them unfurl in the pot too but how do you fish the loose leaves out after steeping?
Couldn’t you just strain them after?
Before bought a teapot and variable temperature kettle, I used a food thermometer to check the heat of the water and then I would steep the tea right in the pan. After that I used a strainer to catch the leaves as I poured the tea into mugs.
Best way is with a flat, bent bamboo tool made just for that purpose. It scoops and scrapes the leaves out without harming the inside of even your most beloved Yixing clay pot. In fact, you can buy a full set of bamboo tea tools very inexpensively. A set is usually comprised of a tea scooper, a thin pointed tool for poking leaves out of the spout or strainer and that bent flat piece. Some will also come with a long bamboo tweezers. But the only ones I ever use are the dry leaf scooper to get the perfect portion of leaves and the scrapper tool when I’m done.
Sounds tedious… is it?
No, takes 2 seconds. After I’ve finished my morning tea I usually just turn the teapot over and dump the leaves out. Oolong leaves are fully opened and most simply fall right out of the pot. It’s only a few broken pieces at the bottom that may stick to the inside of a Yixing teapot. Sometimes I just rinse them out in the sink, other times I give two or three quick scrapes first then quickly rinse the pot.
It depends what you mean by “purist.” I just received my first personal 120 ml gaiwan in the mail last night and am loving it with the Tieguanyin sample they included with it and a Dragonwell I had lying around. Like Foolongthehill said, you want something where the leaves have some room to expand. From what I read, the gaiwan is the most popular way to brew tea in China today. I’ve never been to China, so this is all heresay. But that probably gets some “purist” points. No strainer needed.
I just bought a great one here http://www.yunnansourcing.us/store/category.php?id_category=8014745
Can I have your autograph? :)
Yssah, when I got my kettle, I bought one with a warming tray and a clear glass teapot with a mesh strainer. Turns out the strainer is too small to let the leaf ‘dance’ and the tea pot is too big – I think it is 1.8L. I also never use the warming tray. At most I make 16oz of tea at a time and usually 10 – 12. For me the Bodum 4 cup French Press I got from Starbucks is perfect. The leaf is free to move and I can watch it. The reason I am commenting though is on the pouring and clean up. Though some teas require a lot of effort in straining and clean up, the majority I can pour slowly without straining and turning the pot upside down afterwards makes most of the leaf fall out. Then just wipe out the rest. It really isn’t that hard or messy. I thought about getting a small actual teapot but I would miss watching the leaf.
If you get glass, be sure it is borosilicate glass so it will be less prone to breakage! Taiwan has some great glass pieces, but you can find good ones from a lot of companies.
Not sure what you mean by “purist”. For example, I’m a tea purist in the sense that I don’t drink flavored teas, drink mostly loose leaf when possible, and I use the appropriate teapots, cups, bowls, etc., for my teas, which are mostly Japanese.
I’m similarly confused…I tend towards Japanese traditional teaware, and rarely drink flavored teas (though I do use tisanes) and what flavored and scented teas I enjoy are often traditionally “tried and true” blends.(could go on about the specifics of the few times I use cream and/or honey or sugar)