Someone PLEASE tell me why I would ever want a pushbutton teapot???

Hey folks! Just joined today. I’m hoping you can shed some light on this topic. A friend gave me a teapot for my birthday a few years ago that I promptly shelved because i couldn’t make left or right of it. Not to mention, I was already very happy with my ceramic pot with the removable diffuser (purchased for a whopping $11 at a boutique-y type tea store in Sebastopol, CA) years before.

Recently, I broke my ceramic teapot. My god. I thought I’d have that thing FOREVER. It was nothing special. Just white. But it was pretty, and it cleaned up real good still.

My ceramic Fiesta teapot has no diffuser, so the only other option was to pull down my friend’s gift and try to put it to use.

I have tea every day, and sometimes quite a bit of it. I have two thermoses and 1 mug that I refill almost every day. My broken ceramic teapot, when filled twice, would perfectly fill my thermoses and mug. This little glass teapot fills HALF of my larger thermos, and that’s not the worst of it.

Here’s what you have to do: You boil your water in your kettle. You put your tea in the diffuser in the glass teapot. The diffuser is in a cup. You pour water into the diffuser and close the lid. Then you let it steep for a little bit. THEN you push the button and about half a cup of tea trickles into the teapot.

Am I supposed to stand there for 20 minutes diffusing 1/2 cups of tea at a time into this pot, just so I can fill HALF of my thermos?

I’m so out on this thing, I’m ready to chuck it in the trash.

What am I not getting?!?

26 Replies
Babble said

Different tea infusers are made for different purposes. Pushpots are better gongfu sessions or brewing smaller amounts of tea.

If you want to brew a LOT of tea at once and fill your thermos in one session, you might want to look into the large gravity infusers (like the 32 oz version of the Ingenuitea).

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Thank you, Rachel! My husband is buying me one for Christmas and i am honestly a little concerned it won’t be big enough… He had his eye on a beautiful cast iron pot but it was rather small! Guess i should take up woodworking so i can build a shelf for my inevitable growing teapot collection!

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These are very popular in Taiwanese tea shops, both selling them and brewing tea samples for customers. The Chinese customarily brew many smaller infusions of especially Oolong tea. With each brewing the flavor, aroma and color of the tea changes, and you can watch as the leaves open more with each brewing. The smaller capacity of these convenient little glass and special plastic brewers are perfect for brewing tea when formality is not required. And besides timing each brew (often very short, like 30 seconds to start), you can push the button exactly when you like. I actually have several of them.

If you’re primarily drinking black or Darjeeling even Japanese teas, you’ll probably find them frustrating and not much purpose. BTW, though, lift and tilt the brewer with the button pressed and a few more sips of tea will come out.

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Thanks for the information. I mainly only drink oolong tea. I guess my biggest problem is that my morning tea making ritual has been grossly compromised because I can’t just get it done quickly with this pushbutton pot. The brewer is so small. It’s barely half a cup. I would usually steep the first brew for 2 minutes, then the second brew would steep until I was ready to go to work. waaah. I’ll stop crying now. Seriously though – thanks for all the information, everyone!

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One of the great things about tea is that there are so many flavors and types for different tastes, needs and moods. There are certainly mornings when I don’t have the time or inclination to sit through 5 brewings of Oolong or Pu-erh in a fine pot; or when I’m late (or hung over), so I dump a teaspoon of some Irish Breakfast leaves in a Brown Betty and let it sit 3 -5 minutes while I finish dressing and then drink it headed out the door or in a mug in the car.

Save the push button pot for a weekend when you want to explore a special Oolong. Try one that wants to start with a 30 second or 1 minute brewing and watch how changes color and aroma and taste over several brewings adding 10 -15 seconds each time; and how the leaves open and eventually fill the brewer as it does. Even better, do it with a tea friend or two and pour each small brewing between two or three tiny 1 oz Chinese tea cups.

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I love it! And I’m so close to being out of oolong. Maybe you can help (or maybe I’ll just post a new discussion), but I have been buying aged oolong in the search for more robust flavors. I am finding that my oolongs are sometimes no better than just hot, mildly flavored water, even after a hefty steeping.

Maybe oolong isn’t the tea for me. I don’t like bitter, but I like full-bodied and rich. I don’t add anything to it, either.

As for black tea, I LOVE black teas, but the caffeine is way too strong for me now. I switched from only drinking Assam or English/Irish breakfast for years to only drinking greens, oolongs, etc. I don’t enjoy black tea without milk and sugar, yet I wanted to give up the milk and sugar habit, which is why i switched from black. So now, I have one, MAYBE two cups of black on the weekend, but any more than that, and I feel gross.

I like the oolong brewing with a friend. Sounds so nice. :)

Uniquity said

I was going to recommend black tea until I saw your note about caffeine. Maybe a roasted oolong could be a good compromise, but I don’t know if it would help on the caffeine front. Good luck!

ps – Have you tried any Chinese blacks? They tend to be richly flavoured but not bitter the way assams can be.

Thanks, Uniquity. For whatever reason, oolong caffeine does not affect me the way black caffeine does. I have never tried a Chinese black… very curious now. Do you have one you love?

Uniquity said

Some of my favourite blacks include Teavivre’s Black Pearls and Bailin Gongfu as well as Davids Tea’s Wild Yunnan Black. The pearls in particular have some maltiness but aren’t bitter at all. Another trick can be to steep black tea for 2 to 3 minutes to avoid bitterness but still maximize flavour. If you haven’t tried Teavivre, they do a free tea tasting activity where you can get samples. Worth a shot!

AJ said

Yes! I second China blacks. Yunnans especially (like Teavivre’s Black Pearls) are deliciously rich. They’re malty, sometimes peppery, but so smooth. Some are borderline sweet (Davids’ Wild Yunnan Black). Also look into Hunan blacks.

“Oolong” is a very large, umbrella of teas. They range from almost-green to almost-black, so I’d say try a darker oolong (Teavivre’s got many), or a roasted one. I particularly love some dan cong oolongs (though some can be bitter), as well as roasted oolongs.

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When you say “aged oolong” I’m not quite sure I know what you mean, Stephanie. If you like a robust flavor you should try a more darkly roasted oolong. The dark brown oolongs haven’t usually been aged but roasted or baked longer than the green teas. Roasting changes the color of the unbrewed leaves from jade green to light or dark brown and the brew from a pale yellow to orange color. I find the darker oolongs to be more robust, warmer and mellower with a very different set of flavors from the sweeter, spring flowery green oolongs. I tend to drink dark oolongs in the Fall and Winter and switch over to green in the Spring (or when I’m sick of the winter and trying to rush Spring along).

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p.s. Try a Houjicha, which is a Japanese green tea which has been roasted similarly (but by a different method) to dark oolongs. It’s lower in caffeine but has a mellower, sweeter and less vegetal taste than green bancha or sencha. I often think of it as being like a dark oolong-lite and drink it in the evening or when I feel as if I’ve already had enough caffeine for the day.

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I think I may still have some hojicha in my cupboard. Time to do some spring cleaning! I don’t need to worry about the caffeine levels in oolong or other green teas, thankfully. Just the blacks.

I’ll look at the darker roasted oolongs and give a couple of those a try. I have been buying from Ten Ren tea company, but I’m not married to them, so if you recommend a particular company/brand, let me know!

Uniquity said

Verdant’s Big Red Robe (actually and Teavivre’s Big Red Robe) are both good roasted oolongs. : )

tperez said

I’ve had some really good high quality samples from Nuvola Tea and Tea From Taiwan.

I also really like the teas I’ve got from the Mountain Tea. Affordable, good quality (I wouldn’t say the best, but nice and fresh). They also have quick shipping and nice packaging. I sound like a commercial lol

I always hear good things about EVERYTHING from Verdant, but I’m a bit of a penny-pincher so I haven’t tried them out yet.

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Actually I like Ten Ren, it’s where I started my Oolong journey years ago. I still go in sometimes for a Winter or Spring Green Oolong. If you can, go one of their retail stores and ask to sniff the tea in their large cannisters before picking something. Start with a small amount, like a quarter pound, of one of their First or Second grade dark oolongs or a dark tie kwan yin from the cannister. Often they have something brewed to taste or after they’ve seen you a number of times will brew something up for you to try (in one of those push button brewers!). I rarely buy any of their prepackaged teas unless it’s a newly released Winter or Spring tea that has just come out in one of their yearly commemorative tins.

If you’re buying on line, try RedBlossom in San Francisco, they’re my new favorite on line retailer

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