Definition according to the dictionary of the Spanish language (Spanish Royal Academy): Metal, earthenware, porcelain or clay pot, with a lid and a spout provided with an interior or exterior strainer, which is used to make and serve tea.
Definition according to the Oxford english dictionaries: A pot with a handle, spout, and lid, in which tea is brewed and from which it is poured.
The teapot as an object
The teapot is tied to tea, and more than tea, it is tied, to the way of drinking tea. The teapot as we understand it today, has its origins around 1500 AD in China, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), motivated by the important change in the way of processing the leaf and drinking tea. There are historians who show evidence of teapots found during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
Before the teapot, prior to the Ming Dynasty, there was a type of jug called “shui zhu” and dating from the Western Zhou period (1046-791 BC). This item was only used to serve hot water for tea preparation and also to serve wines and spirits. Widely used during the Song Dynasty for the preparation of powdered green tea, very popular during this period. During the Ming Dynasty, the Jingdezhen porcelain teapots appear, the Yixing teapots “zisha clay teapots”, the export of teapots to Japan, … During and after the Ming Dynasty tea evolves and consequently so do the teapots, but already within the concept of what we understand today by teapot.
The list of materials used in teapots can be very long; ceramic (stoneware, porcelain, …), glass, metal (iron, silver, copper, brass, …), plastic, …
Usually people buy a kettle based on personal taste. But it is evident that the material has an effect on the result of tea preparation. The preparation in the teapot will depend on the tea we prepare and the control of the preparation itself. I personally like ceramic teapots a lot, but I also like to use other types of teapots.
The material affects the function that we ask the teapot. If we want to see the color of the infusion, as the leaves are opened, the glass allows us this function and it is very useful to have a good control of the process. But on the other hand we have to take into account that this material loses temperature more quickly than other materials such as ceramics . Another example of how the material affects the infusion is porosity. In ceramic and cast iron teapots, the surface is porous (provided they are untreated or the surfaces are enameled). Now, how porosity affects the preparation result deserves another whole chapter. Other materials like silver are also well known for their effects on water.
I have always thought that the small details in which we do not devote much attention, are the cause of the result being from bad to good, from good to excellent or vice versa.
When someone makes use of a kettle that has been bought or that they have at home, we are taking the “trick” as we use it. Correcting variables such as the amount of tea, the infusion time, the water temperature, … Variables, which in many cases are altered by the material of the teapot, but without realizing it.
Have you ever wondered which is the best kettle? I guess so. Especially who likes tea very much. We should first define a few concepts to reach a consensus that we understand by . Among these concepts would be that of tea preparation.
How can we compare teapots if the preparation is different? For example, whoever uses a Moroccan samovar or , the tea preparation process will be completely different and the comparison of which teapot is better sterile
Since I have mentioned the Samovar, I am going to leave you with a short description of this fascinating object. Tea in Russia came from the hand of the Mongols. But the Russians were already using samovar long before tea entered. The samovar was used to make other infusions and thus make the cold end of this country more bearable. The samovar as an object consists of a container (main body) with a tap at the bottom and a vertical chimney that runs through this main body. The chimney, or vertical tube, is used to put the coal and heat the water that is located in its main body. At the top of this container is a kettle filled with water and tea leaves. The charcoal and hot water from the bottom heat the kettle and the water from the top, thus preparing the infusion. The resulting infusion is usually very strong, called “Savarkar”. When served in a glass, this concentrated infusion is diluted with the hot water that we find in the main body of the samovar through the tap that I have mentioned.