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Richard Kilgore

What's your favorite teapot?

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We seem to have acquired a collection of teapots that people have given us and that have come and gone, most of them useless, but until recently there was always at least one that was adequate, and the spout of that one broke yesterday, so for the first time, I'm actually going to be shopping for a decent teapot.

The one that broke was made in China, but I think of it as a basic English-style teapot with a handle, a lid, and a spout and holes in the inside where the spout meets the body of the pot to keep most of the tea leaves in. It made about 2-3 cups.

The ones that remain are impractical.

One is a very large Italian teapot with no holes inside to filter out the tea leaves, and the spout is fairly low, so one can't decant either, and the hole on top is a bit narrow, so it isn't easy to clean. I think it was a wedding present, so it's been gathering dust for 9 years.

The other was made by a ceramic artist who seems to have specialized in unusable teapots. My parents used to run a small gallery many years ago and sold some of her work. One pot she made, I recall, was very tall and narrow, so it seemed like it would cool rapidly and was in danger of tipping over, if someone had actually tried to make tea in it. The one I have is wide and very low, with no holes insidee, and about a one inch hole on top with a kind of ceramic stopper, so it is both difficult to fill and impossible to clean.

After reading the advice here, I think I'll look for a gaiwan.


Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)

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Sorry to hear about your teapot, David. A gaiwan may or may not be a good alternative for you. They are great for gongfu style brewing of Chinese teas, and you could use one for Japanese greens in a pinch. Or make one cup of tea kinda-sorta western style. But those over about 150 ml become increasingly difficult to handle, and that's only a little over 5 ounces.

Another alternative would be a new Brown Betty. You can find them by googling and on eBay, but they have had some crazing problems, and I am not sure that has been resolved. And no filter built into the spout. If you choose that route, I would suggest buying from a local shop or a trusted web busines who you are sure will stand about the teapot. Ask them about the crazing issue.

Probably better would be an old Brown Betty made by Sadler or another Stratfordshire pottery maker, 1970s or earlier. Most have a filter in the spout. Kerry Beal has turned me into a Brown Betty accumulator. Check out eBay and estate sales.

Let us know what you end up with and how you like it.

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After some gentle nudging from this forum, I am now the proud owner a several gaiwans, a small clay teapot (don't know how I'd know if it is yixing or not, given that it was pretty cheap, probably not?), and am going to practice with my favorite ti kuan yin (just found it in abundance at Wing Hop Fung today, yay!), and prepare for the Taiwan Oolong tasting a little later.

Pics to come, right now they're drying off after a first quick wash (fingers tap-tap-tapping as I wait).

How can I tell if my little clay teapot is Yixing ware?

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My favorite would be any teapot made in Staffordshire, England. But I am talking traditional English hot tea.

Which prompts me to add that I cannot drink that same traditional tea (with milk, usually) out of anything other than an English bone china cup.

I have to declare an interest though. I was born in Staffordshire and spent 24 of my early working years selling Wedgwood and other fine china.

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My favorite would be any teapot made in Staffordshire, England. But I am talking traditional English hot tea.

Which prompts me to add that I cannot drink that same traditional tea (with milk, usually) out of anything other than an English bone china cup.

I have to declare an interest though. I was born in Staffordshire and spent 24 of my early working years selling Wedgwood and other fine china.

I know Tony and Tony even drinks coffee out of fine English bone china...but not your grandmother's cup.

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I just bought 3 porcelain teapots at a restaurant auction here in Philly last weekend. At about $6 apiece they were a bargain. I'll be saving them for gifting as part of a tea basket with the pot, a tea ball and a selection of loose teas for last minute hostess gifts and the like...

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I don't know how I missed this topic the first time around.  Ah, I see it was in August '09 when I was at a convention in AZ and followed that up with a jaunt to NM to see my dad. 

 

I have a collection of teapots and 95% are the vintage ones that had the built-in strainers, perforations in the body of the pot where the spout attaches.  That was one criteria when I was collecting, beginning in the 1960s.  

I believe the best American made teapots to be those produced by HALL CHINA.  They produced numerous shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. 

Something for every taste.  And they hold up well.  Many that were shaped so that the perforations were not practical, had a ceramic infuser to hold the tea leaves.  

I also have a number of teapots from England. A Coalport is the oldest, also Royal Worcester, Wedgwood, Arthur Wood, Johnson Brothers, Tuscan, and of course SADLER - most of my English teapots are vintage Sadler and if I had to pick a favorite, of my ceramic teapots, this Sadler from the Art Deco era would be the one. It is large, 8-cup capacity.  ca. late 1920s.

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I have a Coalport - packed away right now - made in 1888, India Tree - that goes with the set of china that was my great grandmother's.  I had an older Wedgwood teapot from the Regency period.  It was an unusual shape and had strawberries on it.  It too was destroyed in the '94 earthquake.

 

My oldest teapot is this Copper with rosewood handle, made by Gorham in 1881 and by far the most valuable.  It originally had a stand with a "spirit lamp" but that was crushed in the '94 earthquake - the pot rolled away from the bookcase and suffered only a tiny dent.  It belonged to my great-grandmother and was left to me so it has been in my possession since I was ten.  It is my favorite of my metal teapots.  It has a tin lining and the perforations that keeps the tea leaves in the pot. However, a good hostess would always use a strainer over the cup when pouring.

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The Coalport India Tree polychrome.

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This is the Wedgwood teapot from around 1810 that was one of the ones I lost in the earthquake. 

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Edited by andiesenji (log)
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Isn't it interesting that teapots seem to be timeless?  Those that were made in the 18th century or even earlier, would look just fine on tables of today. They haven't changed that much and many have been kept in such good condition that they look almost new.  And in fact, from time to time a collector will find a new one, never used and in the original box.  

Sometimes they were wedding presents to people who did not drink tea and were put away for years or even decades. 

A while back, someone on the Hall China Facebook page found several brand new teapots from the 1920s, as pristine as the day they left the factory.

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I have only one teapot, and it probably isn't worth any money, but it is worth a lot to me. It's one of the things my stepmother gave me before she passed, when she and everyone else knew that was imminent. So it is very special to me.

 

It's marked on the bottom of the glazed inside and out white ceramic piece "copyright (symbol) 1992, CBK Ltd., Taiwan. I just measured the capacity, and it holds a little under five cups or about a liter. There is an embossed bow at the top of where the handle joins the body of the pot, and English ivy vines are also embossed (raised) twined around the circumference of the pot and barely extend onto the graceful spout a little. The piece is mostly white, with three colors for the embossing. The leaves of the ivy are green, the vines brown, the bow a very light gray. It deviates from nature by having something that looks like small blackberries or raspberries attached to the ivy vine. These berry things are also rendered in brown. It seems to work in spite of this because I find it graceful and very pleasing to my eye. I don't use it much, as I don't have company for tea anymore. It does have a design feature where there is notch cut into where the pot accepts the lid so you can carefully fit one of the two ears on the lid under the opposite rim of the opening in the pot and again, carefully drop the other ear into the notch. When you turn the lid 45 degrees it is very secure, and held by the ears under the rim of the opening of the pot, so no chance of it coming loose and getting broken during pouring.

 

I prefer to brew my personal tea directly in a ceramic mug, again glazed inside and out with a hand painted pattern on the outside in Wisteria vines in flower. It's marked on the bottom "Wisteria dinnerware, 2004 Heritage Mint, Ltd., Scottsdale, AZ, USA, made in China". I know this one's not worth anything, because I bought it at Dollar General. I still find it pleasing, and have several other pieces in the same pattern. The mug holds a half liter, so it is much bigger than many of the teapots upthread. I preheat it with boiling water, and brew my tea directly in it with a non-matching salad plate on top to hold the heat. And yes, I drink the entire cup at one go.

 

I felt intimidated by some of the beautiful Asian teaware I was unfamiliar with. I was afraid to post about mine until andiesenjie posted some more normal (to me) teaware like I grew up with, but not Wedgewood or anything really expensive.

 

I know I would have much to learn if I were to be invited to a Japanese tea ceremony, and mine may be a redneck way of brewing tea, but it works just fine for me. xD 

 

 

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I don't have a teapot. :(

I'd like to find a small affordable white one of good quality.

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10 hours ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

I have only one teapot, and it probably isn't worth any money, but it is worth a lot to me. It's one of the things my stepmother gave me before she passed, when she and everyone else knew that was imminent. So it is very special to me.

 

I felt intimidated by some of the beautiful Asian teaware I was unfamiliar with. I was afraid to post about mine until andiesenjie posted some more normal (to me) teaware like I grew up with, but not Wedgewood or anything really expensive.

 

I know I would have much to learn if I were to be invited to a Japanese tea ceremony, and mine may be a redneck way of brewing tea, but it works just fine for me. xD 

 

 

Never feel intimidated by loving something that has meaning for you.  I have a small redware, Made in Japan teapot that was sold in dime stores in the late '40s and '50s, for less than a dollar, probably 59¢. It is precious to me because it was a gift from a very dear friend whose memory I cherish. I doubt if it is worth more than $10.00, far less than new teapots that have far less charm. There were millions imported to the U.S., first from "Occupied Japan" and then after the occupation ended with tariff concession which the U.S. used to get Japan manufacturing back on its feet.

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I attended a Japanese tea ceremony and in this it is the PERFORMANCE of the various acts which are to be viewed and enjoyed and not the tea drinking itself.

Frankly, I did not care much for the tea itself.  I like matcha but the way I prepare it is somewhat different.

 

Choosing a way to brew tea to you satisfaction is a matter of personal choice.  I had a friend back in the '80s and '90s who had never drunk tea at all, not even iced tea, until he spent nearly a year in Ireland, attempting to write a novel (1991 he had just retired).

He returned totally hooked on the stuff and really liked it STRONG as the Irish do.  He asked me to help him choose a method of brewing that would get the result he wanted (absolutely no teabags)  so I lent him some teapots and helped him choose an electric teakettle (Russell Hobbs).

After a few weeks of experimentation, he chose the larger Bodum glass teapot that works like a French press.  It was perfect for his needs and he was able to re-steep the leaves.
I gave him samples of some of my favorite teas so he wouldn't waste money buying stuff he didn't like and he settled on a couple of Assams and a Tiger Hill Nilgiri - blended together for his "perfect" brew.

He liked a BIG mug so I gave him a 20 ounce ironstone mug that I think was intended for use as a beer stein.  It was indestructible.

Billy passed a few years ago and his sister got in touch to tell me she had been reading our emails and wanted to thank me for helping Billy through a "hard time."  I had no idea that during all that time, he was coping with AIDS contracted via a transfusion during surgery for a work injury in the late '80s. He was a civil engineer and was doing an inspection on a bridge when he fell.  

They still make that same teapot, although it is just a bit more costly.  For anyone who does not want to fiddle with strainers and such for regular teapots, but still want's something attractive and effective, this is the way to go.

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2 hours ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

I don't have a teapot. :(

I'd like to find a small affordable white one of good quality.

Many people prefer the Chatsford stoneware teapots because they hold heat better than china or porcelain.

 

RSVP  makes one that is dishwasher and microwave safe - many teapots should not go into the microwave.

 

I have given several people this teapot from Adagio, along with a selection of teas and everyone has said that they love it. They feel it is the perfect size (24 oz) and the recessed finial means it does not get knocked off.  It's inexpensive, practical but not bright white, it is more of an ivory.

It too is dishwasher and microwave safe.  

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11 minutes ago, andiesenji said:

Many people prefer the Chatsford stoneware teapots because they hold heat better than china or porcelain.

 

RSVP  makes one that is dishwasher and microwave safe - many teapots should not go into the microwave.

 

I have given several people this teapot from Adagio, along with a selection of teas and everyone has said that they love it. They feel it is the perfect size (24 oz) and the recessed finial means it does not get knocked off.  It's inexpensive, practical but not bright white, it is more of an ivory.

It too is dishwasher and microwave safe.  

 

Thanks @andiesenji :)

 

ETA: I do prefer bright white or even black, I do have some nice black cups left.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)

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3 hours ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

 

Thanks @andiesenji :)

 

ETA: I do prefer bright white or even black, I do have some nice black cups left.

 

Ah.  Black is stunning.  Bed, Bath & B  have the Mason Cash teapots in black with an infuser.  I saw it on their web site after I got an email with a gorgeous Polish pottery teapot.  On that page there was a shiny dark purple teapot and that had a line to the Mason Cash black beauty.  

I told myself I really don't NEED a purple teapot but I am certainly hankering for it.

I do have a couple of black teapots - one is a Japanese tetsubin, cast iron with a bright turquoise enamel lining - and an infuser.  

The other is a Hall China "Star" teapot in unadorned black. Made the year I was born 1939.  It seems to have been a one-off. There were quite a few with the stylized "logo" for the 1939 World's fair made, mostly in cobalt, but the plain black seems to be quite rare.  

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9 hours ago, andiesenji said:

unadorned

 

That's what I prefer. Plain and simple suits me fine!

Thanks again! :)

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I've been doing some more searching and reading some teapot reviews:

"I left my tea leaves soaked in it a little over two weeks not intentionally...when I did realized...I thought I was going to have to throw it all out...but to my surprise the tea tasted fresh as ever...just a little darker from being soaked that long" blink.gif

 

This little teapot looks cute and it gets good reviews.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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7 hours ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

I've been doing some more searching and reading some teapot reviews:

"I left my tea leaves soaked in it a little over two weeks not intentionally...when I did realized...I thought I was going to have to throw it all out...but to my surprise the tea tasted fresh as ever...just a little darker from being soaked that long" blink.gif

 

This little teapot looks cute and it gets good reviews.

 

They are very nice teapots. I did not realize they were now on Amazon. I buy quite a bit from the English Tea Store - they offer free shipping twice a year - I subscribe to their email.  Actually I thought they only had larger teapots.  This one looks perfect.  

Actually I got their email at 5:12 this morning with a teapot sale!  And right there on the main page is a black teapot.  (There is also a dark brown Brown Betty and some others that are of interest to me).  I buy from them for my tea-gifting baskets, i.e. honey sticks, tea wallets, printed tea towels and "British food"


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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I was sorting through photos on my hard drive and came across pictures of the hand made, hand painted celadon tea pot and tea cups that my wife and I got on our honeymoon in Thailand - we visited a celadon factory in Chiang Mai, watched the artisans hand craft everything and then toured their shop.  Their quality is amazing - but we have only used the tea set once or twice because I'm so afraid of damaging them while washing them....

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@KennethT

 

Im not that much of a tea person now

 

more  a home roaster and espresso person

 

what you've shown us above

 

is really outstanding

 

congratulations.

 

Id certainly use the cups

 

and based on the Elephants snout

 

make your tea in a different way

 

and pretend it came from That Elephant.

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