A good teapot can be hard to find. Along with aesthetics, you’ll want a good pourer and one that keeps the heat in for as long as possible. Depending on what kind of tea drinker you are, there are several other things to take into account; green tea calls for quite a different pot than your everyday cuppa.

For a guide to teapots, look no further…

Tea Pot History

Pottery from China caused a sensation when the English first saw it – the quality was far superior to any European equivalent. Hence they named it ‘china’, and the name remains to this day. The first teapots came from China, the home of tea, and were introduced to Europe in the 17th century. They tended to be small individual pots, with tiny matching cups. These days you can buy any kind of teapot imaginable, from novelty china pots to elegant silver or even cheap aluminium. But what makes an indispensable teapot?

Choosing Your Tea Pot

The ‘fat old brown betty’ pot is found in most homes, and is used many times a day. It’s a functional teapot – the dark colour won’t show staining from the tannin and the rounded shape gives the leaves space to swirl around and release their flavor. When choosing a pot for everyday black tea, consider these points:

• Does it look appealing? Half of the comforting aspect of drinking tea is in the sight of a favorite pot, with it’s plump curves and solid lines.

• Tap the pot with your finger. The clay should be bright and hard as possible, and the harder clay will produce a sharper tapping sound.

• Check the fit of the lid. A clay pot will have a vent on the lid – which should fit so tightly that when you cover the vent no liquid will pour from the spout.

• Of course, the flow from the spout is of ultimate importance, what’s worse than a dribbling teapot! Unfortunately it’s not usually practical to test a pot with liquid before you buy it. Check that the top of the spout is level with the top of the pot. More oval shaped spouts are less likely to drip than rounded ones.

• The handle should also be well positioned so that when you lift the pot full of tea there is not too much strain on the wrist. The handle should be wide enough that your knuckles don’t get burnt against the pot, and there should be enough distance between the spout and the top that the hand holding the lid steady should not be scalded with steam.

You may well find you accumulate quite a collection of different teapots in your search for the perfect one!

Corinne Waldon writes many tea related articles for The Tea Spot - Chai Tea and More.