The tea pot is steeped in world culture and ceramic history and is a symbol of ritual and refinement, gentility and warmth. A few with great significance in the history of tea come from those countries where tea traditions abound.
In Japan, all items necessary for the tea ceremony are among the most highly revered cultural objects. The Tetsubin pots, first crafted during the 18th century, are hand-cast by master artists using a traditional, century-old manufacturing process involving as many as 40 steps creating not only a perfect tea brewing vessel but also a highly regarded collectable. The designs and shapes of Tetsubin are beautifully simple and the cast iron used keeps hot for a very long time so that a warmer is hardly necessary.
In China, the Yixing (Pronounced EEE shing) teapots are thought to be superior to all types for brewing tea. The first Yixing teapot was handcrafted by a monk from Zisha clay and was functional and elegant. Zisha clay is the signature clay of Yixing, an area northwest of Shanghai, and is only found in China. It occurs naturally in three colors: light buff, cinnabar red and purplish brown, but other colors are created by mixing the three or adding mineral pigments. The majority of the Yixing pots are still shaped by hand and are fired in kilns to make them extremely durable but left unglazed to retain the natural porous qualities that absorb the flavor and aroma of tea so intensely that the Chinese dedicate one pot to just one type of tea. The legend is that that over time these pots will brew tea without adding leaves.
In England, tea has had an important role from international trade to daily social patterns for all classes. During the Victorian era, tea became a symbol of Britain’s greatest period of expansion and stability and every home owned a teapot even if it was a basic “Brown Betty.” The humble Brown Betty teapot has long been cherished as a favorite way to make a “good cuppa,” Its origins go back to the 17th century when this ordinary small teapot made of a special red clay from an area of Stoke-on-Trent was a luxury item. The shape of the pot causes the leaves to be gently swirled around and the clay coddles the brew producing an exquisite infusion. Although the method of production has been modified to slip casting, these British favorites are still made in Stoke-on-Trent from the original red terracotta clay.
TEA TIME TRIVIA
Tea pot care is simple:
Following each use, empty the leaves, flush with water
and place in an inverted position to dry.
Never use soap or cleansers
“A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”