The Teapot, Serene and Genteel
The very sight of a teapot puts a smile on the face of most people. One cannot help but, think of more serene and genteel times. From a whimsical child’s teapot to an elegant English Teapot, to collectible teapots that adorn some homes, they are a subtle reminder of all that is good in this world.
There is a Chinese saying that says “water is the mother of tea, and the teapot is the father,” meaning that the pot is just as important in making the tea as the tea leaves and water. As tea lovers we appreciate and understand that tea is much more than a beverage to quench our thirst. It is a visual, sensory and often a spiritual experience. Many decisions come into play when brewing and enjoying that perfect cup of tea. For example, what type of tea, hot or cold, just a cup or an entire tea pot, whether cream, sugar, or lemon are included, etc. But after the choice of tea, for me it’s the teapot, and frequently, it’s the teapot that provides us with the biggest impact on that perfect cup of tea.
But, not all teapots are created equal. While all teapots must infuse the leaves, retain heat and handle well, there are a variety of pots available in a wide range of materials, all of which need to be used differently to ensure the perfect cup. Not only is the teapot the vessel in which to brew the tea, but its shape, its design, its look, all affect the experience of drinking tea. There are different styles, designs, colors of teapots of choose from: glass, ceramic, metal, porcelain, cast iron, stone, clay, Yixing. In fact, teapot designs have become so varied that in some cases the teapot no longer serves as the vessel for tea but is more a vessel for show, with designs that can be quite unusual.
But for show or not- what makes the right teapot? How do you choose the teapot, in which to brew that perfect cup of tea? When looking for teapots, the vast amount of choices can seem overwhelming. For those of us who drink tea enough to care, we know that the functionality of the teapot – including its size, shape and material – are keys to achieving the perfect cup. BUT, there is more. A teapots style and aesthetics – its shape and appearance – are essential too. While style won’t affect the tea, it will affect your mood. A beautiful, stylish teapot will bring a smile to your face even before you add the first leaf. Teapots should be chosen with care and passion, and in my opinion, the emphasis being on the passion. They must display many qualities, such as purity, quality of materials, precision craftmanship and pleasing esthetics.
In the end however, although a teapot is in fact simply a pot with a handle, spout, and lid, in which tea is brewed and poured, it is more. The selection of a teapot is as individualistic as the person choosing it. Like the saying “love at first sight”, you should choose a teapot you will like and feel comfortable with. Imagine yourself making tea with it – Does your teapot speak to you?
“Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.”