My Favourite Teapot

BB9B1572-9B87-4934-B143-708274F2903E.JPGWe should be grateful for tea bags. They are like little powder-filled litmus tests for the depth to which the rot of flat, insipid, lifeless cuppas have infested almost every aspect of our tea-drinking lives; leaching onto tea-breaks, infiltrating cafés, and eradicating true tea from all its natural habitats. Trading on convenience and speed, they have lured as into thinking that real tea is no longer worth making the time for. Despite the plethora of coffee shops with their fancy machines and their highly trained baristas, dumping a bag into a cup is almost universally considered acceptable in the modern café. But proper tea, whatever the Marxists tell you, is made in a pot, and it is made with leaves.

Pouring the water into a stone cold mug is never going get good results, but even if you warm a tea pot, if you then pour the scalding water onto those little mesh sacks full of (what I can only describe as) brown dust you are just wasting your time. Quality leaves, spooned in in the exact quantity to give you a brew that’s just how you like it is something those pouches of power can only dream of.

However, I will admit there is one thorn on this rapturous rose, one lump in this porridge of perfection, one fly in this out-of-this world ointment. As with the allure of nuclear power, there’s the waste it produces…

Used tea leaves are a menace (mostly – I did at one point dye them and use them to build 7mm scale tree leaves, but there are only so many 7mm scale trees one needs). I didn’t mind having to have a tea-strainer to hand whenever I pour a mug of the stuff (though I always seemed to loose the things). But they clog up the sink, and block the drain. I have searched – in vain – for suitable sink tidies that will capture them before they go and create a sewage nightmare. In my desperation I had dedicated a sieve to sit by the sink and serve this rôle – a somewhat inelelegant solution.

The Answer

But that was in the past. Let me introduce my favourite teapot.

39058404-F0DC-4A99-9C60-74E7D5700022.JPG

Made by London Pottery, this teapot is not only a fabulous red, and large enough to make three cups (instead of the advertised two) but contains an inner tea strainer. You place the tea leaves into this, and then pour the water on top. The tea strainer suspends the leaves in the hot water, giving them room to infuse, but when you come to pour: pre-filtered tea! And once the pot is empty, you simply remove the inner strainer by releasing the spring clip, and tap the contents into the food recycling (I recommend draining any undrunk tea residue and leaving the leaves in until you next make a pot – this way they drip dry a bit, making disposal cleaner).

ECF45076-E17D-4444-98D6-469CD5D74EBC.JPG I have to admit this isn’t the first teapot of this type I’ve dabbled with, I previously bought a model made by Bodum, who make the very well-engineered cafetières. This not only included an inner “tea basket” (though, strange choice, made of plastic) but also a plunger, like on their cafetières, which would trap the tea-leaves and seal them in the base of the plastic basket, effectively ending the infusion process once the tea reached the desired strength. Seduced by the idea of this, I bought the thing, but the reality is that once you jam those leaves into the bottom of the central cylinder they are very unwilling to be dislodged. Also, because it has no holes in it, the chamber traps the water in with them, so they don’t dry out at all before you have to fling them in the waste. And the holes in the plastic are the wrong size – or there are too few of them, I don’t know which – so that filling the teapot becomes a very slow business. Avoid.

B9857785-A11F-45B9-8A37-9EFD127B8C9B.JPG I bought my splendid London Pottery teapot from the excellent Kitchens of Cardiff. I had to get it ordered, since they usually only stock the two-cup size in white. They also stock the six-cup size and London Pottery make a four-cup model too. Readers in Lewes will be pleased to know they are also available at the excellent Louis Potts. I anticipate buying several more of these so as to be equipped for all occassions.

Now perhaps if London Pottery could turn their attention to nuclear waste, we’d have cheap energy without any drawbacks too.

About Simon Wood

E-learning officer, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

14 thoughts on “My Favourite Teapot

      1. I could answer in three ways:
        (1) Yes, we love tea. We love it so much we once turned Boston Harbor into the world’s biggest cuppa.
        (2) No, the hipster trend lately has been that wretched green tea.
        (3) Yes, particularly down south where they serve their tea over ice with lots of sugar.

        1. Good points. And I’d forgotten that a number of your Republicans actually stand on a tea-related platform, though I’ve never heard it reported that they campaign for leaves over bags. (But perhaps that’s because you don’t have tea bags there?)

          Also, on point (1), does history record whether the colonists warmed the harbour first?

  1. We also have the marvellous London Pottery teapot (a 2-cup white one), although it’s really the man of the house who’s the leaf tea purist. I quite often engage in heathen bag practices, especially first thing in the morning when (as my recent jalapeno pepper incident demonstrates) I am too clumsy to be allowed near leaf tea or any other spillable stuff.

    Used to have the Bodum too – agree about the drawbacks there. Another offputting thing about it was the discolouration of the basket over time, which on plastic is a particularly unappealing look.

    1. Ah yes, that terrible paradox. To be able to tackle the complexities of a decent cuppa, you first need to imbibe the reviving brew…

      The phrase “heathen bag practices” is very worrying though. It sounds disgustingly enjoyable, I fear it may encouraging the impressionable to dabble in the way of the bag.

  2. You’ve gone and made me feel SO guilty! I’ll recant from the ease-of-use tea bag IMMEDIATELY and convert to that messy, fiddly, technical method of making tea that I was taught as a child. 

    I do have an awful lot of Yorkshire Tea bags still in pristine, unused condition so … in the absence of a tea exchange, I may have a sly one now and again.

    Finding a good teapot is a struggle. We have trouble finding ones that pour, and don’t spill through the lid as well. Perhaps it’s us, perhaps its the tea bags blocking the spout – we’ll soon found out.

    Luckily we have all the gear to convert to leaves, including the Bodum pot – never got on with it really. My potential conversion will bring joy to my son-in-law who tut tuts about the tea in our house and searches for the real thing (or brings his own), whenever they visit. However, we do have a problem … my daughter drinks Earl Grey. That means multiple teapots, doesn’t it?

    1. I probably should have made it clear that the London Pottery Filter Teapot is a beautiful pourer. That’s a pre-requisite, really; but I’ve found good pourers before yet still struggled with the leaf problem. The beauty of the filter design is that it prevents any of the leaves going anywhere near the spout – which is where I’ve hit spilling-through-the-lid trouble in the past. A build up of leaf silt grows in the spout and inhibits pouring (I don’t think it’s an issue exclusive to bags) but with the leaves safely caged that’s never happened almost a year of having the LPFT.

      On the subject of dedicated pots for each type of tea, I’m not quite such a purist – especially since the inner strainer makes cleaning the LPFT such a doddle. After all, if you don’t have dedicated cups for the different types of tea-bag, you’ll be no worse off? One step at a time, and all that…

  3. Though I’d update you. Have now purchased two London teapots … one six-cup – blue, one two-cup – white, from Kitchens. Shame they didn’t have any other colours to chose from with the built-in holder. Still both make excellent tea!

    1. That’s great news! I had to wait a month and a half for Kitchens to order in the colour I wanted…

      I’m now wondering whether to get a four cup one (my two cup actually makes three cups so I assume a four cup makes five and and six cup makes seven). But I’d have another long wait, Kitchens don’t stock them either.

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