The Right Teapot Makes All The Difference

Many thanks to Craig Newmark at Newmark’s Door for linking to this LA Times story about one woman’s quest for the perfect teapot. I, too, share this quest. The perfect teapot is

-clear, so you can monitor the steeping of the leaves
-dripless, with a spout that pours cleanly
-accompanied by an easy-to-clean infuser
-adaptable, to larger or smaller portions, and to the occasions on which one must be a heathen and use (gasp!) teabags

I concur with the author that the perfect teapot on these dimensions is the Bodum Assam pot, made of tempered glass and accompanied by a plastic infuser and, most importantly, a plunger lid. The plunger is crucial, because if you let the water stay in contact with the leaves too long (say, more than 3-4 minutes for most teas), then the bitter tannins come to the fore in the taste and make the tea unpalatable.

Plus the Bodum Assam pot is awfully cute!

3 thoughts on “The Right Teapot Makes All The Difference

  1. i don’t think i would decide if a tea is ready based on the color. the liquid will rather quickly darken, though it doesn’t mean the tea is ready. it would be a matter of taste, represented by time steeped. clear glass would be entertaining, but i don’t see the practical advantage.

    as for the diffuser: i have always adhered to the belief that tea needs to be free to circulate in the water, not be constrained by a diffuser. however, it is just a belief. i have to admit i haven’t done a comparison by method. once the tea is ready i pour it into a cup. i try to make as much as i am going to use at the moment. if i want more i use more hot water; what is referred to as a second (or even a third) wash. some people claim to prefer the second over the first. i try to resist being that picky. getting rid of the leaves is a matter of filling up the pot with water and dumping them out.

  2. My use of color is really the result of years of experimentation, and knowing that I can’t be bothered to pay *too* much attention to the clock. I’m pretty picky about liking strong Assam, using a heavy measure for the tea, but then only steeping it for about 3 minutes. But I’ve been doing it long enough that I know what color I want, so I think I do it by both color and time.

    I’ve also noticed that some teas, like high-quality Ceylon, don’t release their color until close to the 3 minute mark. And I know that the green tea is oversteeped if it has a brown tinge.

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