Tea pots have been a part of the tea drinking experience since ancient China. While the first tea pots were made of ceramic, today, they are made of a number of different materials and finishes. The look and function of the teapot are the most important considerations when choosing the right one for your needs. You should also to determine whether you will be brewing tea in the pot or simply serving prepared tea. Finally, you'll need to decide if you want to go with a traditional tea pot or an electric tea kettle.
Many teapots will come with brew baskets, infusers, or filters configured into the pot. If so, you'll want to make sure the basket will allow enough room for the tea leaves to move around, if you want to maximize the extraction of flavors. These elements may be stainless steel mesh, or incorporated into the design of the ceramic or porcelain. Depending on the number of people you'll be serving, the size of the pot, as well as the basket, will be different. A good rule of thumb is to serve one teaspoon of tea to every eight ounces of water, keeping in mind that teas like oolong and gunpowder may require a bit more or less.
Ceramic teapots are generally thicker and stronger than other types and have properties that naturally retain heat. They allow very little of the liquid to seep through the pot, and they brew quickly. When shopping for a great ceramic teapot, you'll want to look for one that has a spout that narrows at the end. This will provide better control when pouring. Also, these pots may be glazed or unglazed. Glaze will help make the pot airtight and the surface smooth. If you choose one that is unglazed on the inside, there could be some flavor transfer between batches, due to the grainy surface that can absorb flavors. It is recommended that you only use one variety of tea in pots that aren't glazed.
Porcelain teapots are a bit more fragile due to their lighter composition, and they can be translucent to a degree. Porcelain is watertight and its surface is smooth, even without a glaze. Its fineness allows for intricate details in design, and porcelain teapots are known for their beautiful patterns and overall fine appearance.
Glass teapots are made of clear or colored tempered glass. While colored glass teapots may add a decorative touch, clear glass teapots afford the chance to watch the magic that's happening within. Many tea drinkers enjoy watching “the agony of the leaves,” which occurs when the tea leaves unfurl to exude their bouquets. This is an especially fascinating experience when using jasmine pearl or oolong teas that are rolled or twisted during processing. Many tea aficionados will know when their tea has steeped properly simply by the color of the brew. When using a glass tea pot, you will either need to choose one with an insulated handle or use a pot holder to keep hands from getting burned, since glass is such an efficient insulator.
Stainless steel is an excellent material for brewing and serving tea. Tea pitchers made of stainless steel are much more durable than their glass and ceramic counterparts. They can typically withstand being dropped, only suffering minor denting, while the others have the potential to crack, break, or even shatter upon impact. Stainless steel is also easy to clean and keeps tea piping hot for a long time.
Electric Tea Kettles
In some instances, a traditional teapot may not be a feasible choice for your establishment. In this case, an electric tea kettle may allow you to brew tea to satisfy your customers without taking up a lot of extra time and labor. These kettles bring water to a boil quickly, and can be used in a variety of applications beyond tea, like cereal, hot chocolate, and soup. Some of them are very utilitarian in form, while others take a more modern approach to teapot design. They come in a wide assortment of finishes and colors to match virtually any décor.