How to Choose the Best Teapot

January 11, 2022

by Janelle Wazorick


Teapots are one of the most iconic images of brewing tea. Around the globe and through the ages, people have created these specially designed vessels for the purpose of infusing the essence of tea leaves in hot water. For anyone looking to explore tea culture, teapots are a must-have for a tea pantry. But what does one look for in a teapot? Will any teapot do, or are some teapots better for brewing tea than others? And what does one look for in a teapot?

Whether you're looking for your first teapot or replacing a beloved teapot that’s poured its last cup, here are some things to consider when selecting your next teapot so that you can enjoy tea from it for a long time.

Material


Do you want your tea to cool down faster or do you want to keep your tea warm over a long period of time? Do you want to be able to see the tea as it brews or do you want to be surprised when you pour a cup? Choosing what material you want in a teapot comes down to personal preference and your tea drinking habits. Below are some of the most common types of materials used to make teapots.


Ceramic


One of the most common teapots, ceramic teapots come in a variety of colors and styles. They retain heat well, which is great for long tea sessions, and are lightweight. Most ceramic teapots are glazed and can be easily cleaned, but there are some exceptions like highly prized Yixing teapots, which are unglazed and only intended for use with a single tea.

Looking for a ceramic teapot? Have a look at PersonaliTEA.

Glass


A feast for the eyes, glass teapots allows the color of the tea to be seen from the outside. Because of the glass’s transparent nature, tea cools quickly in a glass teapot: this is great if you want to drink tea over a short period of time, but less than ideal if you prefer to keep your tea warmer for longer.

Adagio has a selection of lovely glass teapots, like this classic Glass Teapot.


Cast Iron


Cast Iron teapots are great for those looking to drink hot cups of tea over a long period of time. While they do require special care to prevent rusting, cast iron teapots are the best choice for heat retention. They can come glazed or unglazed and are available in kettle form (which is designed to be heated) and teapot form (which is only suitable to brew tea in). While they are heavier than other teapots, they are sturdy and last a long time if properly maintained.

A tradition from Japan, these cast iron teapots are based off the tetsubin (or cast iron kettle).

You can opt for glazed cast iron as well for easier care.

Size


Is this teapot too big, too small, or just right? Do you want a lot of tea in one sitting or do you want to have a couple of cups nearby for easy access? Do you recharge by yourself with a cup or do you socialize around a teapot? Like any mug or cup, teapots come in different sizes. One size may not fit all, so think about how much tea you drink in a sitting and determine the right size for you.


Single Cup


Sometimes, you just want one cup of tea. Or maybe you want more than one cup, but you like teas that get better with multiple infusions. Some teapots are made for these kinds of tea sessions in mind. Enjoy a smaller amount of tea with a small teapot. Even use smaller teacups for the tea to cool faster. Plus, a smaller teapot means easier storage.

For the small tea drinker, this Dalian Teapot is perfect for small cups of tea or one big cup. Or, the elegant simpliciTEA to make a perfect single-cup serving.

Multiple Cups


Maybe you like to pour yourself a couple of cups of tea without having to get up to make another cup. Or maybe you’re the social tea drinker and you and a couple of your closest tea-mates sharing a big pot of tea. A larger teapot may be the right choice for you. Make three, four, or even more cups of tea in at once!

Both quantity and quality, this Concert Teapot will bring class to your next tea get-together.

Infuser Type


Do you like expansive teas that need plenty of room to expand, or do you prefer smaller teas that can be brewed almost anywhere? Or maybe you want something that can do both. Like all roads leading to Rome, all infusers lead to a hot cup of tea. While most teapots come with basket infusers, there are some alternatives out there to be aware of.

Basket Infuser


Most loose tea teapots come with a basket infuser made out of a metal mesh or metal with perforated holes. Basket infusers can be removed once the tea is brewed to your liking, leaving the brewed tea beverage in the pot. While many teapots allow you to simply remove the infuser, the lid on some teapots might only fit in the infuser meaning you’ll have to remove the tea leaves and replace the infuser in the pot to put the lid on top. Basket infusers are the most versatile of infusers, brewing both small and large leaves alike.

Basket infusers can be found with almost any type of teapot, from glassware to ceramic teapots.

Spout Infuser


Though less common, some teapots come with a spout infuser. Some spout infusers are removable, made of wire, and rest inside the spout, keeping the leaves in the teapot during pouring. Alternatively, some teapots have a spout infuser built into the pot itself, either in the form of metal mesh or small holes in the pot’s material. Spout infusers allow the tea leaves to freely expand in the base of the teapot, however the only way to stop brewing is to pour the tea completely out of the teapot.

Many traditional teapots come with a spout infuser built in, such as this kyusu-inspired Kumo Teapot from the Masters Teas collection. Adagio's Yixing teapots are also spout-infuser type.

None at All?


If a teapot doesn’t come with an infuser, then it’s up to you to figure out how you’re going to infuse the tea. Maybe you have a separate basket infuser that would fit in the teapot. Maybe you just want to brew with tea bags that you can easily remove. Or maybe you have a strainer that rests in the teacup that catches the tea leaves as you pour.

If the no-infuser teapot is what you’re looking for, try this Ceramic Teapot: it’s perfect for making pots of tea from your favorite tea bags!

Don't worry, all of Adagio's teapots come with an infuser in some shape or form!

Shape and Color


Who doesn’t like a pretty teapot to look at? While the shape and color of your teapot can be purely aesthetic and up to your preference, there are some design features that might function better for your tea drinking experience.


Purely Aesthetic


This is completely up to you! Do you like a more traditionally shaped teapot or do you like a more modern, abstract design? Do you want a teapot to match your kitchen appliances or do you want something different? Do you want designs cut into the material or a simple smooth finish? The possibilities are endless.

For a feast for the eyes, check out the Handmade Copper Kettle.

Functional


Let’s get serious here. While the appearance of a teapot depends on the style of the one purchasing it, there are some functionality points to consider.

Maybe that red teapot looks cute, but another teapot with a white interior is best for examining the color of a tea (all of the personaliTEAs are white inside for that reason).

Maybe you have a concern about where to store the teapot: that round, short teapot might fit in your tea pantry better than a tall teapot.

Or, maybe because you have to clean tea stains off glass, you might prefer something opaque. However, you needn't sacrifice aesthetics for functionality. The important thing is to find balance: a teapot with the design you love while also being functional.