What is a loose leaf teapot?
If you are someone who wants to start drinking loose leaf tea, then you might have already found out that you will need some specific equipment to allow you to steep the tea leaves. A teapot used for loose leaf tea is called an infusion teapot.
It is basically a teapot with some form of filter, either built into it or that is removable. Teapots with filters built into them tend to have the filter at the point where the spout meets the body of the teapot. Other types include those with a coiled wire inside of the spout and those with a mesh filter that drops into the top of the teapot in between the body and the lid.
The latter style allows the leaves to sit in the water in the teapot and steep while preventing any of the leaves from entering the main body of the teapot.
Teapots, where the filter is stopping leaves at the spout, will have the leaves floating around in the main boy of the teapot.
A teapot that allows the leaves to float around freely and open up fully gives a much better flavour than those that have a mesh basket that sits in the pot, these baskets restrict the leaves from opening up fully which can prevent the flavour from releasing as much as it should do.
Infusion teapots also come in a variety of different materials and need to be cared for in different ways.
The most common teapot materials
These teapots will tend to be in the traditional Japanese or Chinese style.
If you have a more traditional style teapot, then you will need to make sure that you only use it for a single type of tea leaf. They are porous and build up a film inside the pot over time. Trying to brew a different type of leaf in a pot like this will result in a tainted flavour. On the flip side, you can also after time just add water and get a decent brew just from the flavours that have been soaked up by the pot.
Another positive to this type of teapot is that they do not conduct heat very well so you are less likely to burn your hands if you touch the teapot and can easily hold the matching cups you have even with piping hot tea.
Let's try not to pretend we don't have matching teacups either! We know we all do.
Just remember not to put this type of teapot into the dishwasher as it will ruin it and keep the washing up liquid away from it too.
These tend to be very delicate but also very visually appealing. If you use Instagram you will see a lot of these used in any of the # relating to tea.
It also has a low level of heat transference making both the teapot and those matching cups easy to handle while filled with wonderfully hot tea. Try not to take too long to drink your tea though, as it will not stay hot for long in this type of pot.
Teapots made with glass are incredibly versatile and can be used for all types of tea and at all temperatures. You can also get glass teapots that can be heated directly on flames and even microwaveable.
They are also great if you enjoy brewing up with flowering tea balls as they allow for you to be able to see the tea ball bloom and once bloomed let you see pretty it looks while you drink from the pot.
One thing that you do need to bear in mind with glass is that it can stain, and those stains will be clearly visible when you use the teapot. They can also sometimes end up in places that are harder to clean, like the spout.
These teapots can help with if you have issues with the water tainting the flavour of your tea. Boiling the water in a cast iron teapot will improve the flavour of the water and in turn the flavour of the tea that you brew with it.
They have excellent heat retention so your tea will stay hot a lot longer than in other materials too, if you can manage to make a pot of tea last that long.
They tend to be used for brewing black tea.
Other Styles of Teapot
We tend to use a glass teapot as our main workhorse but when it's time to relax on an afternoon and brew up we always find ourselves reaching for the traditional Japanese style teapot.
There are a couple of different types of teapots in this style and I will list them out below, starting with our favourite.
Yokotegata (side handle teapot)
Ushirotegata (back handle teapot)
Uwategata (top handle teapot)
Houbin (handleless teapot)
Which size teapot do I need?
This is dependent on how much tea you like to drink in a single sitting, if you're in a rush and want only a single brew or if you're relaxing and want to have a couple in a row, maybe there is more than one of you wanting a brew from the same pot.
These are the things you need to think about when choosing the teapot size, you need. To help we have listed the number of brews you will get in relation to the size of the teapot below.
Our favourite teapot style
Our favourite is the Yokotegata Kyusu we just love them. They look amazing, are incredibly functional and still special enough to add that little something to your tea ceremony.
They age well and the flavour gets better and better with life if you have a porous one. They also take very little effort to look after, rinse them out and leave them to dry ready for your next brew. Don't put them anywhere near a dishwasher or washing up liquid, unless you enjoy the taste of mucky water/soap!
That said, it is not the one we use the most. Our most used is a simple glass infusion teapot with a basket filter. It holds heat well enough, brews up a decent pot of tea and allows you to see the wonderful colour of whatever you are drinking.
It also allows us to have something different every time we want a brew.
The best thing you can do is to start with a glass teapot and work up from there. Try them all for yourself and experiment with each material and style until you find what works best for you. The bonus to starting with glass is that it allows you to drink any tea you want whenever you want and let's face it that's all we really want when we are getting into the world of tea.
Hopefully, now you have an idea of what sort of infusion teapot you want, all that's left is to pick up some wonderful loose leaf tea and get to brewing up. We have an amazing selection of loose leaf tea for you to try, just head over to our shop and have a look.
If you have not shopped with us before you can get 10% off your first order with code NEW10.