As with most things in life, having the right tools is essential for success. Brewing tea is no different whether you want to whip up a quick cup of tea, serve up a tea tasting, or create a traditional tea ceremony like gong fu cha. Here, we'll show you all the essential teaware you need for tea time. From choosing the right teapot and infuser to scoping out additional accessories, this handy guide will help you make the right choices.
Teapots are essential teaware in the art of brewing tea. These handy tools help heat water and can also serve as a decorative statement when it's time to serve the tea. To choose the best ones, you should keep two things in mind: size and construction. The size is essential for brewing the right amount of tea, If you brew a single cup each day, look for a smaller teapot. If you prefer to make tea for the whole family, opt for one that can handle multiple cups.
In addition, you may want to use traditional teapots for specific types of tea. For example, Japanese matcha tea is traditionally brewed using a matcha bowl known as a chawan — a large wide-brimmed bowl that makes it easy to enjoy all the sensory pleasures of tea. For Moroccan mint tea, you may want a traditional teapot that features a long spout, which aerates the tea. For oolong, black tea, or green tea from China, use a gaiwan or yixing bowl.
When it comes to choosing a teapot, there are dozens of options ranging from crystal clear glass to heavy duty cast iron. Ceramic teapots and porcelain teapots offer a stunning way to serve up tea. These types of teapots typically feature hand-painted art and are closely associated with both the British and Chinese tea brewing techniques. These teapots are breakable and cannot be used directly on the stove.
Stoneware and clay teapots are also a popular choice for brewing a single type of tea like pu-erh or white tea. That's because the porous nature of clay absorbs the flavor and aroma of each tea infusion. With every infusion, you'll get a richer and more nuanced flavor. You can choose from red clay and purple clay in addition to regional blends that add a touch of culture to your brewing.
Glass teapots are another great choice for people who want a visual treat when brewing tea. Look for options that are made using borosilicate glass as these are sturdier and can withstand minor dings. Double-wall glass teapots are also sturdier and longer-lasting than single-wall alternatives. A glass teapot is great for brewing flowering teas, iced teas, or color-changing teas like butterfly pea flower tea.
Cast iron teapots are heavier duty and can withstand more wear and tear than other varieties. Some feature an enamel lignin that enables them to be used on the stovetop.
A durable alternative to cast iron teapots is a stainless steel teapot. These teapots can be used directly on the stove to heat up water. They offer exceptional heat retention and can be cleaned in the dishwasher. They also feature a glimmering finish that adds a touch of sparkle and class to any tea party.
Teacups can be purchased as part of teasets, which also include a matching teapot. You can also opt for single teacups that express your personality. Mismatched teacups add a vintage touch to tea parties, while cohesive sets have an air of sophistication. Choosing the right teacup depends on your preferences. Large, durable mugs are a great choice for people who like to take tea on the go while porcelain varieties are ideal for hosting tea parties. For something more delicate, opt for a glass teacup or a porcelain teacup.
To brew loose leaf tea, it's important to have a tea strainer. These teaware tools help to contain the loose tea leaves during steeping. Tea infusers also make it easy to discard the leaves or set them aside for later infusions. These tools work like tea bags to corral the tea leaves and provide enough space for the leaves to expand and infuse flavor.
Tea masters and tea lovers would benefit from using a tea basket. These types of strainers allow tea leaves to expand fully, resulting in the highest-quality flavor and aroma. Another everyday alternative is known as the tea pincer or tea ball. A tea pincer features an easy to use spring-loaded handle. Simply open up the ball portion and scoop the leaves into place. Tea balls operate similarly except that they use a chain instead of a handle for easy tea retrieval.
A tea tin or tea canister is a great way to store tea. The metal prevents the alteration of flavors caused by exposure to sunlight. These tins also feature airtight seals that lock out moisture and humidity that can affect the integrity of loose leaf teas. The benefit of tins is that they can easily travel with you if you want to brew tea at the gym or on your next vacation.
Another popular storage option for tea leaves in wooden boxes. These can be intricately decorated and carved or even personalized. Look for one made of sturdy wood and a locking seal to keep out air and light that can damage tea leaves.
Depending on the type of tea you choose, you may be interested in additional tea accessories. For brewing matcha tea, it's useful to have a matcha whisk known as a chasen. This tea tool helps to whip the green tea powder into a creamy and thick texture.
A tea tray is a handy serving tool that makes hosting tea parties and events easier. You can use these trays to serve a fancy afternoon tea or simply bring your pitcher of iced tea and glass tumblers out onto the front porch.
Teaware is essential for brewing tea whether you like to whip up homemade chai or prefer to test out new samplers each day. These teaware tools ensure tea makers brew the perfect cup every time. Start by choosing a teapot and teacup to heat water and serve tea in. A tea strainer will help you steep loose leaves without the mess.
Don't forget to store your teas in a dark, cool place and use tea tins or boxes to keep the leaves fresh and aromatic. Depending on your needs, you may want to opt for a gift set or specialty tools to brew certain types of tea. However you choose to brew tea, these essential tools will get you started on your way to a tasty cup.