I have to confess I'm a coffee drinker. I prefer coffee to tea. But my tea drinking friends said tea is an art. I got to thinking about that. A lot of coffee drinkers get excited about coffee paraphernalia, like the filter, or the coffee grinder, or what not. I thought, what is it that tea drinkers get excited about? Of course, the teapot. And I've heard from British people that you have to heat the teapot before you make the tea. So I thought there must be an art to making tea. Hi and welcome to the Les Perras podcast episode number 357. This episode is about teapots. When we think about what makes a perfect teapot, we have to think about the basic parts of a teapot. We should also think about the basic properties a teapot should have. That means the things that it should be able to do or in some cases not do. After we've thought about these points, we can come to the design of the teapot.
The parts of the teapot are relatively easy to handle. First of all, you need to have a body with a hollow spot inside it. That's where you put the water to make the tea. You need a lid so that the water doesn't come spilling out, inadvertently. On the other hand, you also need a hole in the lid and we'll talk about that later. It's really handy if you have a handle on the pot so you can hold it without burning yourself and pour very easily. Finally you need a spout that you can pour the water out of. I suppose the last point is debatable, but it sure adds to the convenience of the teapot.
First of all, it needs to be able to hold the water while you're brewing the tea. Preferably, it will have a spout that you can use for pouring tea into your teacup. You could argue that this isn't essential, but it sure makes the whole teapot more teapot-like and makes the whole process much easier and more convenient. The handle is not really a function in itself as much as it is a feature, which makes it easier to hold and manipulate the teapot comfortably without burning yourself. The tea pot lid is there to prevent the tea from getting cold too quickly. In other words, it keeps your tea warm. Now that we have warm tea, we need to add a hole to the lid. As you’re pouring the tea out of the spout, a hole in the lid prevents a vacuum from forming inside the teapot as you pour. This prevents the water from sloshing and dripping as you pour and makes a nice smooth pour.
The design of the teapot is more a function of the tastes of the age that it's being made in; Think ancient Chinese teapot versus Victorian England teapots. They have quite a bit of a different shape if you look at the smaller details. This reflects the difference in taste between the people making them. But as we make our design, we should keep in mind a few things. First we should make the teapot pour without dripping so after you're done pouring, you don't have worries about staining your tablecloth or your clothing when you're moving the teapot around. Another thing we should think about in the design: can you pour it without the lid falling off? Of course you could simply hold the lid on with your hand but it's more convenient if you don't have to think about that. Now you should clean your teapot from time to time although I've heard people say you shouldn't. Whether you should or shouldn't is debatable, but the teapot must be easy to clean for those people who want to clean it. This means that the top opening in the teapot should be big enough for easy cleaning. Another question that comes to mind is, Is it easy to hold? I have seen some teapots with beautifully ornate handles that are in fact difficult to hold and you should keep in mind your audience when you design the handle. The last question is what I talked about at the start of design: is it easy on the eye? what I really mean is, is it beautiful or attractive? This may not be the most important, but after all, we don't wanna make tea in an ugly teapot. Now, I'm not going to talk about the actual design beyond what I've said already. Different designers can play with shapes and textures and colors as they wish to make a combination that achieves all the functions nicely and is attractive to look at. For me, I prefer simple. The fewer decorations on the pot, the better. What teapot is good for you?