Teapots – Glass, Yixing, Ceramic, With Infuser, Stainless Steel, Brown Betty… – Your Questions Answered

Collection of Tea Pots

Do you  not even give  your teapot(s) a second thought – you just make a pot of tea?  Or do you have a favorite pot for a particular tea?  Do you use what you’ve always known when you were growing up?  Or do you change your teapots regularly?  Do you have a collection?  Or only one?  So many questions! And here are some answers to questions we’ve had here at Tea Party Girl about the finer  points of using teapots – and cleaning them!

Here are some answers to questions we’ve had here at Tea Party Girl about the finer points of using teapots – and how to clean them.

 

Collection of Tea Pots

Collectible Tea pots Abound and can be found in All Corners of the Globe

Collectible Teapots Abound

Question:

Hey, Tea Party Girl! I have read that you need different teapots for each individual type of tea. One for black tea and one for herbal tea etc. Is that true?

Answer:

Thanks so much for this question. This is a hot topic that is often confused so let me take just a moment to explain the origin of this myth.

In truth, there are certain occasions where a teapot should only be used for one specific tea. This is the case with the Yixing teapots from China. Yixing (pronounced YEE – SHING ) are made from a very rare clay and are unglazed. The word, Yixing means “purple clay” in Chinese. Each pot is unique and is literally “seasoned” by the tea you steep within its walls. Over time, a Yixing pot will absorb the flavor of the leaf adding a fuller experience with each new cup. Yixing pot users must be committed to the care of their teapots and careful to not mix leaves. Most Yixing pots are used for black, oolong or puerh tea. If you plan to brew green or white be aware that the pots are temperature sensitive so be sure you are brewing these teas at the correct lower temperature.

Herbal tea is never brewed in a clay pot.

 For more information see our article here: http://teapartygirl.com/tea-the-tea-parties-most-important-ingredient/

Glazed, glass or china teapots can be used for a variety of teas and there is not need to assign one specific leaf to each pot.

Popular Glass

A glass teapot can be used for a variety of teas.

Glass Teapots are Enormously Popular Right Now

Be aware, however, that even a china teapot will absorb the flavor of a “smoked” tea, such as Lapsang Souchong, over time.

In addition, any cracks within the pot may absorb repeated flavor.

For most people a standard tea pot such as a “Brown Betty” will work well for a variety of teas on a day to day basis. A Brown Betty is round in shape and has a manganese brown glaze, known as Rockingham glaze.  A special red  clay that was discovered in the Stoke-on-Trent area of Britain was used to make the original Brown Bettys and it seemed to retain heat better.  Tea brewed in the original Brown Betty – back in the 1800s when it was developed – was considered excellent. The Brown Betty is still available today after experiencing a resurgence of popularity!

The Brown Betty Teapot is considered excellent for brewing tea.
A 6 Cup Brown Betty Teapot

Question:

Every teapot I see at the store these days seems to have a built in tea infuser or strainer. What is that and how do I use it properly?

 

Answer:

Thanks for this great question. It’s true.

Many of the teapots on today’s store shelves (and indeed, online!) include a small device known as a tea infuser or a tea strainer. This infuser allows you to easily brew your tea using quality loose leaf tea without hassle and without mess. It removes the need for a separate tea strainer and somewhere on the table to put that strainer when the tea has been poured.

Here’s how to do it.

Step #1: Determine how large your teapot is. They generally range from 1 cup to 8 cup and the average pot is about 6 cups. Remember the term “cup” means teacup not a standard 8 ounce mug.

Step #2 Add just a bit of boiling water to your pot and roll it around the inside. Now just pour the water out the spout. Congrats! You have just warmed your teapot preparing it for “the leaf.”

Step #3 Measure 1 tsp of tea for every cup your pot holds. If it holds 6 cups you will need 6 tsp. (As you become familiar with the leaf tea you are using, you may choose to adjust to taste.)

Step #4 For black or herbal teas use rapidly boiling water straight from the kettle. For green, white or oolong use a lower water temperature. Click here for more details from our Tea Party Girl archive.

Step #5 Place the lid on the teapot and steep for the recommended time. Always use a timer and if possible clip it to you clothes so you don’t wander away, get busy, and forget!

Step #6 At the sound of your timer, remove the tea infuser from your pot, place the lid on the pot and pour yourself a great cup of tea.

“Want more? Most leaves are good for another steep in the teapot. Use your previous leaves one more time for another outstanding pot of tea!”

Question:

Ok, you probably have this written somewhere but how in the world do you clean a teapots?

 

Answer:

Teapots and tea infusers stain over time.

If one day you steep a chai tea in a glass teapot with an inbuilt tea infuser, and then the next day (after washing the pot and infuser, of course!) you brew a milder tasting tea – such as a green tea – in the same pot, you are likely to be able to detect the taste and aroma of the stronger tea from the day before.  So the following information is going to be of use to you.

The quickest way to clean your tea infuser is to use a toothbrush to scrub excess staining off and then place it in the dishwasher. Most of today’s tea infusers are dishwasher safe.

The easiest way to clean a teapot is to drop a dishwasher tablet into the pot itself and fill it with boiling water. Place the lid back on the pot and let the teapot sit for 10-20 minutes. Rinse well. Your teapot will be shiny and new! In addition, bottle brushes used for cleaning a baby bottle can work wonders on a teapot spout. Don’t be afraid to scrub it from the inside out!

If you need a “visual” guide for how to clean a teapot, check this out:

 

Introducing The New “Tea Party Girl” – Sonya Michelle

Sonya Michelle, Tea Party Girl

 

It’s hard to believe that today has finally come.  Today is the day I turn over my “hostess” responsibilities at Tea Party Girl.com to a special someone.  I have loved owning and operating Tea Party Girl and I have so enjoyed getting to know each and everyone of it’s readers. (like YOU!)

So without further adieu let me introduce to you, Sonya Michelle, the NEW, “Tea Party Girl.”

Sonya Michelle, Tea Party Girl

 I’m ready to bring you more exciting ideas, stories, information and recipes on Tea Party Girl.com

Q: Welcome Sonya Michelle.  First things first.  All of the readers of this blog are dying to know your personal tea story.  We want to know the nitty gritty on how you came to love afternoon tea and what it’s like to “take tea” in Australia (where you live!)

A: Thank you all for a lovely, warm welcome!  I am sooo delighted to meet the criteria and pass the test to qualify as the new hostess of afternoon tea with Tea Party Girl. Yes, I am an Aussie and I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed the two years that my husband, Tony, and I spent living in Atlanta GA, USA,  working and living like a local. Traveling a bit and exploring a lot and loving our lives and friends over there! Back home here in Brisbane, Australia – now with 3 beautiful sons – nothing gets me through the day quite like a cup of tea, or two, or three….

 

Sonya Michelle and Family

Here’s a photo of me with my husband, Tony, and our three Boys Charlie, Max and Rhys (L-R), earlier this year.

 

I haven’t always been, but for the past 12 months or so I have become almost exclusively a tea drinker, so I think it is curious that this new venture has presented itself to me now.  Doesn’t life work in curious ways?

Australia, just like the USA, is a large country, so I’m sure I can’t speak for all Australians, but taking tea in the typical circles I circulate in involves – tea bags and mugs!  Occasionally a cup and saucer, but usually a mug.  We’re usually all in such a hurry it’s a teabag and a mug – and if you’re at the home of a coffee drinker, it’s a coffee mug at that!

At a coffee shop or café, a teapot and strainer and cup and saucer will be served (but the mug will be thick and clunky and not at all elegant, sob!).

It hasn’t always been the case in my life … my Grandmother would serve ‘proper’ morning and afternoon tea, with fine china, a teapot and homemade date slice (I must see if I can get hold of that recipe from the family – it was delicious).  More recently, a very sophisticated and charming neighbor would serve an elegant afternoon tea, with delightful teacups, company and chatter.  But everyone seems to be in such a hurry these days, and everything is done ‘on the run’.

 

I’m on a mission to bring the experience of soul nurturing afternoon tea times back into our lives.  Surrounded by friends and/or family and treated with small, delectable treats is what we need.

 

 

 Q:What part of Australia do you live in and can you tell us something about YOU?

A: I’ve lived in a few parts of Australia in my time, but find myself happily settled in ‘rural-residential’ acreage suburbia in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  With three growing and lively sons, we have the space to move here, and grow and be noisy and keep chickens and run with friends, get muddy, graze knees, laugh, love and live.

 

Tea for Two - Australia with Sonya Michelle

 

“Tea for Two” in Australia : Two Rainbow Lorikeets having bread and honey on my back deck.

Besides being a full time Mom and happy wife, I also love the internet and connecting with people with similar interests to myself through my computer! I love fresh, healthy food and looking after my health and the needs of my family.

To me, tea is a big part of this healthy living and I’ve become increasingly interested in the health benefits of different types of tea.  (Not to mention the healthy social aspects!)

I love spending time with friends, caring for our animals, spending time at home and I always endeavor to make my interactions with others a positive experience.

 

Q:What made you connect with “Tea Party Girl.com” ?

A: My increasing interest in having a healthful lifestyle and excluding harmful and unnecessary ingredients from our bodies had led me to thinking more about what I consume – is this a dead giveaway for my age? – and a love for drinking tea and sharing a social ‘cuppa’ with special people in order to connect, and enjoy, made the opportunity to join Tea Party Girl literally “jump out” at me.

There are so many aspects to enjoy about Tea Party Girl.  The drinking of the tea for taste and refreshment, the gorgeous accompanying accessories (the ‘pretties’ – teapots, teacups, tea towels, trays, sandwich platters, table cloths….), the opportunity for friendship, sharing, connecting, the opportunity for charitable events and business endeavors.  Tea is so easily interwoven with so many aspects of life!

 

Q: What’s your favorite tea?

A: Is anyone else like this?  I seem to go through phases, where one month I will like one tea, another time I will prefer another tea.  I also prefer different teas at different times of the day, before and after particular meals.  At the moment, my overall favorite is peppermint herbal tea.  It is soooo very refreshing!

 

Q: What’s your favorite afternoon tea food?

A: Oooooh…well, because I’m on a plan to live to 100 years of age (there’s just so much to DO), and I’m taking a particular interest in healthful (but plentiful and delicious and more-ish) food, I particularly love tasty morsels of Orange and Almond Cake (made with oranges, almond meal, eggs and a little sugar) and dried fruit balls (made with chopped nuts, dates, raisins, coconut, …..) and I have a lovely and adaptable recipe for a “fruity carrot loaf”.  These all go beautifully well with most teas I drink – and are delightfully guilt-free.  Of course, if someone puts a dark chocolate mud cake in front of me, it will disappear in a flash as well…

 

Q: I know you have big plans for this site and for connecting with the readers.  Can you share just a few things we can all look forward to?

A: Where to start? I can’t decide if exploring the stunning array of tea cups, teapots and afternoon tea accessories out there should be first, or, perhaps an exploration of just how many different types of tea that are available to us to enjoy. Then again, the health benefits of tea are incredibly important to appreciate, so that will be a high priority.  The business of tea is an attractive and lucrative one to be in, so exploring further details of how this can be realized is on my list – and I’ll be asking you, Dawnya, to assist me here with your vast experience and knowledge of this area!

Fundraising for charitable causes is also of interest to me, and I imagine will be of interest to some readers, so I will be reporting on some ideas there.

In September, a “High Tea” is being held at a local ‘Bush Garden’ in my suburb and I will be attending to enjoy the experience, review the event and talk with the hostess about the proceedings.

I will also be visiting some local tea rooms (in comparison with coffee shops, they are few and far between, here, I can tell you!) I have just recently learned about, to report how those businesses attend their customers and what really makes them “tick”.

Have you ever heard of “Billy Tea”?  Well! That is an Aussie “experience” and a half.  I won’t call it a tradition, but it’s from folklore in this country and something to be experienced at least once!  If you like tea out of an enamel mug, with bits of ash from the open fire in it, and campfire smoke in your hair while you’re drinking it, you’ll love it!

 

Q: Where can the readers connect with you?

A: Since I’m nearly always connected to my computer, I’ll be close by if you post or send a message on Facebook or via contacttpg@gmail.com or the Contact Us page on teapartygirl.com  And on that note I warmly invite you to reach out and let me know your thoughts and wishes and requests for posts, information, solutions, recipes and topics for future blog posts.

 

 I want to thank you, beautiful Dawnya, for entrusting your much-loved Tea Party Girl blog to me, and thank you readers, for the opportunity to serve you and be in your lives.

 

Dawnyahat

Well ladies and gentleman.  I know I leave you in great hands and don’t worry, Sonya Michelle and I plan to work together from time to time.  I still have a contribution or two to make to the world of afternoon tea.

“Until then, pour yourself a cup of tea, sip, sigh and know you are loved.”

-Dawnya Sasse Tea Party Girl – Retired

 

Now You Can Host a Tea Party and Delegate it, Too!

Tea Hostess

 

 

Let’s face it. Many of us already work really hard. And for some of us, hosting any kind of event sounds like a lot of work.

Even more of us, especially independent Americans, rarely delegate for a number of reasons. I struggle to delegate because frankly, it’s often “easier” to take care of the responsibilities myself than try to communicate with others what I really want them to do.

However, my mother, Anne Evans of Teaching Tea recently participated as ONE of the hostesses of a progressive tea, where the participants visited four homes in an afternoon for each of tea courses. What a great idea!! She graciously offered to share her experience with us.

Be sure to notice: The guests received a gift to take home at each stop! Wouldn’t you enjoy attending a tea like this?!

“Let’s put on a progressive tea,” a friend suggested to me recently. I liked the idea and soon found two other ladies willing to open their homes, set the table, and prepare one part of an afternoon tea. Only one of us had done anything like this previously, though we each really enjoy hosting.

First the four of us met together to plan. Our homes are only 15 minutes apart, so we allowed 45 minutes for each stop and 15 minutes travel time. We provided a map at each place giving directions to the next. One lady planned to seat guests in her shady yard. Two ladies had enough tables to seat the guests. One hostess used chairs and end tables through the main part of her home to augment the limited space at her dining table.

The tea day dawned. At the first house, the participants enjoyed a strawberry and greens salad, a simple pasta salad, and iced tea. The hostess had a guest book for signing and gave each lady a little nylon bag filled with dried lavender and rose petals as she departed.

At house two, the savories graced the kitchen counter. There were egg salad sandwiches on sprouted grain bread, broccoli spears dipped in seasoned mayonnaise and toasted, chopped walnuts. Also included were ham and chutney roll ups, open-faced cucumber sandwiches, and tiny pastry shells filled with artichoke spread and topped with shredded carrots. A caffeine-free herbal rooibos tea refreshed everyone and directions for making
tea along with some tea samples provided the parting favor.

House three served scones with jam, lemon curd, and clotted cream along with mango blackberry hot tea. White Jordon almonds in a handkerchief were tied with a pretty ribbon and given to each guest.

The fourth house hosted the sweets which were lemon squares, fresh fruit, and chocolates along with a creme brule` hot tea. The favor here was a little, cloth hat purchased at the Dollar Store. We each donned our hats as the hostess had arranged for her neighbor to pop over and take a group picture.

Everyone talked and laughed their way through the entire tea, learning new things about the whole wonderful affair of making friends with tea.

The four of us met a week later to savor our success and ponder any improvements for next time. We decided our only misstep was in not writing our phone numbers on the maps. One lady did need some intervention on directions and a number would have simplified that frustration for her.

So, if you’re not wanting to tackle a tea all alone, how about getting together with a couple of friends for a progressive tea? Start small and simple. You’ll be amazed how delighted your guests will be.

Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

Mothers Day Afternoon Tea

Mothers Day Afternoon Tea

Need a simple idea?  Why not host a Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea?  I am not talking about a lavish event instead I am suggesting an intimate affair for you and the one you love.  Mother’s Day is May 11th this year, just a month away. Your typical Mother’s Day may be as simple as sending a card or flowers, or picking up the phone. Do you try to get together with your mum?   If so, what about setting aside some time for a Mother’s Day afternoon tea instead of fighting the Sunday brunch crowds?

Most mothers I know desire more quality time. Either their children are young, and they long for quality, uninterrupted time with their friends, or their children are grown and desire uninterrupted conversations and the full attention of their busy adult children. What could a mother enjoy more than a chance to sit down over a pot of afternoon tea and an opportunity for quality time with their loved ones?

Here’s a few simple ideas to get started:

1. Properly invite your mother. Decide whether to bring your Mother’s Day afternoon tea to her or host her it your home. Call her with a specific time and place that’s easy on her.

2. All you need for the event, especially if afternoon tea is a brand new experience is:

  • an uncluttered corner with two comfortable chairs and a small table.
  • a tablecloth or piece of pretty fabric to cover the table.
  • a small bouquet of flowers. Grocery store flowers work as well as the abundant wild flowers available right now.
  • a pot of properly-brewed tea.
  • two pretty tea cups. (If you don’t have any, ask a friend or even your mum!)
  • a particularly yummy dessert you make yourself or pick up at a bakery.

Now, there are many little details one can add to this event such as: linen napkins, instrumental music, or a savory. However, if you have never hosted afternoon tea, keep it simple and remember that the gift of quality time is your focus. If your mother mothered you before 1970, a Mother’s Day afternoon tea may very well have been a part of her history, yet not something she’s experienced with you.

If you’re a mother who needs quality time with your friends, see if you can modify the above with 3 or 4 of you on the Saturday afternoon before Mother’s Day. See if dads can watch the little ones, keep it simple, and give yourselves time to enjoy one another un-rushed and un-interrupted.

What mother do you know could benefit from sitting down over tea this spring for Mother’s Day?

 

Where to find inexpensive teacups

inexpensive teacups

inexpensive teacups

I am often asked, “where can I find inexpensive teacups? “  That is a great question.  There are several resources that you might consider if you want to add to your teacup collection.  Owning an assortment of affordable cups and saucers will come in handy for children’s tea parties, additional guests, gifts, picnics and more.

In addition, some people have grown a business hiring out pretty crockery for tea parties. The business can also host and cater for the tea parties, depending upon the business owner’s intent for the business. More on this idea in another post…

Here are a few of my “go to” resources.

1. Amazon.com

Now they don’t sound like a specialist tea or china or porcelain company, do they? But with the online influence and effective ‘buying power’ that Amazon have, they can provide some truly competitive deals. Couple that with the fact that you can read what other people have said about the products they’ve purchased by way of Reviews, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect if you purchase a product from this heavyweight. Add to that the likelihood of qualifying for free postage, super-fast postage and great customer service (think : what will happen if you have a breakage during delivery?) and you’ll likely be very pleased with your inexpensive teacups purchase.

Here’s an example of a gorgeous set, with a high customer review rating from quite a high number of customers :

inexpensive teacups

Rose Chintz 8 Ounce Porcelain Tea Cup & Saucer Set of 4

 

2. Maryland China Company

Maryland China Company offers both wholesale and retail sales.  They primarily offer white china which can be used for almost everything.  They also offer paintable china for your own custom designs. Maryland China’s prices are always low but their clearance section is absolutely rock bottom and you can find some super cool designs.  Today, I found toast and tea sets for as low as $3.75 each!

Visit their clearance section here and be sure to read the requirements for purchase.

 

3.  Magpie Marketing

If you are looking for British China then look no further than Magpie Marketing.  While Magpie is essentially a wholesale company their purchase minimum is SUPER LOW so anyone can probably find a way to work with them.  Here are a few examples of things they recently featured on their site.

-Mix and Match China Cups and Saucers – Bone China $5 each

-Oversized Breakfast Cups and Saucers- Bone China $10 each

-London Design Teacups and Saucer (set of 2) – $8

 

Visit their site here and check out their amazing offers.

 

4. Paintable Tea Cups

Now, if it’s paintable inexpensive tea cups you’re after, whether a mug, pitcher, tea pot or teaset, visit Ann’s Ceramics!  These are paint-your-own ceramic bisque beverage items for those who want that personal touch, or a tea party to remember. Ann’s Ceramics produce your bisque after your order is placed and delivers them to your front door – it’s ready for any type of color product and their site gives details on how to apply paint.  Very reasonably priced and how wonderful would this be for a special Mother’s Day gift, or a tea party for girls?

Click here to visit Ann’s Ceramics.

 

5. Ebay Lots

Ebay has long been a “go to” place for china.  I have found many teacups on this site however, there is a key to saving money.  Here it is!  Always shop for teacup lots.  You will not only save money on the cups and saucers you will also save money on shipping.

Here are some recent finds:

-30 piece set of Grosvenor china teacups – $15.00 plus shipping

-4 cups set vintage pink and gold teacups set – $12 plus shipping

-23 vintage Royal Albert teacups. – $220 plus shipping (very collectible)

 

Click here and put teacup lot in search box.

 

Last but not least, you can always search for inexpensive teacup sets at garage sales, thrift stores and at Overstock.com

Tea Party Girl Asks: Where have you found teacups?  Leave a comment and share your strategy!