Shopping for Teapots

Enjoying a cup of tea is as much about slowing down and appreciating the ritual as it is about having a hot drink. So your teapot should be an object you look forward to using every day.

“A well-loved teapot is a well-used teapot,” said Elena Liao, an owner of the New York-based Té Company, which specializes in Taiwanese tea. “Throughout history, they’ve certainly been objects of beauty — they’re beautiful sculptures that have been made across cultures and across generations.”

But choosing the right one requires considering more than just the way it looks. The size is critical, Ms. Liao said, and should reflect how many people you routinely plan to serve and how large your teacups are.

Some pots are also better suited to certain kinds of tea than others. “If you drink all Taiwanese teas,” Ms. Liao said, “look for teapots coming from that cultural lineage, because they’re made for that style of tea.”

Just beware of teapots with shapes that look a little too creative, she cautioned: “If the artist who made the teapot doesn’t drink tea, you can usually tell. It looks beautiful, but leaks everywhere.”

  • What materials are best? If you plan to brew different types of tea, glass, porcelain and glazed ceramic “will shield the teapot from absorbing the oils from the tea and avoid flavor transfer,” Ms. Liao said, unlike unglazed ceramics.

  • Is one teapot enough? It can be, but some people like having various sizes and styles of pots for different occasions, she said.

  • Does it need an integral strainer for loose-leaf tea? No, said Ms. Liao, who prefers a separate strainer: “Brew it in an open vessel and just pour it through a strainer into a cup or pitcher.”

Glazed stoneware teapot

$54 at Departo:

Stoneware teapot designed by Eva Zeisel

$68 at Design Within Reach: 800-944-2233 or

Porcelain teapot with stainless-steel handle

About $69 at Kinto: 877-447-0986 or

Stoneware teapot made in Vietnam

From about $50 at EQ3: 888-988-2014 or

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