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A brief history of teapots

We are all familiar with the main functions of the kettle. But there is more to a kettle than its handle and spout. In fact, this humble vessel has a great and rich history that began in ancient China.

The humble teapots beginnings

The first teapots originated in ancient China and were made of cast iron. Over time they began to make porcelain teapots and decorated them with designs of fruits and flowers. As the notion of decorating teapots grew, it became more of a decorative piece in the home as well as a functional item in the kitchen.

The first teapots arrived in Europe in the 17th century along with the arrival of tea from Asia. Although these items were originally only available to the upper class, in the 18th century Europeans began making teapots out of Chinese porcelain, which made them more affordable and therefore accessible to all.

The oldest teapot still intact today dates back to 1513 and is originally from China. He currently resides at the Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware in Hong Kong.

The evolution of teapot materials

The first teapots, as stated before, were made of cast iron and clay. Tetsubin are cast iron kettles that originated in Japan. They are used for traditional tea drinking ceremonies, which are an important part of Japanese culture.

The use of porcelain and silver to make teapots emerged a few decades after cast iron and clay models were designed and started a new trend of using teapots for decorative purposes.

The Brown Betty is a terracotta clay teapot that was made in England from the 17th century on. It is an icon in the history of English tea drinking, as is the classic silver tea set.

For the past 50 years, the glass teapot has been popular as tea connoisseurs enjoy the fact that glass does not retain the flavor of the tea, so it can be used to brew various types of tea without ruining the taste.

The culture of drinking tea

In the middle of the 18th century in England, hosting tea parties became a big trend. Silver tea sets and highly decorative and elaborately designed teapots were very popular with the upper classes. Tea also plays a very important role in Japanese culture with ceremonies dedicated to the art of drinking it.

Even today, English High Tea has become a popular event for many people, with major hotels and cafes offering tea events, involving a sampling of teas, sandwiches, and small cakes.

The next time you are brewing your kettle with delicious tea to share with your friends, you can share your knowledge with them and also let them know that there is more to the humble kettle than meets the eye.

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