Best Teapot iMore 2021
Tea snob here! There are only three things necessary to brew an exceptional cup of tea: a teapot, fresh water, and loose tea leaves. The teapot that's earned a place on my counter is the Willow & Everett Teapot. With an eye-catching all-glass design, built-in infuser, and a tea cosy, this is one teapot that doesn't disappoint. There are other winning kettles, too, and these are my favorites.
- Best Overall: Willow & Everett Teapot
- Best Value: Hiware Glass Teapot
- Best Tumbler: Pure Zen Tea Tumbler
- Best Porcelain Teapot: Sweese 221.101
- Best Single Serving: Adagio Teas ingenuiTEA
- Best Cast Iron Kettle: Towa Tetsubin Kettle
- Best Gaiwan: Yeme Gaiwan
- Best Travel Set: OMyTea Teapot Set
Best Overall: Willow & Everett Teapot
If you want a stunning teapot with a few extras, this is it! The attractive glass tea pitcher from Willow & Everett holds 40 ounces of water, which is enough for up to five cups. A rust-free stainless steel infuser is included, which can be filled with loose tea leaves or tea bags. And a big plus for the included tea cosy! The black custom fit cosy zips around the teapot to keep water at a consistent temperature. This is a needed accessory that most companies overlook.
The stainless steel lid on this vessel is rust-proof and well designed. There's a "but" coming though! Because it is stainless steel and this pot is filled with hot water, the lid tends to get very, very warm. So warm you'll need a towel or pot holder to push against the cover while pouring tea. I'm docking this teapot points for that, as well as the lack of directions. Anyone who buys tea making equipment likely knows how to prepare tea, but it would be nice to know how to safely wash this teapot, among other things.
I love that I have the option to heat water in the microwave in this glass pot once the stainless steel parts are removed! It's much simpler to go this route than to use an electric kettle or stovetop kettle for that job. With the included cosy, water and prepared tea stay at just the right temperature. If you're looking for a no-nonsense teapot that's easy to use and clean and looks great, you've found your match.
- Makes up to 5 cups of tea
- Rust-free infuser
- Tea kettle is microwavable
- Included cosy keeps tea warm
- Functional design
- Stainless steel lid gets very hot
- No directions included
Best Value: Hiware Glass Teapot
Nothing beats the convenience of heating water in the same teapot you use to steep leaves. You can do away with your electric tea kettle when you invest in the Hiware glass teapot. The borosilicate glass body of this pot is durable enough to heat water directly on glass or electric burners or in the microwave. It can also safely go in the refrigerator and in the sun on the back deck to make iced or sun tea.
Once leaves are steeped to your liking, you pull out the removable stainless steel mesh infuser and enjoy. The spout on this teapot is magical! It pours gently and evenly, never dripping or missing its mark. Another plus: the mesh strainer reaches almost to the bottom of the kettle so you can have as little or as much tea as you like. Other teapots often place the tea basket at the top of the pot, which means you have to fill the vessel to the brim even if you only want one cup. It's nice to see a teapot of this size that's functional for one person or many.
My only grumble is the narrow opening at the top of the pitcher. It's the perfect size to accommodate the tea basket but isn't wide enough to get my hand inside when washing. This issue is easily resolved with a long bottle scrub brush or by placing in the dishwasher. Still, worth mentioning. Small complaint aside, this is a beautiful teapot that can be used on the stove, and that will look good on any tea tray.
- Microwave and stovetop-friendly
- Well-thought-out tea basket
- Durable borosilicate glass body
- Challenging to wash by hand
Best Tumbler: Pure Zen Tea Tumbler
The double-wall borosilicate glass tea tumbler from Pure Zen Tea does tea, coffee, and fruit-infused water. The tumbler opens from both ends, making it easy to clean by hand. This unique tumbler's best feature is that it never leaks. Never! I've taken this to the gym, in the car, and from room to room in my house, and not a single drop was lost. Drinks stay warm for up to two hours when the custom-fitted sleeve is put to use.
This do-it-all tumbler comes with a neoprene travel sleeve to protect the glass and keep drinks hot or cold. I love this feature! The tea jacket adds a bit of texture to an otherwise slippery surface and also prevents the glass from sweating. The tea strainer is at the bottom of this unit. The infuser is removed by flipping the tumbler upside down, unscrewing the bottom lid, and pulling it out. Since both the bottom and top caps are flat, this can be done on a countertop or other flat surface.
I have two beefs to report after a year of usage. First, as sexy as this tumbler is, it is so clumsy to drink out of, especially when you're imbibing in hot tea. The mouth is enormous, and the glass is heavy, and the combo is not as good as it could be. Second, the holes in the mesh tea strainer are too tiny, something that prevents tea leaves from fully expanding and the tumbler from producing a genuinely flavorful batch of tea without increasing steeping time. Those things aside, I still recommend this tea tumbler as a reliable option for travelers and those who want a versatile tea maker that also does coffee and fruit infusions.
- Double glass wall design
- Includes infuser and cosy
- Perfect for tea, coffee, and fruit infusions
- Awkward size to drink from
- Tea strainer holes are tiny
Best Porcelain Teapot: Sweese 221.101
Due to its ability to retain heat, porcelain has been a cherished material for teapots going back generations. This is an update on the classic porcelain tea kettle. The durable porcelain used is made from non-toxic FDA-approved ceramic and is lead-free. Sturdier in design than stoneware, this type of container isn't prone to chipping or cracking.
A high-quality stainless steel tea basket sits at the top of this teapot, and it's large enough for tea leaves to expand. A silicone gasket holds the lid on tight when you pour and also aids in keeping tea hot. This is just the right size for two mugs of tea or three teacups.
I have two minor complaints. The first is common in most teapots, and that's that once the infuser is removed, you need to hold the lid in place lest it goes crashing to the ground. Since this container is ceramic, the top is hot! You'll need a towel to hold the lid and also to catch potential drips when pouring, which also sometimes happens with this model. Still, this no-frills teapot is cute as can be, keeps tea hot, and is perfect for tea for two.
- FDA-approved ceramic
- Available in 5 color choices
- Includes stainless steel infuser
- Keeps tea hot
- Drips a little when pouring
- Need to hold lid when pouring
Best Single Serving: Adagio Teas ingenuiTEA
Designed by a tea company that knows a thing or two about brewing methods, this 16-ounce container is a teapot and infuser in one. A good fit for those who travel and don't want to be without their favorite beverage, the ingenuiTEA has been my go-to travel teapot for years. This modern little brewer is constructed of food-grade plastic that never absorbs odors or flavors. Great if, like me, you brew different types of tea daily.
The real genius of this mug is in the infuser. It's located on the bottom of this model and is the entire width of the cup. The open design allows tea leaves to fully expand to extract every ounce of flavor possible. How does it work? When your tea has finished brewing, put this mug on top of any other cup. Four little prongs located at the bottom of this mug make contact with your cup and, with the help of gravity, your tea magically trickles past a fine mesh strainer and into a serving cup. Voila!
This ingenious little teapot is dishwasher safe. First, though, you'll have to take it apart. It's easy enough to pop the filter out, but tea leaves can be a pain to get out. Unlike standard infusers that can be tipped over and rinsed off, I find I sometimes have to scrape the tea leaves off this filter before washing. It's a small issue, but it's something to note. If you travel or brew tea for one, you'll be enamored with the ingenuiTEA!
- Makes flavorful tea
- Great travel teapot for one
- Ingenious design
- Tea leaves can be challenging to remove from strainer
Best Cast Iron Kettle: Towa Tetsubin Kettle
When you long for a cast iron teapot that will last a lifetime, the Japanese tetsubin-style kettle from Towa should be at the top of your list. The Towa boils water on the stove and steeps your favorite loose tea leaves at the same time. A fine mesh filter sits in the wide opening of the Towa kettle and gives plenty of space for tea leaves to absorb water and spread out. The tea basket can be removed post-brewing or left in during tea sessions. The filter is easy to clean and store with or without the kettle.
Because it's made of ironware, this kettle gets screaming hot! That's not a complaint, just a word of caution to those who aren't used to dealing with cast iron. A twine-wrapped handle prevents the kettle from transferring heat to your hands while pouring, but you dare not touch the kettle itself. The outside is cast iron while the interior is enamel. This design gives you all the benefits of ironware's well-known heat retention plus prevents various teas from leaving flavors behind as can happen on a cast iron pan.
This charming teapot makes two cups of tea on any style stovetop and is ideal for setting atop a woodstove. Other larger and smaller versions are also available. If you're yearning for a stylish and traditional cast iron pot that holds heat and includes a top-notch tea basket, you won't be disappointed with this kettle from Towa.
- Keeps tea hot for an hour
- Excellent craftsmanship
- Twine wrapped handle
- Strainer included
- Enamel-coated interior
- Cast iron exterior gets hot
Best Gaiwan: Yeme Gaiwan
For those unfamiliar, a gaiwan is a Chinese handleless bowl with a lid that's used to infuse tea leaves. The leaves are measured and placed directly into the gaiwan. After steeping, one cracks the lid a hair and pours the brewed tea into their cup of choice. The lid serves as a simple tea strainer, preventing tea leaves from escaping. Brilliant in design!
This gaiwan from Yeme has been on my cupboard and countertop for two years and is my preferred vessel for preparing roasted green teas and oolongs. The gaiwan is crafted of featherlight jade porcelain that is both fetching and easy to wipe clean. This set includes the gaiwan, a lid, cup, and a small plate.
The gaiwan can be used as a drinking vessel, and it also pairs perfectly with a gongfu or other small cup. As with all gaiwans, the lid tends to get warm during the steeping process, so care is warranted when pouring your brew from it. The Yeme gaiwan is an eye-catching piece of teaware that produces a delicious cup of tea.
- Easy to clean
- Elegant in its simplicity
- Great for green teas and oolong
- Gets very warm to the touch
Best Travel Set: OMyTea Teapot Set
Much of my livelihood involves travel. That was the motivation behind the purchase of this handmade gongfu tea set from OMyTea. Today, it goes with me everywhere. Available in multiple sizes and styles, this particular set includes one traditional teapot, one teacup, a tea tray, a tea towel, and a portable travel case to protect it all from bumps and drops.
The pot holds a little over six ounces of water and the teacup just under two ounces. By those measurements, you'll get three cups of tea from this set. The teapot doesn't come with an infuser. Instead, there are small holes in the spout that act as a filter. This works well for large leaf teas but lets a few leaves through when you're brewing teas with smaller or finer leaves.
As with all containers of this variety, it gets scalding to the touch. You'll want to use the included tea towel to protect your hands while pouring tea and when holding or taking off the lid. It's a minor and expected problem if you've used this style kettle previously. If you travel, you will adore this full tea set!
- Handy for travel
- Travel bag offers superb protection
- Wonderful for steeping and resteeping
- Awesome size for one
- Lots of accessories included
- Container gets hot
- Built-in strainer not great for fine leaf teas
Tea is the second most consumed beverage, only outdone by water. Brewing tea isn't overly complicated, but if you're like me, you like to have the right tools for the job. The right tool for me for most styles of loose tea is the Willow & Everett Teapot. Neither the glass kettle or stainless steel strainer absorb scents or flavors, so you can switch between steeping a gunpowder green and Assam without skipping a beat.
This kit comes with a custom fit cosy to help the glass vessel retain heat. It works remarkably well! The teapot can also go in the microwave, sans stainless steel infuser and lid, to heat water before steeping. After a year of frequent use, my lid and filter are rust and stain-free. The drawback to a stainless steel lid is that it gets hot. Really hot! You'll need a towel or something to use as a buffer between your hands and the lid when pouring to avoid scalding your fingertips.
This glass kettle is dishwasher safe. If you're more of a handwashing person, it cleans up well there too. I learned this from experimenting. Unfortunately, this teapot comes with absolutely no directions, a major faux pas on the part of the maker! Despite those quirks, this an excellent teapot for brewing and serving tea. The vessel is large enough to make tea for up to five people, and the included cosy makes this teapot an all-around winner for anyone who enjoys a cuppa.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
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