Tea has been around for thousands of years. In fact, it’s so old that it can be tough to know when exactly it was invented. According to Chinese legend, though, it all began in 2737 BCE, when Emperor Shen Nong was boiling water and a leaf from the tree above fell into his pot. Today, we’re still discovering new ways to enjoy his invention. And to make the perfect brew, you’ll need a good tea pot.
Whether you’re making black trea, green tea, Oolong or another variety, a sturdy—and aesthetically pleasing—teapot is essential. It must be made of a heat-resistant material so that the warm tea does not cause the pot to crack, and the handle must be ergonomically designed so you can firmly grasp it without risk of getting burned or spilling. And yes, there is a difference between a teapot and a tea kettle. Kettles are used to heat up boiling water on the stove, while teapots are the containers you put the hot water and leaves in to steep and serve. In other words, while kettles can get away with looking less stylish, teapots should have a bit of flair about them—you may be using them at the table to pour for guests after all.
Of course, those are just the basics, and different teapots will suit different tea drinkers both in terms of form and function. Here are four of the best from Amazon for you to choose from.
1. Towa Japanese Iron Teapot
Towa’s teapot is a real showstopper. It looks great on the table (or your mantle as décor), and is good for you to boot, as its traditional cast-iron construction actually improves water quality, releasing iron ions and absorbing chloride ions. The resulting tea is sweeter and softer than it would be otherwise. Keep in mind, though, that it’s a bit smaller than other teapots, and can only hold 22 ounces of water. But for a small gathering, it’s perfect.
2. Sweese Porcelain Teapot
When you think of a teapot, one like Sweese’s likely comes to mind. It’s a classic silhouette made of a strong, chip-resistant porcelain. And while it may not be the most eye-catching thing ever, there’s a beauty to its simplicity. Plus, if you don’t prefer the blue, there are four other color options available, including a more poppy, red hue. Beyond its design merits, it’s a great pot as well, capable of holding 27 ounces of tea at a time, and with a stainless-steel infuser for any loose teas you’ll be serving. And if you’d rather not hand wash it, you don’t have to: it’s dishwasher safe.
3. Kitchen Kite Glass Teapot
Glass teapots like Kitchen Kite’s put your tea in a fishbowl so that you can see every leaf and speck floating around in the brew. It might not be for everyone, but it’s worth noting that a glassy, more transparent look can help lighten up your tabletop—as opposed to other, ceramic pots. But this teapot isn’t just one note. In fact, it comes with a slew of other perks that will help tea neophytes get started: four glass cups, a set of loose leaf green, jasmine and blooming flower teas and a stainless-steel infuser, which can be removed if you’re serving up tea bags instead. And while it may look fragile, the borosilicate glass is strong enough to hold up over many uses.
4. Hiware Glass Teapot
Most teapots are not safe to use on the stove. In fact, that’s what makes them teapots: Instead, they hold tea, pour it out of a spout and look pretty on a table. Not so for Hiware’s pot, which can just as easily be used on the stove (at medium heat) as it can be on the table for serving. This is possible because it’s made of incredibly durable borosilicate glass, so it can serve two functions in one. It also has a removable infuser for loose leaf tea, and is dishwasher safe—though the brand notes that hand washing may be best.