As a tea drinker, I enjoy drinking tea from a proper teapot. Collecting teapots has become a hobby or should I say an obsession of mine. Teapots add so much fun to the art of tea drinking. When life can be so stressful, I find it calming to whisk myself away to my china cabinet and choose a teapot for the mood I am in on that day. Some days I may fancy flowers, other days I may feel like polka dots but one thing that is certain, taking good care of my teapots is of the utmost importance. I want them to last and continue to deliver great tasting tea.
When I acquire a vintage teapot, first thing I do is inspect it for leaks. I pour a little hot water in the pot and swoosh it around as to not shock the pot. Then I fill it with the rest of the hot water and let it sit for an hour or so. I have a hot water/reverse osmosis dispenser at my kitchen sink that my husband installed a few years ago. It has a 5 gallon tank under the sink and a series of water filters. It takes up a lot of room but it's worth it because we have clean water all the time plus an instant hot water tank. The hot water tank heats the water to around 170° F. Perfect for tea drinking.
After I determine the teapot to be sound and not leaking, I fill it again with the hot water and dish detergent. I let the hot soapy water sit for half an hour. When it's done, I rinse it out thoroughly and inspect it for any stains.
If the soap cannot remove the stains, I fill the pot again with hot water and add just a little spray bleach. I use the kind you get at the grocery store, Lysol with bleach in a spray bottle. I know they say not to use bleach but I use very little. It always seems to do the trick. If the teapot has a lot of stained crazing, the bleach will not work so don't use it. All it will do is get into the porous surface and make your tea taste terrible. The stains are usually imbedded into the crazing but no worries, those little crackles have heard many stories and know many secrets. That intrigues me. A crazed teapot is like a beautiful young woman who has aged. She is still beautiful but time has left her marks. They are just as beautiful as the pristine pots in my opinion. Thoroughly rinse the teapot, you don't want to leave any bleach residue behind.
Teapots need love too. This is why I am a stickler for teapot trays. I always use them to carry my teapots after I fill them with water. I hate carrying a full teapot across the room to the table by it's thin handle. I feel it can weaken them. You can use a trivet or beverage tray. I actually purchased guest towel trays from a shop called Jaye's Studio and use them as my trays. Of course I bought them in coordinating colors.
When you have finished drinking your tea, rinse the teapot thoroughly. Leaving tea residue behind will only add to the staining. Another important point is never shock your pot. Don't clean a hot teapot with cold water. Make sure you run the hot water before filling the teapot because hot to cold or cold to hot creates crazing. That's why I mentioned when you add your boiling water to your pot, only add a little and swoosh it around before filling the teapot all the way. This will definitely help to keep crazing from forming.
If you are new to drinking tea from a teapot and have just purchased your first pot or inherited one, make sure to take care of it right from the start. It doesn't matter if you have a $10.00 teapot or $1,000.00 teapot; following these few simple steps will help to protect your newest investment.
I hope many of you will try drinking from a teapot if you don't already. It helps to slow you down and take the time to enjoy a moment. I find that to be very important. Taking a moment for yourself or sharing it with others keeps the heart young. That's what life is about, enjoying the little things...we deserve it. And, you never know, you may become obsessed and start collecting them. But don't tell your significant other that I told you to...!