Teapots are available in materials ranging from nearly indestructible cast iron to delicate and fragile glass or porcelain, but simple ceramic pots are the most common for day-to-day use. They’re typically inexpensive and relatively durable, and the pottery walls of the pot retain heat well enough to keep your tea at a drinking temperature. They’re relatively simple to use, though you need to keep a few points in mind.
While your kettle is coming to a boil, swish your pot thoroughly with hot water and then pour it out. Black tea steeps best at a temperature near the boiling point, and a cold pot would quickly sap much of the heat from your water. Pre-warming the pot also limits the risk of it cracking from the boiling water. Once the pot is warmed and empty, add loose tea at 1 teaspoon of leaves per cup of tea, plus 1 more “for the pot.” Alternatively, use the equivalent quantity of standard 2-cup teabags. Pour freshly boiled water over the leaves, and steep for five minutes or until the tea reaches the strength you prefer.
Care and Cleaning
Ceramic pots are usually glazed on the inside as well as the outside, and they can be hand-washed in soapy water. Rinse the pot thoroughly to remove any soap reside that might lend your tea an off-flavor. If the pot is too small for your hand, you may need to use a brush to clean the interior. A narrow bottle brush can be handy for removing stuck-on leaves from the spout. If your pot is unglazed on the inside, it’s intended to absorb the flavors of your tea. Never wash those pots with soap, because the soap flavor will become permanent. Instead, just rinse them with hot water.
References and ResourcesTeavana: Choosing a Teapot
TeaClass: Choosing Teapots -- Glass, Porcelain or Ceramic?