If you have one teapot
And can brew your tea in it
That will do quite well.
How much does he lack himself
Who must have a lot of things?
– Sen No Rikyu
The key to using your silver teapot is frequency; the more you use it the better it will look! In fact if used frequently and cleaned properly, (for help with cleaning your silver teapot click here), older silver can often look better than newer silver.
It is worth knowing a bit about the properties of silver that specifically apply to your silver teapot. Silver is the metal with the highest thermal conductivity. This means you must be careful when handling your brewing silver teapot; it is easier to burn yourself on silver than on clay. Another result of silver having the highest thermal conductivity is that tea leaves will be brewed at a higher temperature in a silver teapot, compared to other teapots. The higher the temperature of the water, the more the teal eaves will release their flavours in the brew.
Some think that tea tastes better in a silver teapot, and perhaps this is the case due to the higher water temperature. However, the material of the teapot is actually neutral when it comes to taste. This is because, according to its chemical properties, silver is actually stable in water. Thus, no taste is added whatsoever. Perhaps the better taste stemming from the silver teapot is in comparison to ceramic teapots that do affect taste; the brew from a silver teapot is conceivably more true to the taste of the tea leaves.
The general consensus when deciding which tea leaves to use when brewing with your silver teapot is to use your best tea leaves, specifically fresh teas with little roasting will function best, but try to refrain from overloading. This goes back to the intense flavour that is released in higher water temperatures- you don’t want a bitter taste!
So, you’re ready to use your silver teapot, what is the first step? Be sure to first warm the teapot by filling it with hot water. After a little while empty the hot water from the silver teapot. Then put the tea in the pot (making sure to use your finest tealeaves for the optimum taste), and cover the leaves with boiling water. This small initial step, although it may seem a bit precious, is crucial; this is because too sudden a temperature change can crack the pot. Wait for your tea to brew for a few minutes, or however strong you prefer your tea to be, and then pour. Another bonus feature of the silver teapot is that it retains heat for longer, therefore no cold tea for you! Once you’ve enjoyed your delicious brew, be sure to clean out your teapot properly so as to keep your beautiful silver teapot in presentation condition.
For more information on the history of the teapot click here.