There are few places in the world where tea has a more ingrained and more traditional character than England. Who hasn’t heard of English tea at five o’clock in the afternoon? And, of course, authentic British tea has to be made and drunk in an English porcelain teapot. And if possible, accompanied by a copious assortment of sandwiches and pastries.
Classic English teapots are distinguished by a markedly retro style, very elegant, without modernity and without extravagance. They are very traditional teapots, made of porcelain, in which tea is brewed in a traditional way by pouring hot water and letting it infuse for a few minutes.
What defines the original English teapots, therefore, is not the brewing method but their shape, design and composition. The most classic ones have floral motifs, which is what everyone first associates with the idea of an English teapot.
What are the characteristics of an English teapot?
English teapots are the porcelain teapots of a lifetime. The English, of course, preserve the great traditions and make tea drinking a real ritual. In addition to the porcelain teapot, a genuine English teapot also has a refined shape and a very characteristic design. They come in different sizes, with or without handles, but above all, never confuse it with a ceramic teapot! The English are very particular about these things.
- A classic English teapot comes with an infuser (almost always a stainless steel filter).
- They are always porcelain teapots. English faience teapots are rare, but also available in very specialised shops.
- They are not usually small teapots: the British tea custom is usually shared among several people or cohabitants, and English teapots are usually around 1 litre or a little more. It is also possible to find some models close to half a litre.
- There are two shapes or designs of English teapots. On the one hand we have the convex, almost rounded teapots, with an elongated gooseneck spout.
- They are usually of good quality and, despite the delicacy of the porcelain, are often dishwasher and microwave safe. Whether it is really advisable to put them in this type of appliance is another matter.
- In terms of ornamentation, we can find very clean designs (sometimes just the white porcelain and little else), and also with the classic floral motifs reminiscent of the English countryside. It is rare to stray from these canons in an English tea set.
- Paradoxical though it may seem, even though we are talking about English-style teapots, many of them are made in China, with porcelain from there.
Classic English teapot sets
British tea sets are generally made up of the following pieces:
- The English teapot (as you would expect).
- Sets of teacups with saucers, usually four, six or twelve.
- A sugar bowl.
- A small jug for the diners to pour milk or cream if they wish.
And of course, there is room for many variations within this configuration. But they will be adapted to British tastes and customs.
We choose the best English teapot for this year
To highlight the best English teapot, we are not going to choose an independent piece. Still, a complete British tea set made up of 15 pieces and, of course, made of immaculately white English porcelain, with delicate reliefs and golden trimmings.
These fifteen pieces are, apart from the teapot, the set of 6 cups with their six saucers, plus the milk jug and the sugar bowl. Naturally, it is a teapot with its corresponding set in a very classic, almost vintage style. It is not exactly an inexpensive set, but of course, you have to pay for quality.
Sadler English teapots (collector’s item)
Why are Sadler English teapots so sought after? Because they are collector’s items, highly sought after and in demand, sometimes not for their functionality but for their looks and just for the sake of owning and keeping them.
And what is Sadler? Sadler is none other than one of the most important British teapot manufacturers in history, with a history of more than a century that began in 1882 and was discontinued in 2000 due to the company’s financial problems.
As a result, Sadler teapots are nowadays revalued and increasingly sought after because their stock is limited. There are no more. The mainstay of their success was their bold and colourful designs, with a multitude of details inspired by typical British patterns.
However, it should be clear that in many cases, they are decorative teapots to be kept and maintained in perfect condition, and perhaps not so much for frequent use.