Award-winning author Lyz Kelley is a disaster in the kitchen, a compulsive neat freak, and a tea snob. She loves writing about strong women, who have endured challenges, and the men who’ve enriched the lives. Learn more about Lyz and her books at her website.
I love curling up with a good book and a nice mug of tea. In fact, I’m pretty much a tea snob. I have a whole cupboard full of tea, teapots, cups, and infusers. My favorite teas are:
Earl Grey De La Creme: A black tea from the Full Leaf Tea Company.
Chamomile Citrus: A fruit/herbal team made by Mighty Leaf Tea.
Orange Blossom: A black tea also crafted by the Mighty Leaf Tea company.
Candy Cane Lane: A green tea from Celestial Seasonings.
How do you make the perfect pot of tea?
According to experts, fill your kettle with fresh cold water—cold being the operative word. While the kettle is heating up, pre-warm your teapot and teacup by filling each with hot tap water. When the teakettle is ready, empty the tap water from your teapot and add the tea. Use one rounded teaspoon for each teacup. As a general rule, let the tea steep 1 to 2 minutes for green teas, 2 to 3 minutes for oolong teas, and 3 to 5 minutes for black teas. Then again, I’m an all-day tea drinker, and I’ve been known to double dunk my tea bag—gasp—a sin, I know.
Yet, have you ever wondered about teapots?
A friend of mine has this massive teapot collection, and I became curious, as every writer does. I wanted to discover the history of teapots. So I did a little research, and here is what I found.
The story of teapots begins with their necessity. Tea has been around for centuries. Early on, tea came in the form of bricks. A chunk was cut off and then broken up so that it could be boiled in water.
Shortly after, powdered tea became popular. The ground tea was mixed with hot water in a deep, wide bowl. This type of bowl helped facilitate the whipping of the powder by whisk into a froth. When the powder settled, the tea was drunk out of the bowl. As the drinking of tea continued to develop, its regular consumption required an efficient, and later an aesthetically pleasing, vessel for brewing and drinking.
It wasn’t until the 1300's, when leaf infusion started, making the use of a teapot necessary to allow for the tea to steep. Teapot-like vessels have been around in China for thousands of years, but they were originally used for wine and water. These vessels had a spout and handle, and eventually were adopted for the steeping of tea.
|An Antique YiXing teapot|
The most popular teapots from this time were produced in the YiXing region of China. These teapots were made of purple clay and were known to be of fine texture and high quality. These teapots were hybrids of the earlier drinking bowls and the modern teapots. The vessels were not only used to brew tea, but were drinking vessels with a spout from which an individual would drink.
By the 15th century, both the Chinese and Japanese were drinking tea for ceremonial purposes, and the beverage was no longer regarded solely for its medicinal properties. Chinese scholars and intellectuals became involved in the design of teapots. The "cult of tea" in Japan, led by the artist Sen Rikyu (1522-1591), became an impetus for stylistic and artistic evolution in YiXing teapot designs.
The Japanese imported Chinese artists to teach them potting methods, eventually developing new techniques for creating these delicate wares. Red clay was used to create what we now know as shudei teapots.
When Dutch importers brought tea to Europe in 1610, the teapot also made the trip and this sparked new teapot designs. Early on, the European teapot designs were inadequate due to poor workmanship and poor quality of materials. A breakthrough occurred in the early 1700's when new clay was discovered. With the help of new technology, fine porcelain was created that today rivals the best that China had to offer. While a china teapot or porcelain teapot holds heat the best, a ceramic teapot or stoneware teapot is fun and mood setting as well as a great conversational piece.
So, there you have it—the history of the teapot. I also studied all the different kinds of tea, and included some of that research in one of my books. Fun, fun, fun!
Question: Are you a tea drinker? What’s your favorite kind?
Elkridge Series, Book 6
Karly’s animal shelter business is failing. She’s desperate to find options having too many animals, and not enough foster parents, trainers, or adopters to keep food in the bowls. When her first love returns home from Afghanistan wounded and alone, she offers Thad a win-win situation—a job in exchange for training a special needs dog.
Thad wants to be left alone. He feels responsible for not spotting the IED before it killed his friends. When Karly drops off a dog for him to train, memories of the past haunt him. He doesn’t realize he still loves her until she mysteriously disappears.
Corruption is tearing the small town of Elkridge apart. Thad is brave enough to give up his life to save Karly, but is he brave enough to fight to live? Will she be strong enough to survive? Will fate allow them to be together?