One of the things I enjoy the most about having a stall at the market is being able to talk and interact with my customers. On average, only about one in every twenty people visiting my stall are knowledgeable about loose leaf teas, so consequently I end up fielding a lot of questions about teas in general and about the tea ware I sell. I enjoy the opportunity of talking with customers, explaining the differences between tea types and showing them how to properly brew tea and I love answering the myriad of questions I am asked.
I hear many of the same questions over again so I am listing the more common questions I am asked about our glass teapots and glass candle warmers along with the answer I usually give below. If you have any questions about glass tea ware that is not answered below, please feel free to drop me a line or add a comment below the post and I’ll do my best to answer.
“Are they glass or plastic?”
“They are made from glass.” (Often, at this point, the person will give the tea pot a little flick with their finger, or tap it with their fingernail, to verify my statement.) “In fact, they’re made from a glass that is similar in properties to Pyrex. It’s called borosilicate glass and is designed specifically to be able to withstand high temperatures. It is the same type of glass that is used for laboratory glassware.”
“What’s that thing inside (infuser unit) for?”
I take off the lid and lift the infuser unit out to show them. “It’s the infuser unit. That’s where you put the loose leaf tea, see it has small slits in the bottom so the water can infuse the tea leaves. Once you have brewed your tea you can actually take the infuser unit out and set it aside if you like. Or, if you are going to pour all the tea you can leave it in the teapot — it keeps the tea leaves from ending up in your cup, or getting stuck in the spout.”
“How much tea do you put in the infuser?”
“That depends on how much tea you are making, and which teapot you are using. For the smaller 600ml teapots, usually one teaspoon of most teas is sufficient. For the 800ml teapot you may want to put in a heaped teaspoon and for the 1200ml teapot, you would probably want to put a couple of teaspoons of tea in the infuser. Most people end up experimenting a bit with how much tea to use, it depends on the type of tea and how strong or weak they like their tea. But those amounts are usually a good starting point.”
“Why is the infuser so big, if you only put one teaspoon of tea inside it?”
“Loose leaf tea is very different from most of the teas you buy from the supermarket. See this one little teaspoon of tea?” (They nod. I scamper over to our tea sampling section and take out the infuser from one of our teapots that has already been used to brew tea.) “This is what it looks like once it has been steeped in water — see how much it expands?
“Hmm, “Made in China” — the quality probably isn’t that great!”
(Usually said, as an aside, to the person they are with.)
“Let me ask you a question, where did tea first come from?”
“Yes, that’s right. Did you know that China has been growing tea and making tea pots for hundreds and hundreds of years. In fact, they have perfected the art of making teapots and tea accessories to such a degree that most of the best (and oldest) teapots come from China — in 2010 a teapot was auctioned and sold for the equivalent of $1,602,107.00. These glass tea pots are hand blown, made from high quality glass and are very well designed. See the spout, it is made so the tea will not dribble out when you pour. The shape of the teapots and design of the infuser unit are balanced to allow the water to freely mingle with the tea leaves, producing the best tasting tea. When it comes to teapots, I always buy those made in China.
“Can I put them on top of the stove burner? I want to make Chai Tea.”
No, these particular teapots are not suitable for sitting on top of the stove, although you can pour boiling water into them.
“Are you sure I can put boiling water in it? Won’t it break?”
No, it won’t break. I use this type of teapot all the time for brewing my tea. The type of glass it is made from is specifically designed to withstand very high temperatures.
“Does the handle get hot?”
“No, again due to the quality design the handle never gets hot.”
“Does the teapot fit on top of the warmers you are selling?”
“Yes, the 600ml, 800ml and 1200ml teapots all sit nicely on top of the warmers, see?” (Demonstration follows.)
“I bought a teapot from you a few weeks back, but I dropped the infuser/lid. Do you sell replacements?”
“We have an assortment of replacement pieces, so it’s likely we have something that would fit your teapot. We don’t sell replacement pieces, but if you buy a pack of tea we’ll be happy to give you the piece you need at no extra cost.” (Please note: If you are looking for a replacement piece, we will need to know the type and size of teapot you have–infuser and lid sizes vary.)
“Do the candle warmers work? How do they work?”
“Yes, the candle warmers do a great job of keeping tea warm. You light the small candle, place it inside the warmer and set your brewed tea on top of the warmer. It will keep your tea warm for quite a while. I recommend taking the infuser unit out while keeping your tea warm, as the might end up over-steeping.”
“How long will it keep the tea warm?”
“That depends on the size of the teapot and how much tea is left. As long as the candle is burning, the tea will stay warm though I would recommend drinking it within half an hour or so.”
“Won’t the burning candle make the bottom of the tea pot black?”
“No, it does not burn the bottom of the tea pot. We use a candle warmer to keep our sample flowering tea warm, and see, the teapot is not black at all. The candle itself is smokeless.”
“What type of candles should I use?”
“You should use tea candles. There are different types of candles, we have found the best to use are the small, white odourless candles. Don’t use scented tea candles as they could alter the taste of the tea.”
“Do you sell the candles too? Where can I buy them?”
“No, we do not sell tea candles at present. They are very common, though, and easy to buy. You can buy them from the “hot dollar” type shops, or at Kmart or other similar stores. Remember, though, look for the scentless, white candles. They come in packs and are inexpensive to buy. One candle can usually be used several times before it needs to be changed.”