Teaware comes in all shapes and sizes, so I thought it would be fun to do a little series on it. We’ll learn about the various types of tea are, what teas they are best for, and of course drool over pictures! Dearies, I take no responsibility for enabling your teaware buying habits!
Today we are going to take a look at the Brown Betty teapot. This pot may look ordinary, but it actually has a long history. The brown betty was born in England during the end of the 17th century. It’s made out of red clay and is still sometimes referred to as redware. This clay holds heat extremely well, making it a perfect teapot for serving a bunch of people. It has a round shape that allows the tea leaves to fully expand. A ‘rockingham’ glaze was added in later versions of the teapot and is brushed on the sides and allowed to drip down. This glaze further enhances the brown hue. If you look at some vintage Brown Betty pots, you may see the subtle drippy glaze.
Of course it’s brown, so that’s part of the name. But where does ‘Betty’ come from? Well, it’s not known for sure, but in the 17th century many households had female servants. Elizabeth was a very common name, and so when she served the tea, the name somehow became associated with the teapot. As I mentioned, this is more folklore than fact. But I do like that the origin of the name is steeped in mystery! I tried asking all of the vintage teaware in Kat’s kitchen, and not one of them knew if the story was true or not.
The size, shape, and heat retention of this teapot makes it perfect for a conventional black tea blend. Be sure to either use a strainer inside, or better yet put a strainer on your cup to filter out the leaves as you
pour. If you’re not going to pour out the whole pot after brewing you should pour the remaining brew into another pot, so the leaves don’t keep steeping and make the brew bitter.
A few companies manufacture Brown Betty type teapots, but Cauldon Ceramics holds the rights to the name. They make the authentic pots. If you want the authentic thing, make sure Cauldon is on the label and there is a sticker of the British flag on the pot. If you purchase one of these, you know you’re getting the clay that will retain the heat.
There are a few variations in design of the Brown Betty, but they, all have the round shape and distinctive brown color. Kat picked up her adorable brown betty in a little thrift shop in town. She definitely has a weakness for British tea ware and could not resist it. She’s quite a sweet pot- she loves telling stories of her past life in Stoke-on-Trent where she was created, and lived with a nice family on a quiet bit of land. She served tea a few times a day back then, but nowadays she gets to relax a bit more and usually gets called for duty on the weekends.
A brown betty is a lovely pot to have in your cupboard for everyday use of black teas. Do you have one? I’d love to hear about it, and how often you use it.