After all of these year photographing tea, enjoying tea, collecting tea pieces, and blogging about tea, I’m amazed, shocked, and more than a little embarrassed I did not possess my very own Brown Betty teapot.
The September/October 2015 issue of Tea Time Magazine arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. I usually reserve a special time and place to enjoy this magazine cover to cover. I am always accompanied by a pot or cup of tea to peruse the issue with. This particular issue held my interest in more ways than one. I found recipes I was really dying to try. Teas I was very interested in sampling. Places I wanted to visit the next time we’re in London and elsewhere (in New Jersey of all places!). A book I wanted to read and a wonderful article written by Betty Terry about the British history of the Brown Betty teapot.
As I read the article I was impressed by the craftsmanship and quality of this simple, “everyday folk” teapot. “Generations of Englishmen believe that this teapot makes the best pot of tea in the world...”.
Now, wait a minute! I had heard of the Brown Betty, but now that I knew the history of how they’re made with the red clay found in Staffordshire, England over 320 years ago and that their rounded shape can produce a “superior infusion“, why have I never looked into purchasing one for myself? I own a myriad of teapots, teacups and saucers made in England found throughout the years in antique shops and second-hand stores, but no where have I seen a Brown Betty teapot. No excuses.
There is a local purveyor of British Goods in Freeport, Maine. I knew that this particular shop always had a tent at the annual Maine Scottish Highland Games. I looked on their website and they DO sell the Brown Betty teapot. I promptly emailed them to see if they’d be bringing any to the event which was held last weekend. They didn’t indicate they were going to be selling any, but that they’d be more than happy to set one aside for me at their tent if I wanted to buy one. Perfect! I ordered up a 2-cup teapot immediately.
I realized on the drive home from the SCOTTISH games that my complete “stash” of purchases from the day was entirely British. LOL I bought a “Keep Calm and Drink Tea” mug, a large bag of loose Yorkshire Gold tea, and of course picked up my reserved Brown Betty teapot at $34. I don’t know if that’s expensive of not, but it sure was convenient for me and awfully kind of them to go to the extra trouble of bringing it. Again…a very English haul from the Scottish games! I hope my Scottish brethren don’t flog me for my purchases.
I couldn’t wait to try out the teapot, but here in Maine we were suddenly experiencing a feisty, week-long heat wave with temperatures in the 90’s and humidity and dew point levels off the charts! No… not especially good HOT tea drinking weather.
After the temperatures finally simmered down a tad, I was finally able to enjoy my first pot of Yorkshire Gold tea in my very own Brown Betty teapot. I have to say, the wait was worth it.
I love strong, earthy black tea and Yorkshire Tea is one of THE best out there. Not to mention whenever I buy or drink some I’m always reminded of the three short, but wonderful days we spent in the walled-city of York, England in 2013. I was seriously jet lagged after not sleeping on the flight over, but as soon as we left the train station and the city started to unfold before me, the history and charm of this ancient place woke me up…sort of like their tea!
I think one of the things I love most about having good loose tea in a teapot with a proper teacup & saucer is that it’s a time-honored tradition of not only aristocratic society but of the British general public. They have tea with company like American’s enjoy coffee. I don’t enjoy coffee. Never have…never will. And I certainly don’t find any sort of fascination with the history of coffee and how it’s been made and used over the years like I do with tea.
For today’s photo shoot (yes, I call it that!) the “theme” was rustic and homey. (photo gallery is below) I had eaten my scones from last weekend so I whipped up a loaf of apple bread, cut some phlox & coreopsis from my garden and placed them in a plain Mason jar for a pop of color and late-summer scent. I also chose my antique teacup & saucers that were given to me as a gift when I moved to Maine by two of my good friends. ironically, the Camelot pattern on the teacup and saucers is Ironstone Ware by Myott Son & Co., from Staffordshire, England…the same place where the Brown Betty Teapot originated!
I liked thinking I had just spent a lazy Saturday morning baking up a loaf of apple bread in my cottage kitchen in the old Aga Range, a few close friends had stopped by, I cut a small bouquet of flowers from my cottage garden, and we shared a bite to eat and a comforting cup or two of Yorkshire tea out in the garden using my old Brown Betty teapot that had been handed down to me from generations before.
One thing I hadn’t anticipated for my photo shoot was how reflective the teapot was because of its dark color. I could see my reflection in it as I was snapping photos. It’s showing its “new” with how shiny it is I suppose.
Although I could have been brainwashed by the potent, rave reviews I read, I do believe this adorable teapot DOES make an exceptional pot of tea. The description on the card says the teapot “coddles the brew and gives the perfect cup of tea.” I can’t say I disagree. The same attention to detail and labor-intensive manufacturing processes are still used today by Adderley Ceramics in England, which means you’re holding a bit of British history and tradition in your hands. Well, done!