questionsdoes it matter what kind of teapot i buy?

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I highly recommend an electric kettle. Unless you really want to go the old-fashioned way and boil water on the stove and then fill your pot and then steep the tea. You can still do that with a kettle but it makes the process much, much faster since you're skipping the stove.

Edit: I should add that my wife collects teapots so we've got everything from English to Yixing to cast iron and we almost never use them for tea just because it's a pain. Generally it's kettle to cup and steep in either a basket or bag depending on the tea we're drinking. I've also got one of these which makes it easy to see how strong the tea is.

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My husband, a long-time tea lover, swears by this little gadget: http://www.amazon.com/Adagio-Teas-ingenuiTEA-Bottom-Dispensing-Teapot/dp/B000FPN8TK

It takes only a minute or two to heat a cup of water in a microwave. Place your fresh tea leaves in the ingenuiTEA, pour in the water, and let it steep for four minutes or so, depending on your tastes. Then just place the ingenuiTEA on top of your tea cup or mug, and the freshly brewed, wonderful tea will be released into the cup automatically.

It's especially useful when traveling, since microwaves are almost universally available these days and nearly all fast food places have hot-water taps alongside their soft drink dispensers.

EDIT: @Zuiquan's link goes to a site which also sells an almost-identical item.

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It should be a little one, preferably short, and stout.

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I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of coffee in your life. I don't know what I'd do if that happened to me. Neither of those statements is meant to be cynical, nor tongue in cheek.

Down to business. I would like to ask a couple of questions first, before answering this. I love tea (only slightly less than coffee), but am not as rigid on its preparation.

Are you drinking loose tea, or tea from teabags?

If loose tea, are you using an infuser, or similar item? (Infusers ranger from a simple strainer that fits over a tea cup to complicated systems, including the ball and chain types)

Do you add things to the tea? (Lemon, Milk, Sugar and Honey are all common)

I'll try to come back and check in a while, and add in some tips as well. In the meantime, one of my favorite types of tea cups is modeled after the Chinese version (and I often use this for coffee as well). Links in next comment.

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Character limits :-(

http://www.teanerd.com/2007/03/beginners-guide-to-gaiwans.html

http://www.amazon.com/Bana-Chinese-Traditional-Tea-Comprised/dp/B002BRX3MW

(BTW, I usually get very nice ones from antique and second hand stores, for FAR less than the Amazon link, although they often lack the saucer)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaiwan

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I have a proper Simplex kettle ( Still made in England ) It's heirloom quality. I got mine in mint condition on ebay for a fraction of the cost new.
I like the process. The whistle of the kettle.

I like to brew my tea in a teapot, b/c I always want more than one cup. And if I have leftovers I put it in a glass jar in the fridge for some ice tea the next day.
I use a porcelain or stoneware pot because they hold the heat nicely. I have used a friend's nice oriental cast iron pot, which I enjoyed and it held the heat excellently of course.

I think it really depends on personal preference. I have friends who are perfectly happy popping a mug in the micro and adding a tea bag when it comes out. Vive la difference !

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ingenuiTEA and the like are pretty good. You're probably better off with the iced ingenuiTEA if you're making tea for two (it's the same thing, just bigger).

I usually prefer cup inserts like this one: http://www.adagio.com/teaware/stainless_steel_infuser.html. They're smaller so there's less to warm up before brewing (and yes that's important!), but big enough to leave enough space so that you're not crowding your leaves. Don't fall for the tea ball and its million cutesy iterations, they just don't work as well.

You could also buy a ceramic teapot and throw the leaves in for brewing, then pour through a tea strainer into your glass. Again, the inserts for those tend to be too small.

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I have an electric kettle that I have been using every day for almost three years, and I would find it hard to live without. The temperature controls means that I can make black, green, white, or herbal teas at the right temperature, which brings out the best flavor of each. It also has a full boil setting, which is useful for instant soups and anything else that needs boiling water.. There are a variety of kettles available at different prices, but I really recommend one with temperature controls for the best tea.

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This is rather expensive, but it is what I've been using for the last 3 years or so. It has appeared on Woot a few times as well.

http://www.amazon.com/Breville-BTM800XL-One-Touch-Tea-Maker/dp/B003LNOPSG/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1386116474&sr=1-1&keywords=breville+tea+maker

If you drink a good deal of quality tea there is nothing like it. It can be set for different temperatures (for different types of tea: some of them are supposed to be seeped at less than 212), different times, and (most importantly) can be set to brew at a given time. It is the only one that I've found that is reliable and can be set the night before.

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I like Bodum teapots for loose tea http://bodum.bodum.com/us/en-us/shop/prodlist/624/. Have had a couple of the Assams, they hold the tea well and you can see the color, which is a nice touch because then I can stop the brew when it's the right kind of golden brown. Not cat proof though,

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I like to use a Keurig coffee machine to make tea. Tea K-Cups exist but are impractically expensive, but the machine does great with either tea bags or those reusable filter cup things. It's quick too.

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When we were in Australia I was impressed by the speed at which our hosts' electric kettle brought water to a boil. A full kettle, enough for six people to have one or two cups of tea, came to a boil in less than five minutes. It was faster than the microwave. Our hostess was disconcerted by my habit of refilling my cup from the tap and microwaving it, she seemed to regard it as a barbaric practice, LOL. Of course she was also surprised by how much tea I drank. It was frikken cold in Sydney. Anyway, if there was more than one person at my house I'd definitely have gotten an electric kettle.

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I use an electric kettle to boil water and then brew my tea in a small aluminum Japanese teapot. It works well for me.

Glass and porcelain are great for not effecting the flavor of the tea at all, but I and my kids tend to be too rough on kitchenware to keep them around.

Cast Iron is amazing at keeping temperature but you have to remember to prime the teapot first. Pour hot water in without tea and let it warm the kettle up first. Then pour it out and add tea and more hot water.

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Sh*t yes it does. That is the real answer.

Honestly when it comes to tea I fancy myself a purest. So much so that my wife broke my last tea pot over a year ago and I have had maybe two cups since then since I am particular about tea.

First of all - Ceramic tea pot. This is a must. You don't want to taste metal or plastic in your tea right? This gives it a more earthy flavor.

If you can make your own teabags or use a loose leaf strainer. You will know where the leaves are coming from and you can create your own blends. Also adding in some special herbs like sativa can help give your loose leaf tea a wonderful experience.

Tea like coffee is an art. I am particular about my coffee as well but not as much as I am about my tea. I do roast my own beans but that's cause I like to say I roast my own.