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Oct 26, 2006 07:00 PM

Do teapot warmers work?

Now that the weather's getting cooler, I'm in the market for a good teapot.

I think I have my heart set on a Brown Betty for aesthetic and quality reasons, but am wondering if people have advice about keeping tea warm once it's in the pot.

I know, I should just make a fresh pot when the old one gets cold, but it takes me a long time to finish a big pot by myself!

Do the teapots with warmers (and tealights) below them work? Do most teapots fare will with direct contact with a flame, however tiny?

Would I be better off knitting myself a wool/felted tea cozy?

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  1. This doesn't really answer your question, but I make big pots of tea regularly when I'm home during the day. I use an infuser and once the tea is brewed to my liking, I take the infuser out. When the tea is colder than I like I just heat a cup in the microwave.

    Another version of this is to make the tea very strong, almost like a tea essence. Then you pour just a little into a cup and top with boiling water. A Russian friend of mine used to do this.

    Tea cosies are really cute but not terribly effective.

    1. Greetings, Pei!

      The warmer you are looking at from Crate & Barrel -- how does it warm? Does it use a candle or is it plug-in? I would worry with a candle that the bottom of the teapot will blacken from the flame, or an electric cord will not be as portable as you would like. (Living in SoCal, I also worry about an open flame that I am not watching.)

      As cheryl_h posted above, I brew with a strainer each cup I drink. I do drink several cups a day, and it is quite easy. I use an electric Braun pot (I think I bought it about two years ago at Macy's) to heat the bottled water and it is super fast! I can heat about 2 cups of water in a minute or two; then I just pour it over the fresh tea strainer that fits into my 2-cup mug. Sometimes I re-steep with the same tea, and sometimes I just toss it and add a different tea for variety.

      These water heating pots are still available, and perhaps my favorite kitchen appliance!

      1. I have a lovely tea cozy, very thick and well padded, and it keeps tea hot in a pot for an hour or so, I think. Won't work if you want to drink tea all day, but certainly keeps it hot for awhile. I inherited it, it is about two inches thick on each side, whatever is inside, it is not high tech, it's several decades old.

        I doubt anything that applies ongoing heat will leave your tea tasting very good. I'd go with a cozy or a thermos, or just keep boiling water.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Anne H

          I lean towards your logic, it's the same problem as keeping coffee on a warmer all day. The volatiles that provide flavor are going to be driven off by the heat leaving you with brown water.

          My tea cozy is fine at dinnertime, if I want to keep tea hot longer I put it in a thermal carafe, good for 2-3 hours.

          1. re: Scrapironchef

            Does your thermal carafe impart any "off" flavors to the tea after it has been sitting in there for 2-3 hours? Or, does the tea taste "flat" after it sits for a few hours?

            1. re: liu

              The one I use has a glass liner so it has never been a problem with flavors.

              1. re: Scrapironchef

                Perhaps I refer to the plastic liner? I just never liked the funky flavor of liquids that sit in such a thermos, so I stopped using any such device long ago. Maybe it's time to give these carafes another try...

        2. I know this doesn't really answer your question, but like liu I also have the electric Braun pot. I've had it for about 3 years and it's been really useful.

          2 Replies
          1. re: studiocate

            studiocate - Have you ever used it for anything other than boiling water (I know you're not supposed to!)? This is the only use I have for it, but it certainly carries its weight in the kitchen and is well-deserving of the space it takes on the counter because it does heat water sooo well! I really love it!

            1. re: liu

              LOL It's never occurred to me to try boiling anything else in it! But it's so handy just for water. I used to have the Zojirushi water heater, but I didn't use *that* much hot water and wasn't sure if it was ok to leave water in the heater for 2-3 weeks. So I made the switch to Braun and have never regretted it!

          2. If you boil your kettle on a stove you could do what my father always did. He would turn the heat almost off, remove the lid to the kettle and put the tea pot on the kettle. The steam from the water in the kettle kept the tea warm.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bolivianita

              So smart! I'll have to keep an eye out for a kettle with a hole the right size. Or maybe a 1 quart sauce pot...

              1. re: Pei

                Yes, good idea! The multi-quart sauce pan might work if you prop the tea kettle up -- mostly out of the water -- with an inverted veggie strainer, perhaps.