The bone china tea pot is now seen as one of the best forms of teapot for producing a perfect cup of tea. The design of the teapot has remained largely unchanged since the reduction in taxes on tea by the English government, headed by William Pitt, allowed tea to become the beverage of the English masses in the 18th century. With the invention of bone china in the 19th century, the design and manufacture of the tea pot was complete, and remains largely unchanged to this day.
Through history different vessels have been used in the brewing of tea and coffee, with many historians theorizing that the tea pot is based on the design of either the Chinese tea brewing pot, or the Islamic coffee pot. With the opening of the trade routes between the UK and China, tea quickly became the drink of choice for the elite of the UK. Large taxes were charged through the 17th century and into the 18th; this led to the growth of the tea pot industry in Europe, creating fine teapots and tea services in silver and other fine materials.
The design of the teapot is distinctly European, with the English tea importers, the East India Company coming up with the classic globe and spout design in the 18th century that is still used today. Chinese artists made the East India Company teapots in China from porcelain before shipping them back to the UK with tea, Porcelain was chosen because it was able to withstand water damage on the long sea journey back to the UK.
Tea production and teapot manufacturing changed forever with the introduction of bone china by the Spode company in England in the 19th century. English tea pot manufacturers had spent the previous decades copying the porcelain produced in China. Spode introduced its own high quality bone china tea pot. With the Industrial Revolution bringing mass production of tea pots, the bone china version became known for its elegance and strength.
A number of manufacturers quickly developed their own bone china tea pot production techniques and innovations to make tea making simpler. Amongst the improvements made over the course of the last three hundred years have been the introduction of the tea leaf filter in the pouring spout. Innovations introduced by manufacturers including Roy Kirkham, Royal Winton and Adderly include a small hole positioned in the lid of the tea pot to reduce levels of pressure within the globe. Tea from a tea pot is still popular, with the bone china teapot still the best known method for brewing tea. True tea aficionados will insist that it is the ONLY proper way to brew tea.