Last Updated on 05/17/2020 by Desmond
No matter the past time or nowaday, the kettle used to boil water was all made from metal. The most we know is the silver teapot, which has a delicacy appearance. But it was only for the patricians or the royal family because of its expensive cost. Relatively, the iron cast and copper teapot are more suitable for the civilian.
Typically, the cookware for boiling water, we called it kettle; and which for brewing tea, we called it teapot. But to the metal teapots, they can also be used for boiling and brewing because it can be heated directly, so you can call it what you like.
Pros Of Copper Teapot
Easy To Process
As we know, copper is the first metal used by humans. The oldest copperware found by the archaeologist from northern Iraq that dates to 8700 BC. Due to the easy exploit and smelt process, the ancients add other types of metal into the copper when smelting to produce out the alloy like brass(alloying with zinc) and bronze(alloying with tin.)
To make a copper teapot primary in two ways.
One is weld processing. The body, handle, spout, are processing from different pieces of copper plates, then soldering them together. The style can be various and more delicacy. The Indian and Moroccan teapots mainly made in this way. And generally, craftsmen love to carve some beautiful designs on the surface. Some of them are complicated, that depended on the skill of the craftsmen.
And the other way is produced in one complete copper plate. The craftsman hammers it thousands of times to create out the shape. The surface is full of hammered print(some will be polishing), looks an original style. This method is often used in processing Chinese and Japanse copper teapots. The whole teapot(except the lid) is integrated, compared to the welding one, the solidness and airtightness will be better.
The storage volume of copper is large on earth. Copper is a soft and low melting point, so it is very easy to smelt and process, leading to a low cost. Before Chinese porcelain popularizes over the world, copper teapot plays an essential role in people’s lives for a long time in history. Compared to the silver teapots, it cost less; and to the iron cast teapot, it is not easy to rust.
Copper will be oxidized. The teapot made from the pure copper shows a rose-gold color, but once it got oxidized, the color will turn close to purple, but most of the time, it is still shining.
To make the copper teapot durable for long time use, people usually not process with the pure copper, but the alloy, like brass, which is alloy copper and zinc. The brass teapot is harder, malleable, and the color similar to gold.
The brass teapot also will be oxidized. Once it oxidized, the appearance will get darker, and lose the shining. But it will not like the silver teapot turns black, or the iron cast teapot gets rust. The oxidation film will protect the teapot from getting oxidized further, and improve the resistance to corrosion. So there are many antique copper teapots preserved well, which a high price in the market.
Copper Teapots In Different Countries
Even though we call it teapot, it was not only for brewing tea, also for holding water, wine, coffee, or to boil water. And in different countries, copper teapots come in a unique style. Let’s see how fun they are.
Morocco is a tea-love country, and Moroccan mint tea is famous. People use an elegant copper teapot to hold the drink. The first time you see the teapot, you may confuse it wasn’t copper, because most of them were silver plated.
The Moroccan copper teapot has a long spout, and people like to “high pour” when pouring tea, the tea infusion will draw a beautiful curve in the air. And because Moroccan believe in Halal Islam, the shape of the teapot is like a mosque.
In the bazaar, also you can see some big copper kettle. It’s filled with the cinnamon tea named hunja. The large body can keep the drink warm, in cold winter, take a cup will be awesome.
India is the largest black tea exporter in the world, and the copper teapot produce from it also is know-well. They were cooking the masala chai with a pot, then pour into the copper teapot for serving.
Most of the time, the copper not only use for tea. Indian people took the water from their mother river-the Ganges River, then stored in the teapot for some sacrificial activity or wedding use. Therefore, the status of the copper teapot in their mind is also very sacred.
You can’t describe the style of Indian copper teapot in a few words because it is various and complicated, just like their lifestyle, always surprise you. But most of the design is about something Buddhism.
But pay attention! If you wanner buy an Indian brass kettle for tea, don’t confuse with the Lota.
As the birthplace of tea, China has a deep copper teapot culture. Here we would not talk about the bronze, it’s antique and not for practicality. But due to the vast territory of China, the copper teapot also comes in various styles.
The most common is hammered copper teapot, which for boiling water when brewing tea. The most famous is a Brand Zhu Bingren copper teapot. It is said all of the product is hand made, and each one has been more than ten thousand times of hammering.
In the west of China, Xinjiang region, the teapot’s style is close to India and Pakistan, because they are also close in geographical. The Uyghur people love the copperware much, and they prefer pure copper. At the front of their house, there is a big copper kettle prepared for the customer washing hands. They also use a smaller one for boiling tea.
And in Sichuan Province, there is a kind of interesting copper teapot called long spout teapot. Literally, we know it has a long spout. It is said that in the past, the local tea house is very small and crowded, and the waiters hard to add water for the tea customer. So they created a long spout teapot to make the job easier. And it became the local tea culture gradually, the tea master(Local saying is Dr. Tea) can play the teapot like Gongfu, very amazing.
Although iron cast teapots are the mainstream in Japan, copper teapots also popular. The famous is a Brand Gyokusendo. They also produce pure copper teapot, and the processing method is similar to China. But they got a unique coloring technology. The copper teapot they made has a gradient color and a naturally generated pattern.
Is Copper Teapot Safe For Use?
Many people may worry about whether copperware is safe for use. Excess copper intake indeed leads to poisoning and cause vomiting, hypotension, melena, coma, jaundice, and gastrointestinal. Long-term ingestion may damage the liver and kidneys.
But the question is, will use a copper teapot to boil water leads to poisoning?
When boiling water, the teapot will release a small number of copper ions by heating. The merchant said that metal ions can help kill bacteria. That’s right, but the copper teapot’s effect is much lower than the silver teapot.
And these ions released from the teapot, most of them would combine with the tannin in tea, the left to be absorbed by the body is less. Copper is one of the essential trace elements, and the human body has efficient mechanisms to regulate copper stores. So most of the cases, use a copper teapot to boil water is safe.
That’s why in so many regions, people use the copperware a lot and live well.
Most of the copper teapots sold on the market have a metal liner, such as stainless steel, or some coating inside. Therefore, no fear of whether it is harmful to the body.
But pay attention, many people love to collect the old copper teapot. On these antique’s surface and inside is full of the verdigris, which is the oxide of copper, and toxic. These oxides are readily soluble in water when heating. If you use these antique coppe teapot for making tea, it will lead to poisoning, no doubt.
So, for the collecting antique copperware, it’s best to just take them as decorations, not to boil water or store drink. Of course, you can remove the verdigris of them at all by scrubbing, but it also reduces their collection value.
How To Care Copper Teapot
No matter your copper teapot is made from brass or pure copper, they also will get oxidized. The brass one will lose its shining; the pure copper one will turn in a darker color. Anyway, that’s not what we want.
And we know, verdigris is harmful to the body. Therefore, how to protect the teapot from oxidizing is essential. Fortunately, to care a copper teapot is easy.
When we got a new copper teapot, we may see a dust layer on the surface, and it’s dim. The first thing we should do is put it into a pot, boil with water for a while, and scrub it with a soft cloth.
Even though these dust may lay a protect film on the teapot and take a little effect to prevent it from oxidizing. But by the time flow, it will corrosion the metal slowly. And the dust also not good for health.
Ever time we use a copper teapot for tea, we should wash it with hot water again. And after using, do the same job, and dry it with a soft cloth, do not left any liquid behind.
Once you found the copper teapot getting some rust(verdigris), you must remove it, or it will get worse.
In the same way, put it into a pot and boil it with water. Take a wet towel and dip some toothpaste, scrub the rust part gently until you remove the verdigris at all. Then wash it with hot water again and dry it.
For collectors, it’s best to wax for the ornamental antique teapots after doing the clean job or polishing.
Whether you take the copper teapot for making tea or just collection, place it in a dry and cool environment when you are not using it.
Jill, “My Moroccan Teapot: Graceful and Functional, but Is It Safe?” It’s More Than Tea
“Copper toxicity,” wikipedia