Brown Betty Teapot


“This, yes this, is the one, made from stuff which will change your mind, affirm your status and in the morning make you a cup of tea”.

Past 15 years that has been the mantra proclaimed in far too many meetings. The simple idea that because a material used is ‘luxurious’, then it must be the best. That’s fluff, nonsense and other nouns you may care to use. 

Those products are nothing more than marketing fancy. 

The real art is in understanding that making items skilfully, with care and using the correct materials results in a superior product. Both high and low, cashmere and terracotta.

One of my favourite shirts is beautifully made from what has been politely described as ‘poor cotton’. The clever bit is that said cotton is exactly the right fabric. One which has improved with wash and wear. 

What does this have to do with teapots? Well, we are nothing if not a nation of hot drinkers. Tisanes and coffee have captured our hearts, but in a crisis? Kettle goes on and a proper cup of tea is prescribed. 

The tea itself? Well that’s an individual choice. Not my place to argue. The method, open to interpretation, your Nan was right though, a warmed tea pot is best.

As for the pot, the West Sussex based car company of tea pots is the Brown Betty. Less a branded product, more an example of the power of good and efficient design 

Although pleasing to look at and to use, this is a workhorse. Made in Stoke-on-Trent by hand, from insulating red Staffordshire clay, with perfect tea brewing curves bathed in a durable Rockingham glaze. 

There are teapots made from finer materials, with cuter shapes and fancier glazes, none of which are as good. All of which make you miss the original.

Not much has changed since it’s nigh on every kitchen table Victorian peak, and despite the occasional proposal of improvement, no one has managed to better it.

Mine was bought from the grocery section of Albion just after it opened on Redchurch Street in 2008. I suspect I was being a bit flash. Little did I know it was a rather wise investment, because as long as you warm the pot first, it perfects that most British ritual, the preparation of a better cup of tea.