The Brown Betty teapot is a piece of English history. First produced in the seventeenth century, its popularity has continued to the present day. Affordable as well as beautiful, the Brown Betty is considered by many to brew the best possible pot of tea.
Brown Betty History
In 1695 a large deposit of red clay was discovered in the Stoke-on-Trent region of Staffordshire, in England. This particular clay was found to retain heat better than other types of clay, so it was only natural that potters decided to use it in the manufacture of earthenware teapots. At first the teapots were tall, similar to a modern coffee pot. Over time, however, the shape changed and by the nineteenth century the Brown Betty design had changed. It became the round teapot that we recognize today.
During the Victorian era the Brown Betty teapot became wildly popular. It has remained a best seller ever since.
Today, the legal right to manufacture the Brown Betty teapot is held by Cauldon Ceramics in Stoke-on-Trent. This company continues to produce the teapot in the same way and with the same design that has been used for more than 200 years.
The Brown Betty teapot is glazed with what is known as the Rockingham glaze. This classic glaze has a special formula that comes out a glassy deep brown, practically iridescent color. This Rockingham glaze was thickly brushed around the top of the pot and then fired in a kiln at a very high temperature, making a distinctively streaky appearance. As a result, each Brown Betty teapot is unique. If any other glaze is used, the teapot is not an authentic Brown Betty.
Brown Betty Design
A large part of the Brown Betty’s appeal is due to its traditional round shape which has not changed since the early nineteenth century. This particular shape gives the tea leaves plenty of room to swirl around as boiling water is added to the pot. This action allows the leaves to release maximum flavor with minimum bitterness.
You can recognize an authentic Brown Betty teapot by the markings on the bottom of the pot. Stamped into the clay will be the words “Cauldon, Made in England”. More recent pots will also bear the stamp “©Original Betty”.
If you are fortunate enough to own a Brown Betty, remember that even though it appears humble, it is a real treasure. It will definitely enhance your tea lifestyle because it is guaranteed to brew an excellent cup of tea.