It is a known fact that the Brown Betty teapot brews tea better than any other teapot design. This is because of the shape of the pot which allows the tea leaves to be gently swirled around as the boiling water is added, and the special clay used in its manufacture that holds heat so well.
Why is it called a Brown Betty? Well…it is brown, thanks to a Rockingham Glaze. But why “Betty”?
In the 1800′s no self-respecting house in England was run without at least one servant. As “Elizabeth” was a very popular name at that time, odds were that you had a servant named Elizabeth. And Elizabeth – shortened to Betty – would have served the tea. Some believe that the special brown teapot came to be known as a “Betty” or a “Brown Betty“. But no one knows for sure.
Cauldon Ceramics in Stoke-on-Trent hold the exclusive design rights and are the sole producers of the Brown Betty teapot. They have been making Brown Betty‘s since the end of the 17th century. (Stoke-on-Trent is the historical home of English ceramics and features on the Tea in England banner.)
I have always owned a Brown Betty. At the moment, I have a 2-cup personal size, and a larger 6-cup size for when company visits. Based on my experience with a wide variety of teapot designs, I definitely believe the Brown Betty produces an excellent pot of tea – but the quality of the newer models by Cauldon are sometimes less than perfect.
Should you decide to buy your own Brown Betty, don’t be fooled by imitations! An authentic Brown Betty will have a small [removable] Union Jack sticker on it, and the bottom will be marked, “Cauldon, Made in England”. The newer ones are also stamped “©Original Betty”, and carry a swing card with the history of the Brown Betty.
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