文 By： 許玉蓮 Hooi Yoke Lien
Teapot is the core utensil for brewing tea. Most teapots have a handle, which allows the user to lift the pot to pour a cup of tea. There is more than one way to hold a teapot; the graceful and stylish way of handling a pot is never the only consideration. Safety is always the first principle of handling a pot – we must protect our fingers from boiling water burn. Also, we must not accidentally let go of the boiling pot and subsequently break it into pieces. This will surely spoil the pleasure of tea enjoyment.
The overall requirement to design teapot handle is that the handle should be combined nicely with the overall shape of the pot. This is to ensure smooth handling, for the sake of the user’s steady holding of the pot. When we have learnt the correct ways to handle a pot, it will enhance our tea-brewing outcome, and thus making our tea experience more interesting. In other words, better holding of teapot ensures better taste. Before learning how to hold the handle, we shall understand four types of teapot handle –
i. Ear-shaped handle
The ear-shaped handle is positioned on the other side of the mouth. An ear-shaped handle whose upper part is wider than lower part – is known as the upright handle. A downright handle is one whose lower part is wider than upper part. Overlying handle is one whose handle is taller than the pot.
ii. Arch handle
Another design of teapot handle whose shape similar to an arch bridge – a curve with two ends down and the middle up – as if a rainbow. Some pots have fixed arch handle – with both ends firmly fixated on the pot's shoulder. Some pots, on the other hand, have flexible arch handle – with both ends fixated by metal or bamboo or cane hook to the shoulders. When not in use, the handle naturally leans to either side of the pot's shoulder.
iii. Side handle
Side handle is a handgrip placed next to the pot's body, with the spout and mouth on the other side of the pot. Side handles are either of slanting or straight directions.
iv. Flyover handle
Fixated to one of the pot, the handle literally flies over the pot cover.
Pots are either handled single-handedly or double-handedly. The single-handedly way is performed when we hold the handle and lightly press the knob at the same time. On the tip of the lid there is a knob, designed for user’s convenience of placing and lifting the lid. The pot is leaning one side when we are pouring tea, we lightly press the lid so that it does not fall apart. Another type of knob is designed with a top hole, which we shall not cover up because the tea can never flow when the air does not go out from the top hole. Which worth our attention when learning to hold a pot.
Single-handed way suits pots of no more than 300cc. Hold the handle with our thumb and middle finger, and lightly press the knob with our index finger. Draw in ring finger and pinkie, slightly supporting middle finger.
Double-handed way suits pots of overlying ear-shaped handle. Hold the top of the handle with thumb and index finger, draw in the other three fingers and slightly support the index finger. Press the knob with the other hand's index finger, and draw in the other four fingers.
For pots of ear-shaped handle weighing over 300cc, hold the handle with index and middle fingers (or even more), press against the top side of the handle with our thumb. Press the knob with the other hand's index finger, and draw in the other four fingers.
As for pots of arch handle, press against the edge of the handle with our thumb, hold the handle with the other four fingers. Press the knob with the other hand's index finger, and draw in the other four fingers.
For pots of side handle, press against the top of the handle with our thumb, hold the handle with the other four fingers. Press the knob with the other hand's index finger, and draw in the other four fingers.
For pots of flyover handle, grip the handle from outside to inside – with four fingers from index to pinkie, press our thumb against the position of index finger. Press the knob with the other hand's index finger, and draw in the other four fingers.