Clay tea pots have a long association with the culture of Chinese tea - being are used for brewing teas during tea ceremonies, as well as by traditionalists for individual consumption.
Teas are sensitive to foreign odors: Modern synthetic materials such as plastics and metals have a scent that can mask subtle delicate tastes associated with high quality teas. Clay does not have a scent that interferes with tea.
Tea leaves brewed in a clay teapot are believed to be more vibrant. It is thought that micro cavities embedded in the clay used to make the teapots allow tea to ‘breath’ through. This is a similar phenomenon to boiling green vegetables without the lid, as opposed to lid on (which results in greater degree of “stewing”). In this regard clay is superior to glass and ceramics.
Why so small a teapot?
The small volume of the tea accessory ensures the tea leaves are constantly flashed and brewed by a small amount of freshly boiled water as tea is served frequently. The result is a “fresher” serve of tea, as opposed to a tea made from excessively soaked leaves – which can yield a bitter edge to the taste.