Difference Between a Teapot and a Kettle

  • Last edited: October 5, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

I have been drinking tea for a while now and I know what the difference is between a teapot and a tea kettle. However, I recently talked to some people who didn’t know the difference and what you use them for. That is why I wrote an article that discusses the difference between a teapot and a tea kettle.

A teapot is used to steep tea leaves and extract flavors from the leaves. A tea kettle (clay, iron, or electric) is only used to heat water. You don’t need both to make tea, but they add a lot to the overall experience of brewing and drinking tea if you’re getting into the Chinese Tea ceremony.

Teapot and tea kettle

A teapot and tea kettle seem similar at first sight because they both have a spout, handle, and an opening on top. When you’re making tea, they both have water in them at some point. However, the purpose is different and you use them for different things.

If you want to make tea, you don’t really need a teapot if you use a tea strainer and a large mug. However, you need a kettle because this is how you boil water.


A teapot is a brewing vessel that you use to infuse tea. Teapots can have all sizes and shapes but they have one thing in common: you use them to steep tea leaves.

If you make tea and you follow the guidelines of the Chinese Tea Ceremony (Gong Fu Cha), you put tea leaves in a teapot, infuse them for a short time and pour the tea liquor into a pitcher.

The teapot has water in it to infuse the leaves, but you don’t use the teapot to boil the water. Doing this is usually not a good idea because teapots are not made for this purpose. You could damage your precious (and sometimes expensive) clay teapots if you put them on a heat source to boil water.

Teapots are usually very delicate and fragile so you really need to take care of them if you want to use them for a long time. Teapots that are used in the Chinese Tea Ceremony are usually a lot smaller than a tea kettle and can’t hold that much water. Their only purpose is to infuse tea leaves.

Tea kettle

A tea kettle has a completely different purpose and is not used to infuse tea leaves. The goal of a kettle is to heat the water you pour into your teapot. Tea leaves don’t really belong in a tea kettle.

Traditional tea kettles are made from iron or clay and are placed on a heat source. There is a variety of heat sources available and they work well with clay and iron kettles.

Nowadays, you have a wide variety of kettles. The most commonly used type of kettle is an electric kettle. You don’t put these kettles on a stove as you just need to plug them into an electrical outlet and turn it on. Keep in mind that you need to descale your electric kettle once in a while!

Iron tetsubin Tea Adventures
An antique iron tetsubin (kettle)
how to clean an electric kettle
An electric kettle
Clay Kettle Tea Adventures
A clay kettle

Tea kettles are made from more durable material than teapots so they can withstand the heating process a lot better than delicate teapots. They are also a lot bigger to boil 1 or 2 liters of water in one go.

Do you need a teapot and a tea kettle to make tea?

If you don’t want to get a teapot and a kettle, you can only buy a tea kettle. There are different ways to make tea without using a teapot. There are also some ways to heat water without a kettle, but it’s a lot more convenient to use one.

You could just use a tea strainer and a mug to brew a cup of tea. However, you can’t make really tea without hot water, so a tea kettle is pretty important and it’s easy to use. If you don’t have a kettle (electric or other), you need to use a cooking pot or pan to heat your water, which is tedious.

If you’re getting into the Chinese Tea Ceremony, it’s best to get a traditional clay or antique iron kettle and a good-quality Zisha teapot. Having both adds so much to the overall tea drinking experience and is how most people brew tea in the Chinese way.

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