Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tivelasi Pottery, Handmade Ceramic Teapot

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Tivelasi Description:
This piece is thrown on the wheel in stoneware in three pieces, the handle is added to the lid, and the spout is attached.

Our ceramic teapot is hand-brushed with food-safe, colorful glazes with Autumn decoration.

Each piece of our pottery teapot is handmade entirely by the hand of the craftsman who has manufactured it.

Sample provided by Tivelasi Pottery

My Review:
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This review will be a little more picture intensive than normal because teapot and mugs! Not just teapot and mugs but handcrafted in Bulgaria.

When Tivelasi Pottery contacted The Everyday Tea Blog, I couldn't say yes fast enough. Then I started looking over their teapots and found myself flipping pages trying to settle on one teapot. There are a lot of styles, colors, and sizes from which to choose.

Before I get too far along let me introduce Tivelasi Pottery. As you will see from the site they produce a wide range of products. I'll let them explain. From their About Us page:
TIVELASI Ltd was officially launched in 2014. Our aim is to promote the amazing handmade Bulgarian ceramic items. We provide a wide variety of handmade products: serving plates, bowls, beer mugs, coffee cups, milk creamers, wine cups, pitchers, teapots, salt pepper shakers, fruit bowls, and ashtrays. All of our products are available in different sizes, colors and patterns. 
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I finally settled on the 23 oz classic style from the Autumn collection. This one struck me for multiple reasons. First, I wanted something with color but not too out there, if you know what I mean. Then I wanted a smallish teapot as I seldom have the opportunity to share large quantities with others. A 2-3 cup pot would be sufficient. (For those who do need a big teapot, Tivelasi has teapots ranging from this 23 oz pot up to a 50 oz teapot. I narrowed it down to a couple favorite options. Next I looked at the different cups and mugs that were available with each style - they vary from style to style so look  around.

Now, I know almost zero about Bulgaria (I've watched their soccer team on TV), and even less about handcrafted pottery. So I did a little research. Some of the pottery is earthenware and some is stoneware.

What is the difference? If I understand correctly, earthenware is made from a clay that is porous. Unglazed earthenware easily absorbs moisture and can absorb the tea. With a Chinese Yixing pot for instance, this is a valued property but may require dedicating a single type tea to each pot. Stoneware is denser, impermeable, and more resistant to scratching.

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As far as the absorption properties of each ceramic type, it makes no real difference here as the teapots are fully glazed. The glazing is lead free and food safe by the way. Also, at this point I'll mention that according to Tivelasi all their handmade pottery items are Dishwasher, Microwave, Food Safe. Even so, I am certain this beautiful set will never see a dishwasher or microwave.

I decided upon the Autumn teapot because it is stoneware. It should therefor be more resistant to my less than graceful antics. Bonus for me is the mugs I chose are earthenware. I figured this would allow me to get a little feel for both ceramic types.

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The mugs I chose are 8.5 oz. Also available is a cute little 4.7 oz cup. The cup is stoneware.

The mug is lighter in weight than I expected. It is comfortable to hold and the lip is easy to sip from with no dribbles. Yeah, that stuff is important to me. Once filled the handle remains cool.

Turning the mug upside down, I get a look at the beautiful red clay which is exposed only here around the edges.

On the bottom is stamped Handmade and I'm assuming the craftsman's name.

Another interesting feature is the lighter colored areas on the mug and the teapot are recessed and rougher than the shiny glazed areas. It is obvious from looking at the bottom that the lighter areas are glazed and not exposed ceramic.

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As for the teapot, it feels substantial when you hold it, even while empty. I love the colors and the textures. It sort of looks old, slightly worn, and metallic, but of course it isn't.

The interior of the teapot is fully glazed.

The profile is low so there is no danger of tipping this over. It is the perfect size for my needs. So how does it work?

I noticed right away there are a couple things to think through if this is going to be a working pot and not just a beautiful addition to the decor. The opening in the top is very small. You are not going to put a hand inside this pot. Also the handle over the top seems like a concern for filling - but it turns out this really wasn't a big deal.

In order to test drive my teapot I chose to use my favorite comfort tea - Ahmad Earl Grey. I considered using teabags for a brief moment as it would be easy, but decided I would figure out how to use loose leaf. For a moment I considered just putting the leaf in the pot. I decided I don't have a proper flexible tiny bottle brush to reach down the spout later during clean up.

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Then I remembered I had these neat reusable fabric drawstring bag thingies. I added enough leaf for two mugs.

Next I warmed the teapot and mug while heating water in my kettle. Do not put your ceramic teapot on the stove to heat the water. It is not designed to be used this way.

When I poured the boiling water into the teapot, I quickly realized my concern over the handle was not an issue. Didn't spill a drop.

Put the drawstring bag of leaf in the pot and steeped my usual 3 minutes. The pot itself was quite warm when the timer beeped. The handles were more than comfortably cool.

The tea poured easily into the mug. I did have to be careful not to tip so much as to allow tea to overflow out the top. By the time I finished my first mug several minutes had passed. It was enough time for the mug to get near room temperature. Not the mugs fault. I type slowly. The point is, I poured my second cup and it was still warm - not hot - but much warmer than the end of my first cup.

I am quite happy with the beauty and utilitarian aspects of this teapot. I know I will treasure it for years.

You can find Tivelasi Pottery Autumn Handmade Ceramic Teapot here.


  1. Great post and beautiful tea set. I have always loved tea.

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