We have a riddle for you: When is a one cup measure not 8 ounces?
Answer: When it’s measuring the volume of an English teapot!
No, really…it’s true. Okay, you’re not laughing. We have to admit it’s more confusing than funny.
For instance, you buy a 4 cup teapot for your Tea Set for Four. You expect it to be a 32 ounce teapot, 8 ounces times 4 cups. However, when it arrives it appears so small and you discover it is only 24 ounces. What gives?
Well, teapot manufacturers have a quirky measurement for teapots. It does actually make some sense and once you understand it, you’ll always know what to buy.
The first thing to know is that manufacturers measure the volume of teapots to the rim. Of course, you won’t fill it that high, but this is quirky measurement #1.
Secondly, the cup measurement used is 6 ounces, not the standard 8 ounces. This is based on 6 ounces of tea per cup. Therefore, a 4 cup teapot will hold 24 ounces which should be enough for four tea cups. Now you see that “cup” refers to tea cups not standard measuring cups.
Remember that we don’t fill our teapots to the rim? Here’s where the measurements fall apart.
Imagine you’re having guests for tea. Let’s say three guests. Maybe you fill your teapot with 20 ounces of water, about 2.5 standard cups. You pour for your guests and yourself, filling the tea cups about two-thirds full, 6 ounces. So you’re pouring about 24 ounces of tea, but the teapot only made 20 ounces. The teapot is too small!
Tip: We recommend at least a 6 cup teapot when serving four guests. A 6 cup teapot, which is 36 ounces to the rim, will brew about 32 ounces of tea in the real world.
And what about refills? Good question! The tip below is our tried and true solution for a quick second pot. It works as long as you’re using a good quality loose tea which is brewed loose in the teapot. Otherwise, you’ll need to pull the tea bags and start a new pot brewing.
Tip: As soon as you’ve poured the first pot, refill with more hot water and pop on a tea cozy. You’ll get another steep out of your leaves and be set for refills by the time your guests are ready.
So, a small mystery is solved. We hope you’re entertained and helped, not royally confused!
Below are the teapot measurements in ounces for easy reference:
2-3 cup Teapot: 12-18 ounces (A Tea for One Teapot)
4 cup Teapot: 24 ounces (Think Tea for Two…or Three)
6 cup Teapot: 36 ounces (Perfect for a Tea Set for Four)
8 cup Teapot: 48 ounces (Hard to find, but good for a Tea Set for Six. Otherwise, we recommend you buy a second teapot.)
Are you planning a tea party? You’re invited to visit Teapots ‘n More and browse our latest selection of teapots, tea accessories, teacups, tea miniatures and elegant tea sets.