Do titanium tea sets exist?

Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

If money were no object, what metal would you prefer for your tea set?

Sterling Silver
Total votes: 8

Jan 30th, '07, 21:30
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Do titanium tea sets exist?

by snuvidkid » Jan 30th, '07, 21:30

I would eventually like to buy a nice tea set. I'd like one that looks as elegant as some of the sterling silver tea sets that are out there similar like the one in this link

However, there are two problems with silver: #1.) Price (I'm in college), and #2.) Silver tends to tarnish and I don't want to deal with that.

Does anybody know if there are any titanium or any other type of tea sets made of a metal (I don't want ceramic, etc) that looks as nice or similar to the one shown in that link? Plus I hear titanium is really durable and lightweight. It's cheaper too isn't it? Any input is welcome.

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Jan 31st, '07, 01:16
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by Mary R » Jan 31st, '07, 01:16

I don't think you'll find something like that in anything but silver. There's a lot of historical and practical reasons formal services are silver, but I'll let you reasearch those. Keep in mind, though, that a ring done in silver might be $59, where the same piece in 18K gold is $499, and platinum $1,499. Titanium and stainless steel tend to be used when one desires a more industrial/modern look, leading me to think that it would be difficult to find them in a traditional/classic service. At any rate, none of these are brilliant at retaining heat and some will likely give your tea a bit of a metallic taste.

If your heart is set on a service that looks like the one you've linked to, I'd encourage you to revisit silver. You will have to polish it occasionally (that was my childhood chore), but there are a lot of products and storage techniques that will radically reduce your polishing days. You could probably snag a great deal buying from an estate sale, eBay, or an offbeat antique shop.

If it's the overall elegance you're attracted to, I'd recommend looking at china patterns. This is not a "cheap" alternative--the pot alone could be $230 (there's a reason people register for these at weddings)--but it's a way to have that same sort of refinement without the pain of a silver service. Check out Waterford or Mikasa, but definitely keep the words "bone china" and "porcelain" in mind. These are both very different than "ceramic."

As a final note--you're in college. I graduated last year. I had some very nice possessions...but that didn't stop roommates and visitors from breaking (or blatantly stealing) a hella lot of them. Heck, my best friend even totalled my car. Pretty things tend to be especially fleeting in our age bracket.

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Jan 31st, '07, 04:20
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by EvenOdd » Jan 31st, '07, 04:20

I wouldn't want any of the above choices, including silver or stainless steel. The handling of hot water is all about heat retention which metals are not very adept at. Right now my teapot and gaiwan set are porcelain. My travel mug is stainless steel, and I'd like to get one with a ceramic lining on the inside for taste neutrality. My water kettle is also stainless steel, but that's because I don't have the money for a nice cast iron kettle.

Jan 31st, '07, 11:00
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So all metal sets won't keep it warm?

by snuvidkid » Jan 31st, '07, 11:00

In reply to Mary's post, are you saying that silver retains heat a little better than the other metals I listed, or are they all about the same? I wasn't clear if you were just referring to Titanium and Steel or if that included silver.

Also, since EvenOdd said metals in general don't retain heat, what about if I bought a porcelain tea set and drank my tea out of a sterling silver tea cup? Do you think the cup would help the tea cool down quicker so I could drink it sooner without burning my tongue? I know that sounds a little silly, but I think silver is a really pretty metal and think it'd be a nice thing to have.

Speaking of porcelain, how long would a 32oz pot keep my tea warm?

Oh and one other thing; I just found a tea set online that has porcelain lining inside that is sterling silver overlay. Would something like that work? It's not silver plated. It's coated with real silver, but has a porcelain lining on the inside.

Speaking of warm and retaining heat, it's freakin' cold here in Oklahoma City right now and these dorms suck at staying warm!

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Jan 31st, '07, 11:48
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by Mary R » Jan 31st, '07, 11:48

Sorry, I was a little ambiguous in my metal references--I was trying not to make a monster post. (Like this will become)

No metal is a great heat retainer. Think back to your middle school science lessons. Metals are conductors; rubbers, woods, and ceramics are insulators (and a bajillion other things, but moving on).

Some metals, however, do hold heat better than others. For instance, copper is a quickie, which is why it's often used for wiring and in some higher end cookware. It heats rapidly and evenly, then cools rapidly. Metals that have a complex rather than compact/dense matrix, though, can also have some insulative properties. Cast iron, for instance, often contains 2-4% of carbon or sillicon and other impurities in its matrix, which helps it hold heat a bit longer than most metals.

I'm no metallurgist (basically trying to rembember as much of my undergrad chemistry as possible here), but from what I read it seems that silver is sort of similar to cast iron in this respect. It often contains enough impurities to introduce heat-keeping gaps into the overall molecular matrix. The other metals are easier to purify, and it is very easy to control the alloy formulas for steels allowing for a comparitively wide range of steel grades.

Soooooo....of all the metals you've listed, I believe that silver would in fact hold heat the longest, but this particular hypothesis will go untested by myself. :) Of all the metals I've listed, I think cast iron would win the crown.

Porcelain is an interesting case. It's a pretty darn good insulator, but because the clay is so pure, it can be crafted into much thinner and more delicate pieces. A thin walled pot will keep your tea warm longer than you might think...but not above an hour (if that). The large bone china and porcelain pots are meant to serve a large number of people, making their insulation time a rather moot point.

If you want to be a gracious host...go for a large silver or porcelain pot. If you want to sip tea while you study or talk into the wee might want to check out some more "everyday" teaware. The ugliest Brown Betty will keep tea warm longer than the most delicate porcelain. Lots of pots even have warmers, like Adagio's Concert Teapot.

Finally, metal cups burn lips. Your lips are the most sensitve skin surface on your body, so something you can hold comfortably could even burn your lips. You *can* find sterling silver teacup-looking cups, but these are actually punch cups, and punches tend to be icy. You'd be better off with a silver pot and a porcelain cup.
Last edited by Mary R on Jan 31st, '07, 12:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Jan 31st, '07, 11:58
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by Mary R » Jan 31st, '07, 11:58

Oh, the silver over porcelain does sound very neat...and I think it would keep heat longer than silver alone (but again, not for above an hour if that). It will also definitely help with taste neutrality, too. My personal attraction to it is not having to polish the inside. That's the hardest part of cleaning, and when I was little, I was always a little scared that I didn't remove all the silver polish and would poison my mom's friends. :) Will you please share the link?

If you really want silver or a silver look and you really want a long heat time, you might want to research samovars. They're not cheap at all, and they operate on their own brewing philosophy, but they're also very pretty and have a rich cultural history attached.

Wikipedia's two cents on samovars

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Jan 31st, '07, 13:21
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by Space Samurai » Jan 31st, '07, 13:21

I have to agree with evenodd, I wouldn't want any of the above choices. All my teapots are clay.

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Jan 31st, '07, 14:46
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Silver teacup

by scruffmcgruff » Jan 31st, '07, 14:46

If you really want silver on your teacup, you could take a look at something like this:

I don't know if you'd be interested in that particular design (I know I wouldn't), but I have seen more contemporary-looking ones. I believe they are Russian teacups (in no way related to this thread), but I could be mistaken. Basically, it's a metal holder and a glass cup, so you get the look of metal and the insulating properties of glass on your lips. Hope this helps!

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Jan 31st, '07, 15:41
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Re: Silver teacup

by Chip » Jan 31st, '07, 15:41

scruffmcgruff wrote:If you really want silver on your teacup, you could take a look at something like this:

I don't know if you'd be interested in that particular design (I know I wouldn't), but I have seen more contemporary-looking ones. I believe they are Russian teacups (in no way related to this thread), but I could be mistaken. Basically, it's a metal holder and a glass cup, so you get the look of metal and the insulating properties of glass on your lips. Hope this helps!

More on the same line of thought in a more contemporary and easy to care for version (not silver)... ... NJ5WU2C2U6

They have some interesting glass teacups made of double wall glass which I have had on my short list for a while.

As far as just silver teacups, I cannot say for certain, but I would think the cup would transfer heat so much so that you could burn your lips. If you are drinking green tea, you may get away with it...but really hot black tea...ouch.

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Mar 12th, '07, 01:11
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by tenuki » Mar 12th, '07, 01:11

I'd like mine made of clay please.

Mar 31st, '07, 04:44
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by Mike in KY » Mar 31st, '07, 04:44

I'll take clear glass because it's inert flavor-wise, it washes up so well and also thin walled glass teapots require no preheating.

I have a stainless pot ( a Savoy teapot - google it) with a welded spout that will taint the flavor of tea and cause it to turn opaque and murky. I mentioned that before, and now I figured out that it is an electro-chemical reaction. The weld metal or the spout itself is a slightly dissimilar metal from the body of the pot. Put two dissimilar metals in a liquid and you get an electro-chemical reaction.
To contradict Mary and EvenOdd, ( sorry you two) the low mass of the pot takes almost no heat from the boiling water and the well designed hinged lid keeps the tea very warm for a half hour, by which time the tea is opaque and also tastes very bad. It almost works as well as a thermos for holding in the heat. I have thought about having the inside of the pot gold or silver plated because it holds in the heat so well and looks nice too.

Actually, I steep my tea in a glass pot and then pour it into a glass lined Corning Thermique thermos. It works great. I wouldn't change a thing even if price was no object.

As for a titanium pot, that would be just the thing for making tea in a combat zone.

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