By January 24, 2006

Japanese Cast Iron Tetsubin Teapot Review

After my rant about the Bodum Assam teapot we own, Lady Jaye bought me a very fine Japanese cast iron teapot for the holiday. Weighing in at a hefty six pounds empty, this black beaut has a removable stainless steel infuser basket.

The teapot holds about five cups of water. For most of our green and white teas, that’s about two tablespoons of tea per pot. I preheat the pot with hot water, and between the preheating and the water used for the tea I’d say that the tea stays hot for about an hour or so. I haven’t actually timed this, so your mileage may vary. I may be completely lying.

I’ve been worried about putting more flavorful teas in this pot (such as spearmint or cinnamon) because you are not supposed to use any type of soap on the cast iron. After drinking a pot of cinnamon tea, for example, the inside of the pot still smells like cinnamon — despite running hot water through the teapot repeatedly. Any suggestions? I’ve mitigated this issue by not having two pots of “flavorful” tea back to back, i.e., mint followed by lemongrass.

Hot whistle blowin’ action

  • Large capacity
  • Pours quite easily, especially in comparison to our previous teapot
  • Very handsome
  • Stays warm, especially after preheating it with hot water

Leaves ya steamed

  • If anything, it’s too big, especially when it’s just me drinking the tea. This is no fault of the pot itself, and I should buy a smaller one for when I’m drinking alone
  • Might be too expensive for some. This pot was at least $40 less than what Lady Jaye saw comparable teapots for at our local tea shop.

Japanese Cast Iron Tetsubin Teapot, I grant thee:

Five out of five STFU mugs!

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4 Comments on "Japanese Cast Iron Tetsubin Teapot Review"

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  1. cymwyd says:

    I would normally use baking soda to eliminate strong odors, but I don’t know how that would react with the cast iron finish. Do you leave the lid on the tea pot while stored? That might be part of the problem – let it air dry then store uncovered so the odor can dissipate. Even if you can’t actually use the baking soda on the finish, maybe you can place a small uncovered jar in the pot while its in the cupboard. I’m all out of ideas.

    Can you/have you contact the manufacturer and ask?

    And a pot that “was at least $40 less ” than comparable pots doesn’t sound too expensive 😉 $40 more on the other hand…


  2. larimar_sky says:

    A long time ago in a world far away…. yah yah yah We used to use river sand to scrub our cast iron dutch oven. At home I’ve used baking soda like cymwyd suggested. I’ve also heard/haven’t tried 1. Scrub the inside with a tablespoon of a course salt, such as kosher salt and rub with a towel. Rinse with cold water and 2. Boil a solution of cornstarch or rice starch and water in the pan, tilting the pan to make sure the boiling liquid touches all the way up the sides. Then pour out the resulting grease-water-starch solution, and peel off what ever dries onto the sides of the pan. Rinse the pan in hot water.

    The question that I have is Is there an enamel coating on the inside. Some of the Tetsubin tea pots have that. If so that changes the rules for cleaning the inside — you could use soapy water and a soft nylon brush or sponge.

  3. drfaulken says:

    Good advice, all the way around. There is an enamel coating on the inside. Nevertheless, the directions said not to use soap on it, perhaps the manufacturer is just worried about soap residue getting on the outside of the teapot?