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fiftydollars

Tetsubin

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I am looking for a high quality Japanese cast-iron teapot. I would like to get one of a good quality… something that is well made with good quality enameling.

Can anyone point me to a good manufacturer?

Any retailers known to carry good quality cast-iron teapots?

What should I look for?

Anything I should avoid?

What about prices?

Thank you,

$50.00

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I am looking for a high quality Japanese cast-iron teapot. I would like to get one of a good quality… something that is well made with good quality enameling.

Can anyone point me to a good manufacturer?

Any retailers known to carry good quality cast-iron teapots?

What should I look for?

Anything I should avoid?

What about prices?

Thank you,

$50.00

I have bought several tetsubin (as well as more than a few Yixing teapots) from

Holy Mountain trading company

I have always been completely satisfied with the products, both price and quality are exceptional.This is my most recent purchase.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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www.thefragrantleaf.com

www.shanshuiteas.com

www.imperialtea.com

www.uptontea.com

www.allteapots.com

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:shock::shock:

Just out of curiosity, what will/do you use a tetsubin for, fiftydollars and andiesenji??

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:shock:  :shock:

Just out of curiosity, what will/do you use a tetsubin for, fiftydollars and andiesenji??

My plan is simply to use it to brew and enjoy tea. I have a terrible fondness for tea and I am told that these are great teapots.

I am also an ardent fan of cast iron and I believe that these pots represent an ideal application for this metal.

I also like the infuser featured in most of the pots I have seen.

And most important of all, they are hella cool.

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Are these lined on the inside? I'm not sure I'd like to brew tea directly in an unlined iron pot.

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I reccomend the Iwasu line made in Morioto (sp?) Japan.

Hand cast, enameld on the inside.

Many styles and sizes.

Like you said, hella coooooool!!!!!

Cheers, T

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I am looking for a high quality Japanese cast-iron teapot. I would like to get one of a good quality… something that is well made with good quality enameling.

Can anyone point me to a good manufacturer?

Any retailers known to carry good quality cast-iron teapots?

What should I look for?

Anything I should avoid?

What about prices?

Thank you,

$50.00

Try www.Korin.com

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I reccomend the Iwasu line made in Morioto (sp?) Japan.

Do you have a link for them? I did a search, but did not find anything. Is is Morioto or Morimoto or????

OK. I think I found them. But it's Iwachu, from Morioka, Japan.

I was curious, because the tetsubin I've found outside Japan seem to me to be of lesser quality, but still quite expensive. If I make it to Iwate sometime in the next little while, I'll see if I can find some Iwachu to compare. I've always wanted a tetsubin.


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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For the last thirty years MOMA in NY always carried one or two of impecable design and manufacture. Now that they have become more easily obtainable, they stopped selling them. Takashimaya always has a few well chosen ones, but they are very expensive. Take a look at the pics on this links:

http://www.kougei.or.jp/english/crafts/0801/f0801.html

http://www.kougei.or.jp/english/crafts/0802/f0802.html

http://www.kougei.or.jp/english/crafts/0804/f0804.html

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Are these lined on the inside?  I'm not sure I'd like to brew tea directly in an unlined iron pot.

Mine are all lined on the inside with porcelain. In fact, one of my older ones, black hobnail on the outside and quite large, is actually prettier on the inside as the porcelain is a swirl of green, blue and orange, almost like marbelizing. It is somewhere in a cupboard, if I can find it with reasonable ease, I will try to get a photo of the interior.

I purchased it many years ago (early '70s) when a large Japanese department store opened in Los Angeles in the Wilshire district.

They were not easy to find, unless one had access to a Japanese community, until a few years ago.

The internet is wonderful for giving us many sources for interesting and unusual things.

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I reccomend the Iwasu line made in Morioto (sp?) Japan.

Do you have a link for them? I did a search, but did not find anything. Is is Morioto or Morimoto or????

OK. I think I found them. But it's Iwachu, from Morioka, Japan.

I was curious, because the tetsubin I've found outside Japan seem to me to be of lesser quality, but still quite expensive. If I make it to Iwate sometime in the next little while, I'll see if I can find some Iwachu to compare. I've always wanted a tetsubin.

Yes it is Iwachu made in Morioka Japan.

Ooops.......I blame the wine :rolleyes::wink:

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It's actually not so easy to get unlined cast-iron teapots from Japan in the U.S., and they aren't that common in Japan anymore either. According to one vendor I talked to, the FDA may require most unenameled pots to be labeled "not for food use". Originally they were used as kettles but modern ones cannot be due to the enameling and the increasingly common colored exterior finishes.

Iwachu is one of the most common brands in the U.S. because of the sales force strength of their importer, Kotobuki Trading. I was thinking about visiting their workshop when I went to Hanamaki and Morioka but got distracted with other crafty things to look at.

Japan has a wider variety of contemporary styles; the one I brought back from Japan for my personal collection is a tall with a square base and a red finish, and I haven't found anything quite like it here, even when compared to the squarish options from Iwachu. But most of the time, tetsubin are actually more expensive in Japan than here. That has something to do with quality, but mostly due to market acceptance of higher pricing, the occasional designer label, and so on.

The styles in Japan sometimes sometimes seem to be a little more hip or interesting, but most Japan-produced tetsubin are made in essentially the same way with very similar materials. The process is still very time-consuming and usually start-to-finish production of each tetsubin takes a couple of months (not requiring constant attention, of course). The quality of craftsmanship is usually only really dramatically differentiated with artisanal, usually extravagantly expensive ones, and these are showing off special metalworking skills that take more time to create. Actually Iwachu makes some in this category that are sold in the US, but I have been hesitant to buy any to stock.

Are these lined on the inside?  I'm not sure I'd like to brew tea directly in an unlined iron pot.

Mine are all lined on the inside with porcelain. In fact, one of my older ones, black hobnail on the outside and quite large, is actually prettier on the inside as the porcelain is a swirl of green, blue and orange, almost like marbelizing. It is somewhere in a cupboard, if I can find it with reasonable ease, I will try to get a photo of the interior.

I purchased it many years ago (early '70s) when a large Japanese department store opened in Los Angeles in the Wilshire district.

They were not easy to find, unless one had access to a Japanese community, until a few years ago.

The internet is wonderful for giving us many sources for interesting and unusual things.

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Thank you everyone for helping me find my teapot. The online research enabled by your suggestions was critical.

But I found my teapot at Asakachi Iron Teapot, in San Francisco.

I could not believe that there is a store in San Francisco devoted almost entirely to Japanese cast iron teapots... and related accesories. This store is way effin awesome, especially if you are looking for one of these Japanese teapots. They have a very vast assortment and their prices seem good. I shopped around before deciding on my teapot and when I got to Asakichi the exact teapot I was looking for was for sale at a lower price than I had found anywhere online.

The teapot,made by the Iwachu Casting Works in Morioka, Japan, appears to me to be of very good quality and I am particularly happy with the interior enameling. It looks a lot better than the enameling I saw in a higher priced teapot selling at a local retailer (Viking Home Chef). The other enameling was heavily pocked and coarse. By contrast the teapots I saw at Asakichi had smooth interior enamel that covered completely.

The biggest difference is right around the spout. The pots at the Viking store had spouts where the enameling looked like a complete disaster... pocked, entirely missing in some areas, and clumped in others. I imagine this is a difficult part to get right and it is something you want to take a very close look at before you make your selection. Even among some of the nicer teapots I've seen it appears to be a problem.

Anyway, the folks at Asakichi kick a lot of ass.

The woman who helped me with the teapot was very friendly and knowledgeable. She directed me to their sister store that sells Japanese green tea. Well, actually, she asked me if I liked green tea and then, upon hearing my answer, she whipped out a fancy pastel-colored tin and opened it in front of me while she scooped up a bit of almost fluorescent-green tea with a fancy little wooden scoop. The aroma of that tea entered my nose and I almost teared up with joy. She said that they overnight the tea from Japan regularly to keep a very fresh supply.

Downstairs, at the bottom floor of the Japan Center in San Francisco, I found Asakichi Antiques. It seems the owner has several ventures throughout the mall, the iron teapot place and this antiques store being only two of them.

At the antiques store I was shown to a nice selection of Japanese teas... but they knew what I was looking for... It turns out the tea that I had been shown was Takamado Kabuse-cha. They had higher quality tea, but the store owner seconded the recommendation of the cast iron teapot lady.

The package is entirely in Japanese, so I am glad that the store owner wrote down the name. He also gave me some tips and instruction on enjoying this tea. It is awesome. I can't say enough good things about this tea, the teapot, and the whole business of Japanese cast iron.

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The shops in Japantown are a mandatory destination every time I visit San Francisco - food, teas, ceramics, electrics, electronics, teapots, hardware

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Asakichi? OK, I found their website. http://www.asakichi.com/iron.htm

Hm... I'm beginning to realize that a tetsubin can be cool. Thank you for starting this thread!

As for Takamado Kabuse cha, I did some googling and found that Takamado (spelled 高円) is the best brand of its kind, followed by Rakuyo (洛陽) and Ryuan (龍安). To make Kabuse (lit. covered) cha, the tea plant is covered with a simple shield for a few days to grow new sprouts. Features include a mild taste and a vivid green color.

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Asakichi?  OK, I found their website.  http://www.asakichi.com/iron.htm

Hm... I'm beginning to realize that a tetsubin can be cool.  Thank you for starting this thread!

As for Takamado Kabuse cha, I did some googling and found that Takamado (spelled 高円) is the best brand of its kind, followed by Rakuyo (洛陽) and Ryuan (龍安).  To make Kabuse (lit. covered) cha, the tea plant is covered with a simple shield for a few days to grow new sprouts.  Features include a mild taste and a vivid green color.

Kabuse indeed means to cover the plants to mimic the way the tea plant would grow in a natural non human cultivation setting.

I have found tea grown as Kabuse to be the most intense and true to terrior as a tea can get.

I think this thread has been highjacked :cool:

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If there is to be a comparison or testing event for these teapots, it can be called Ryouri no Tetsubin.

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Ah.....the wonderful tetsubin. I absolutely love tetsubin.

Admittedly, one of the original reasons I got a tetsubin was due to me breaking two ceramic teapots in two years. I didn't want it to become an annual thing! :laugh:

Of course, aside from durability, they are great for tea and the aesthetics of a tetsubin are nice (at least, to me).

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I searched today for this thread because I noticed the inside of my several year old tetsubin was beginning to rust a little more than I last remembered.  But I am confused because all of you seem to be brewing tea in your tetsubin?  I use mine only for heating water.  I brew tea in a porcelain pot.

 

Does the small amount of rust really matter?  No complaints about the taste.  I read somewhere (sorry, I don't remember where) that one should never attempt to remove rust from a tetsubin.

 

 

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On 2/10/2018 at 9:56 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I searched today for this thread because I noticed the inside of my several year old tetsubin was beginning to rust a little more than I last remembered.  But I am confused because all of you seem to be brewing tea in your tetsubin?  I use mine only for heating water.  I brew tea in a porcelain pot.

Does the small amount of rust really matter?  No complaints about the taste.  I read somewhere (sorry, I don't remember where) that one should never attempt to remove rust from a tetsubin.

 

There are 2 types of tetsubin:

  •  the kettle type (like yours), which is unlined cast iron and can be placed directly on a heat source - its intended use, as it's meant for heating water rather than steeping the tea. This is the older, traditional style.
  •  the teapot type, which is cast iron that has been lined with black enamel. These should never be placed on a heat source, as they're purely intended for steeping.

It's increasingly rare to find the "kettle" type of tetsubin outside Japan, because it seems that most people in the West want to use their tetsubin for brewing and keeping the tea hot. Personally, I adore both types of tetsubin enough to have collected several, but I rarely use them for steeping tea. First of all, you have to be careful of the temperature (green tea in particular should be brewed at a lower temperature - not boiling), and secondly you don't want Camellia sinensis tea leaves to remain in the pot, or they'll become bitter. If there's an infusion basket, this means it's usually best to remove it after a few minutes, which is a step people don't always like to take. But, the cast iron certainly keeps the tea nice and hot!

 

Anyway, as for removing the rust -- I'm trying to find the best way to do this myself. A little rust is just fine, and indeed almost unavoidable. (Some people feel it's a good way to get more iron in your diet! :)) When there's more than a little rust, I usually scrub the rusted area under running hot water, using a stainless steel scrubber, then set the tetsubin on a heat source (on low heat) to ensure that all moisture has evaporated completely before I put it away again. This helps to get rid of the worst of it.

 

P.S. For what it's worth, larger "kettle-style" tetsubin are still used for certain styles of the Japanese tea ceremony. However, they are not always made from cast iron... and they are never used as teapots for brewing.

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