Trying to find the best Japaenese cast iron teapot or tetsubin that will make tea time special? Then you've come to the right place...
Here's what you can expect to find...
- What you should look for in a cast iron teapots (if you're doing loose leaf).
- Can you use them on the stove?
- What's the difference between coated vs. non-coated?
- Are they easy to clean?
- Our top picks for cast iron teapots.
Best Cast Iron Teapots
Iwachu Tetsubin Silver and Black Goldfish Teapot
Decorated with beautiful goldfish, the Iwachu teapot is one of the smaller options on the list, measuring in at 22 ounces. Like most iron teapots it comes included with the stainless steel loose leaf infuser included which can be accessed by pulling off the lid. You can also remove the filter and simply add some boiling water and freshly squeezed lemon.
The interior is coated with enamel which is actually quite common for teapots. Because you don't season the teapot like you would a cast iron pan, having the enamel coat prevents iron from leeching into the water which would make it taste funky. It also prevents the build up of rust. However you still get all of the heat absorption benefits of cast iron as well as the traditional feel.
If you're wondering what "Tetsubin" means, it's simply the Japanese word for this style of teapot. Iwachu teapots are actually made in Japan for the final touch of authenticity.
Primula Blue Floral Cast Iron Teapot
As one of the more colorful options, this Primula teapot measures around the mid-range for these types of vessels, at 34 ounces. The design is meant to be reminiscent of Japenese cherry blossoms which we thought would make tea time feel all that more traditional. As usual, the teapot includes the stainless steel strainer as well as an enamel coated interior. The manufacturer specifically recommends that this is not for stove-top use (but none of them really are anyway).
Happy Bamboo Pink Tea Set
If you're going to be making tea for two people, the Happy Bamboo pot could be a great option as it already includes two cups, a trivet, and the stainless steel filter. It's can hold 18 ounces of liquid which means that its the perfect size for two, but add anymore people to the mix and the tea and it might be hard to share! The bamboo designs are consistent with the eastern feel of most cast iron teapots, but something about the minimalist design made it stand out to us.
One other thing that's great about this product is that the cups are consistent with the testsubin itself in terms of design and texture. The fact that it's a matching set makes it look really complete.
Iwachu Gold and Black Maple
This second teapot from Iwachu is pretty much the same as the first one. It has the same capacity (22 ounces) and same basic overall design. What we loved about this one was how the leaf pattern flows onto the lid of the teapot. For us it really completed the design. Black and gold are also modern colors which looks great when shown off on a traditional Japanese teapot.
Speaking of the design on this pot, did you know that you don't have to use honey to sweeten your tea? That's right, you can use syrup and it actually gives it more of a rich taste. Try it out sometime!
Sotya Cherry Blossom Cast Iron Teapot
For those looking to make tea for 4-6 people, consider this 40 ounce testubin as a potential option. It has pretty much the same features as the others, but is decorated with cherry blossoms which we thought was a nice touch for a tea ceremony.
The blossoms might be sort of hard to see on the initial picture, so make sure you zoom in to check out the full details in the design.
Sotya Uncoated Cast Iron Teapot
Unlike the other teapots on this list, this Sotya 40 oz pot isn't coated at all, which means that it can handle far more heat exposure - similar to a cast iron skillet. It's plainly decorated, but still catches the eye with rough texture and beautiful cover.
As stated earlier in the guide, uncoated pots have a greater capacity to rust and require extra special attention to make sure they're fully dry, but if you've got your heart set on the most authentic testubin experience, this may be a good pick up! Ideal for the traditional user who prefers to do things without modern technology.
What to Look for In Cast Iron Teapots
Given that a cast iron teapot isn't a piece of complex machinery, picking the best one comes down to the following criteria:
- Making sure it's actually cast iron
- The size of the teapot
- The aesthetics or design on the teapot
- Whether the teapot is enameled or not
The number one criteria should always be first and foremost, but the remaining two criteria are going to vary from person to person. For the most part, you aren't going to find many products on the market that are "bad". Therefore the final choice for most people usually comes down to design aesthetic.
Can You Put a Cast Iron Teapot on the Stove?
A common question is whether or not cast iron teapots are safe for the stove-top. The answer is usually no. Generally speaking, you don't want to boil a cast iron teapot on full blast, or even put it on the stove at all. Rather, you want to expose it to slow and gentle heat for warming.
This is traditionally done with small candles, known as tea lights, in combination with a teapot warmer. Modern-day cast iron teapots have an enameled coating (similar to certain enameled cast iron cookware) and many manufacturer's warn that excessive heat exposure will ruin the coating.
This video explains a bit about the history and how the "testubin" evolved to be used for serving and steeping rather than boiling.
There are uncoated teapots available and we've included one at the end of the list. Many users don't want to deal with the hassle of evaporating all of the liquid out of the pot after each use.
However, many users swear by the non-coated ones as they can produce unique flavors from the iron.
The video below shows someone boiling water on an induction cook-top and cleaning it properly afterwards. This includes doing the following:
- Making sure that the teapot is fully empty of water.
- Wipe down the exterior and the lid fully.
- Use an air blower or another device to remove excess interior moisture (including the spout tip).