7 Best Japanese Cast Iron Teapots in 2021 Reviewed

Japanese tea culture has a quiet, transcendent quality the modern world needs. Steeped in tradition, it invokes a more peaceful time.

If you’re ready to enjoy the tranquility of a perfect brew served with artisanal flair, the Japanese cast iron teapots introduced in this guide are as sophisticated as they are practical.

Our recommendations for Best Japanese Cast Iron Teapots:

History of Tetsubin — Japanese Cast Iron Teapot

Tetsubin is a traditional Japanese tea kettle featuring a spout, lid, and arching handle. Made exclusively of cast iron, their origin isn’t entirely clear, but researchers suggest they were developed from primitive, sixteenth-century water-bearing pots.

tetsubin tea kettle

Popularized by China’s introduction of coarse loose leaf — a departure from the powdered matcha favored in Japan — Tetsubin were designed to brew tea and water on a brazier, or hibachi, over coals. In the 19th century, modern stoves made them more collectible than practical, and styles evolved from simple and unadorned to artistic masterpieces. Today, they bring a touch of tradition back to our busy lives.

If you are interested in learning more about the Japanese tradition of making cast iron teapots, I recommend that you watch this short video:

THE ART OF IMONO - Japanese iron casting

Advantages of Japanese Cast Iron Teapots

Space-age materials make great mattresses, but here’s why cast iron makes a better teapot:

Virtually Indestructible: Cast iron is the quintessential forever cookware. It’s heavy but so durable it survived cross-country travel with the pioneers. There are vintage pieces on the market today that look like new. Porcelain and glass teapots are lucky to survive years, much less decades. Extreme overheating can cause warping and pouring ice-cold water over hot, dry iron can cause cracks. But if you treat your kettle gently and keep it clean and dry between uses to ward off rust, it will serve you — and perhaps the next generation — for a lifetime.

Heats Evenly and Retains Warmth: Cast iron heats evenly, extracting more nutrients and subtle flavors from your favorite loose leaf tea. Heat retention is superb, so your second cup will be as warm and comforting as your first.

Chemical-Free: Health experts agree — pure cast iron is one of the world’s safest cooking materials. It’s an alloy containing iron and carbon plus traces of healthy, naturally occurring substances like sulfur, manganese and phosphorus. Unlike “advanced” cookware, it contains no unpronounceable additives or chemicals known to cause cancer. If you want your tea to be as safe, wholesome and nutritious as possible, a cast iron kettle is among your best options.

Welcomed Source of Dietary Iron: Iron is a dietary mineral that supports oxygenation — your body needs it to survive. Yet low iron remains the world’s most common nutritional deficiency. Cooking food in a cast iron pan can double or even triple its iron content — a bonus for vegetarians who frequently suffer from iron-deficiency anemia. Brewing tea in non-coated cast iron kettle has similar benefits.

Offers a Traditional Tea Experience: Traditional Japanese tea ceremonies are symbolic of peace and harmony. They’re a bonding opportunity and a way for friends to take a break from their worries. So whether you’re hosting a simple afternoon tea or preparing for a spiritual tea ceremony, you can honor the tradition with a Japanese cast iron kettle. Made from authentic materials in time-honored designs, they invoke the spirit of friendship through relaxation.

Best Japanese Cast Iron Teapots Reviewed

We chose 7 of our favorite cast iron teapots and sets to be reviewed here. If you prefer a teapot not made in China, check out the first 2 options in this guide. They are made in Japan while the other ones are manufactured in China.

Browse through the different options below and choose according to your budget and style preference. We have included both traditional black hobnail designs as well as more colorful options.

Best Overall: TOWA Workshop Japanese Tetsubin Cast Iron Teapot

Made in Japan, this classic tetsubin-style kettle is our top pick for its superior quality and value. Available in sizes from 0.3 to 1.3 liters, it features a popular hobnail design and a long graceful spout for a smooth, even pour.

Specifications:

  • Volume: 1300ml / 44 oz (also available in smaller sizes)
  • Stovetop Safe: Yes
  • Made in: Japan
  • Infuser Included: Yes

The kettle is equipped with a removable stainless steel infuser, it’s stovetop-safe and ready to brew for two plus guests — the 1.3 liter size makes about 4 cups. The ergonomic fold-down handle is either bare or hemp-wrapped for safety depending on the size and design you choose. Unlike models with only a few inches of protection in the center, TOWA Workshop wraps its handles generously from side to side, so there will be no more burns on your hands.

The kettle’s interior is fully glazed with heavy-duty, rust-resistant enamel for easy cleaning — glazing also prevents iron from absorbing unwanted flavors and odors so today’s mild oolong won’t taste like yesterday’s spicy chai.

TOWA Workshop is so confident you’ll be pleased with their tetsubin teapot that they guarantee your satisfaction — if you don’t love it, send it back. You won’t get a better kettle for your money.

Pros

  • Excellent overall quality
  • Stylish traditional design
  • Great value for money
  • Pours nicely
  • Available in several different sizes and designs
  • Made in Japan

Cons

  • None

Elegant Authentic Japanese Tetsubin Kettle: Iwachu Teapot with Gold and Purple Goldfish

Enjoy tea for two with this delightful cast iron teapot. Manufactured by Iwachu, a Japanese company with a century of experience crafting cast iron cookware, you’ll be thrilled with its sturdy build and refined finish — the quality is obvious.

Iwachu Japanese Iron Teapot Tetsubin Gold and Purple Goldfish

Specifications:

  • Volume: 650ml / 22oz
  • Stovetop Safe: No
  • Made in: Japan
  • Infuser Included: Yes

With a 22-ounce capacity, it brews 4 small cups — perfect for afternoon tea with a friend. It’s well-balanced with a clean pour and comes with a fine mesh, stainless steel infuser for your convenience. The enameled interior is brew-safe only, but it’s a breeze to clean. Rinse and dry it between uses to keep it sparkling.

If you admire authentic Japanese art, you’ll appreciate this kettle’s traditional goldfish design symbolizing good fortune — it’s an Iwachu original. Pair it with cups in shades of black, purple or gold to create a stunning set. The finish is durable but not scratch-proof and the handle isn’t wrapped, so use it with care.

At nearly twice the price of the TOWA Workshop’s tetsubin, this teapot may seem like a lesser value, but the aesthetics are worth the price. It’s a petite kettle with bold styling that packs an artistic punch.

Want to take a look at more teapots manufactured by Iwachu? Click here to see their full selection available on Amazon.

Pros

  • Beautiful authentic design
  • Superb quality
  • Durable and easy to clean
  • Crafted by Iwachu with over 100 years of experience

Cons

  • A bit pricey

Best Cast Iron Teapot Set: COOGOU Japanese Style Tetsubin Tea Set

Crafted for tea ceremonies, this cast iron kettle set makes every sip an uplifting experience. You’ll receive a 27-ounce teapot and four matching cups plus a wooden lid holder and trivet to protect your table. Each is decorated in a whimsical “magpie on plum” design to bring you good luck.

COOGOU Japanese Style Tetsubin Tea Set

Specifications:

  • Volume: 800ml / 27oz
  • Stovetop Safe: Yes
  • Made in: China
  • Infuser Included: Yes

Stovetop-safe for boiling water, the flat bottom is a perfect fit on any style cooktop from gas to induction. The enameled interior is among the smoothest we’ve seen for quick cleaning and ultimate durability.

Equipped with a removable fine mesh infuser and hemp-wrapped handle, this kettle goes from stove to table in a flash, so you can enjoy the finer things even when you have less time. For the price, you can splurge on a set for yourself and one for the tea lover in your life. It’s an extraordinary value.

Pros

  • Sturdy and durable
  • The set is available in 3 attractive designs
  • Great value for money
  • Includes a trivet to protect your table

Cons

  • The cups are also made of cast iron and can get hot to touch

Budget Pick: Juvale Black Cast Iron Tea Kettle Set

A quality cast-iron teapot doesn’t have to break the bank. Take a quiet five this afternoon with a friend and Juvale’s kettle set for two.

Juvale Black Cast Iron Tea Kettle Set

Specifications:

  • Volume: 1200ml / 40oz
  • Stovetop Safe: No
  • Made in: China
  • Infuser Included: Yes

The set comes complete with a 1.2-liter enameled kettle, two 3.4-ounce cups, and a matching trivet in a black hobnail design — the clean lines and monochromatic finish blend into any décor. A complimentary stainless steel infuser basket holds your favorite loose leaf or bags.

The Juvale is enameled and rust-resistant but not stovetop-safe, so use it only for brewing. But if you want a simple serving kettle that transforms every cup of tea into a special occasion, this is the little kettle that can.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Includes 2 cups and a trivet
  • Appealing traditional design
  • Well-made and durable

Cons

  • Should not be heated on stovetop

Great Value for Money: Hwagui Japanese Cast Iron Teapot

This well-appointed teapot from Hwagui is our top pick’s closest competitor. Similar in style to the TOWA Workshop kettle with a black hobnail finish and hemp-wrapped handle, it’s fully enameled and stovetop-safe. Available in sizes from 23 to 41 ounces, it serves from two to four — each comes with a reusable fine mesh infuser.

Hwagui Japanese Cast Iron Teapot

Specifications:

  • Volume: 800ml / 27oz
  • Stovetop Safe: Yes
  • Made in: China
  • Infuser Included: Yes

There are three minor differences between this kettle and the TOWA. The lid on the TOWA is recessed — the Hwagui has a small raised edge. Functionally, both lids stay put when you pour, so the design is a matter of preference.

The TOWA’s handle also has a more pronounced curve that makes the pot feel better balanced, but it’s not a deal-breaker. The real contrast is the price — you’ll pay a third less for the comparable Hwagui. If you’re on a budget, it’s the bargain you’ve been waiting for.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Great overall quality
  • Stylish and durable
  • Safe to use on any stovetop

Cons

  • No enamel coating means that it’s harder to clean properly

Most Color Options: Toptier Japanese Cast Iron Teapot

Add a splash of color to your kitchen with Toptier’s cast iron kettle. Highly decorative and practical, it comes in a rainbow of vibrant colors to brighten tea time. Choose from contemporary wave or delicate leaf patterns embellished with gold. The painted finishes are washable and long-wearing.

Toptier Japanese Cast Iron Teapot

Specifications:

  • Volume: 900ml / 30oz (other sizes also available)
  • Stovetop Safe: Yes
  • Made in: China
  • Infuser Included: Yes

Kettles come in five sizes from 22- to 54-ounces. Fully enameled, rust-resistant and safe for all cooktops, they’re equipped with an extra-fine stainless steel mesh infuser for anytime convenience. The handle isn’t wrapped, but it folds down for storage and fits neatly in small spaces.

Toptier drop tests its kettles from one meter to a cement floor, so you know your teapot will stand the test of time. Competitively priced, you can afford to buy one in several colors for different moods and seasons. Kettles are smartly boxed and come with a welcome guide for gift giving.

Pros

  • Plenty of color and size options
  • Beautiful and durable
  • Affordable
  • Stovetop safe

Cons

  • The handle can get hot to touch

Unique Design: Toptier Diamond Design Japanese Cast Iron Teapot

Toptier takes its passion for style a step further with this ultra-modern geometric teapot. The diamond pattern is the perfect complement for the sleek lines in contemporary kitchens. Available in seven bold colors and three sizes — 30-, 40- and 52-ounces — it’s among the freshest and most distinctive designs on the market. This isn’t your grandmother’s teapot.

Toptier Diamond Design Japanese Cast Iron Teapot

Specifications:

  • Volume: 1200ml / 40oz (other sizes also available)
  • Stovetop Safe: Yes
  • Made in: China
  • Infuser Included: Yes

Like Toptiers Wave and Leaf Series teapots, Diamond Series care kettles are enameled and stovetop-safe. An extra-fine stainless steel infuser keeps loose leaf confined. Short spouts make for easy pouring, and the handles are unique — they’re square instead of curved, offering a stable grip with a potholder.

If your want a cast iron kettle but don’t want to settle for the same-old styles, Toptier’s Diamond Series makes the creative statement you’ve been looking for at a price you can afford.

Pros

  • Stylish and unique design
  • Available in different sizes and colors
  • Great overall quality
  • The handle provides a good grip

Cons

  • The handle gets hot when heated on a stove
  • The bottom has paint that can get burnt on a stovetop

Cast Iron Teapot Buyer’s Guide

A cast-iron tea kettle is an investment. Consider these key points before you buy.

Material Quality

Like most materials, cast iron comes in different grades with matching prices. The difference is less in the material than in how it’s forged.

Kettles made in Japan are of the highest caliber, subjected to precision standards and strict quality control measures that result in a smoother, more refined finish. The downside is you’ll pay a premium of 30-percent or more.

Kettles from China are created for the mass market, and so the emphasis is on keeping the price down by taking shortcuts. Products are completely safe and fully functional but the finish is less polished.

The kettle is for both brewing tea and making an attractive addition to your kitchen. Only you can decide where quality and your budget meet.

Tetsubin or Tetsu Kyusu?

All Tetsubin are made of cast iron, but not all cast-iron kettles are Tetsubin. Modern versions with a glazed enameled finish are called Tetsu Kyusu.

Tetsu Kyusu are rust-resistant and simpler to clean because they’re enameled, but most should be used only for brewing and not to heat water because high temperatures can crack the finish. Select models are cooktop-safe.

Tetsubin are more versatile and can be used to boil water. The interior finish is rough, but tannins in tea react with the bare cast iron to form a nonstick coating over time that repels rust and adds a subtle dimension of flavor.

Both are fine products as long as you know what you’re getting, but enameled kettles are more popular for their convenience and price — conventional, unglazed tetsubin are crafted of premium cast iron and cost significantly more. Today, Tetsu Kyusu are so ubiquitous they’re referred to as tetsubin because they’re similar in style.

Capacity

Cast iron kettles come in sizes from 0.5 to 1.5 liters or more. Choosing the right size is straightforward. First, consider that the tetsubin should only be filled about 70% full when brewing tea. Then multiply the capacity of your cups by the maximum number of people you serve at one time and add a few ounces to cover evaporation loss.

If you’re between sizes, go for the larger size — cast iron retains heat well, and the extra capacity is nice for a quick warm-up.

Design

If you’re shopping for a Japanese cast iron kettle, chances are you appreciate Asian tea culture and want to incorporate its design elements into your home. Choose a black hobnail kettle for a modern kitchen or consider a brightly colored teapot with a floral relief pattern for a rustic look.

Tetsubin and Tetsu Kyusu both come in a wide range of styles from traditional to eclectic with lines and colors that fit any décor.

Do You Need Just a Pot or a Set?

A cast iron pot can pour tea into any cup. But the oversized coffee mugs most of us have on our shelves are too large for tea.

Experts say 3–5 ounces cups are ideal for coaxing maximum flavor from your brew. If you don’t have the right size, consider buying a full cast iron tea set. Most come with 2–4 matching iron or porcelain teacups.

4 Important Tips for Using and Maintaining Your Cast Iron Teapot

Here are a few important things to remember when using your tetsubin:

First Use: The first time you use the teapot put about 5 grams of tea into the infuser and pour boiling water to fill the pot about 70% full. Let it steep for 10 minutes and then discard the tea. This will remove any cast iron odor and creates a protective layer to prevent the kettle from rusting.

Maintenance: Don’t use any detergent or sponge to clean your teapot. Just remember to empty it after each use and don’t leave moisture inside. Pour any liquid out and remove the lid so the kettle will dry. If you want, you can wipe it both inside and outside with a soft cloth.

Don’t Heat When Empty: Don’t heat an empty cast iron kettle as it might get damaged. Also, don’t put cold water into a hot teapot. Either add a bit of hot water first before putting cold water in or pre-warm the water before pouring it into a hot kettle.

No Microwave or Dishwasher: Tetsubin is the type of teapot you should never put in a microwave or dishwasher.

Japanese Cast Iron Teapot FAQ

Can I heat my cast iron teapot on a stove?

Some cast iron teapots are safe to be heated on a stovetop. Yet, tetsubin are mostly used for only brewing tea, not for heating water.

Check the instructions that come with the product to find out if your kettle can be heated on a stove. If you do heat it on a stovetop, use a low temperature setting to avoid damaging the teapot. Also, never heat an empty tetsubin.

Can I use my Japanese cast iron kettle to brew coffee?

We recommend using your tetsubin only for making tea. Using it to brew other beverages such as coffee might leave unpleasant flavors in the pot.

Will a cast iron teapot rust over time?

When you have a high-quality Japanese cast iron teapot, it does not rust easily when maintained well. Don’t leave liquids in the teapot for longer periods of time and let the tetsubin dry properly after each use.

However, over time it is inevitable that some rust will accumulate on the teapot. You can safely remove it by boiling oolong tea or green tea leaves in water and leave it in the pot for a while. You can also take a soft cloth, wet it with the green tea, and then gently wipe both interior and exterior of the kettle.

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2 thoughts on “7 Best Japanese Cast Iron Teapots in 2021 Reviewed”

  1. Iron tea kettle without enamel inside is the most traditional and should not be overly cleaned inside as the rust is believed to enhance taste.

    Reply

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