Last week I happened to drop in to a lovely little cafe in my nearby town to have a cup of tea with one of my sons. Without expecting anything different to come along, we ordered a pot to share. We were delighted when it was delivered in a cast iron teapot. A lovely squat, neat little teapot, with a beautiful intricate design on the outside.
Although I had seen these kinds of teapots – maybe in shops, maybe online, I really can’t call – I had never been served tea in one before. So, we preceded to pour each other cups of tea and enjoy the occasion – and the tea!
Unable to contain my curiosity I lifted the lid to see how the tea was being made, because quite often – where I come from, depending on the cafe – they’ll just toss in a couple of tea bags! Amazingly, I thought, this teapot had a stainless steel infuser. How perfect!
In Need of a Cast Iron Teapot
After that lovely experience drinking tea with my son,I decided I really must have my own cast iron teapot! So, I came home to start researching and choosing. However, as with anything new, there’s a lot of factors to consider. The pros, the cons. What to look for and how to choose.
Here are the results of my research and a also a sample of the most beautiful cast iron teapots I came across. I hope this will help you choost the best cast iron teapot for your needs.
Japanese Cast Iron Teapots
The cast iron teapot, also known as a tetsubin, was invented in Japan during the 17th century. It was originally used as a kettle to boil water and was later adapted to be used as a teapot. 
Traditional tetsubin still used today
Tetsubin is still used in Japan today, both for boiling water and for brewing tea. While modern homes in Japan often have electric kettles and other appliances for boiling water, many people still appreciate the traditional beauty and function of a tetsubin.
They are also commonly used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
What About the Taste?
Cast iron teapots are known for their ability to retain heat for a long time, which can help to brew tea evenly and gradually, and can help to keep the tea hot for longer. However, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that cast iron teapots improve the taste of tea or water compared to other materials such as stainless steel or ceramic.
Ultimately, the taste of tea is determined by the quality of the tea leaves and the brewing process, rather than the material of the teapot. That being said, some people may prefer the taste of tea brewed in a cast iron teapot due to personal preference or the ritual and experience associated with using a tetsubin.
Choosing Best Cast Iron Teapots: Features and Factors to Consider
When choosing a cast iron teapot, there are several features and factors to consider:
Size and capacity
Cast iron teapots come in a range of sizes, so consider how much tea you typically make and how many people you will be serving.
The size is measured as ‘capacity’, which is measured in ounces or liters and refers to how much liquid the teapot can hold.
Design and style
Cast iron teapots come in a variety of designs and styles, from traditional Japanese tetsubin designs to more modern and decorative styles. There are plenty of options so you can choose a design that fits your personal taste and complements your home décor.
Some cast iron teapots have an enameled interior coating to prevent rust and make them easier to clean. Others are left uncoated, which may be preferred by some people for a more authentic taste.
Cast iron for heat retention
Cast iron is known for its ability to retain heat, so in order to compare cast iron teapot materials to ensure the best heat retention properties, consider the following:
- Wall thickness: The thicker the cast iron, the better its heat retention properties. Look for teapots with thicker walls and bases for optimal heat retention.
- Quality of the cast iron: The quality of the cast iron used in the teapot can also affect its heat retention properties. High-quality cast iron will have a more uniform composition, which can help to distribute heat evenly.
- Lid design: The lid of the teapot should fit snugly to prevent heat from escaping through the top of the teapot.
Top Tip: Preheating cast iron teapots before use can also help them to improve their heat retention ability. Boil water and fill the teapot and sit for a few minutes before brewing tea. Discard the water, then brew loose leaf tea to taste. Preheating helps keep the tea warm longer.
Like any pure cast iron cookware, a tetsubin cast iron teapot can vary in price. Consider your budget when choosing a teapot, but do also keep in mind that a high-quality teapot can be a long-term investment.
Look for a reputable brand that uses high-quality materials and has a good track record for producing durable and functional teapots.
Tea Party Girl’s Top Picks: My Favorite Cast Iron Kettles
Toptier Cast Iron Kettle – 34 ounce – Navy Melody
• Large capacity: With a capacity of 1.2 liters (40 ounces), this teapot is perfect for serving tea to a small group of people or for enjoying multiple cups of tea on your own.
• Stainless steel infuser: The included stainless steel infuser allows you to brew loose leaf tea directly in the teapot, making it easy and convenient to use.
• Comfortable handle: The teapot features a comfortable handle that makes it easy to pour and serve tea.
• Durable construction: Made from high-quality cast iron, this teapot is designed to last for many years with proper care and maintenance.
What Customers Appreciate:
• Design: Many reviewers commented on the beautiful, traditionals and elegant design of the teapot, with some mentioning that it looks even better in person than in the photos.
• Heat retention: Several reviewers praised the teapot’s excellent heat retention properties, which is good to know, since that’s one of the inherent properties of quality cast iron!
• Ease of use: Many reviewers found the teapot easy and convenient to use, with several mentioning that the included stainless steel infuser makes it extremely convenient for brewing loose leaf tea.
• Quality: Several reviewers commented on the high quality of the teapot’s construction and materials, with some mentioning that it feels very sturdy and durable.
• Value for money: Many reviewers felt that the teapot offers good value for its price, given its quality and features.
What Customers Did Not Like:
• Spout design: A couple of reviewers mentioned that the teapot’s spout can be difficult to pour from, with some reporting that it drips or spills. (Tea Party Girl says: all the best teapots drip sometimes!)
• Lid fit: A few reviewers found that the lid of the teapot does not fit securely, which can result in steam escaping during use.
It is worth noting, however, that these minor criticisms were relatively rare among the many positive reviews for this teapot, and that the majority of customers seem to be very happy with their purchase.
Toptier Cast Iron Kettle – 32 ounce – Light Green
This beautiful, simple cast iron teapot has a capacity of 900ml and features a removable stainless steel infuser for ease of use. It is made of high-quality cast iron and has an enamel coated interior for easy cleaning and maintenance. The exterior is decorated with a beautiful and intricate pattern, making it an attractive addition to any kitchen or tea table.
What Customers Appreciate:
There are several things that reviewers like:
• Design: Many reviewers praise the teapot’s attractive and intricate design, with several noting that it makes a great decorative piece in addition to being functional.
• Heat retention: Several reviewers mention that the teapot does an excellent job of retaining heat, with one reviewer commenting that it kept tea hot for over an hour.
• Easy to clean: Many reviewers appreciate the enamel coating on the interior of the teapot, which makes it easy to clean and maintain.
• Durability: Several reviewers mention that the teapot feels sturdy and well-made, and that it should last for a long time with proper care.
• Infuser: Many reviewers like the included stainless steel infuser, which they find to be easy to use and clean.
What Customers Did Not Like:
• The usual: Aside from the inevitable few customers not checking that the capacity of the kettle would suit their needs, and others not being aware that cast iron can be prone to minor rusting if not cared for properly, negative feedback for this product is minor.
• Lid: A few reviewers mention that the lid on the teapot does not fit as snugly as they would like, which can lead to some dripping or spilling when pouring.
Overall, the reviews of the TopTier Cast Iron Tea Kettle we read are relatively few in number, or factors that shouldn’t have been a surprise – with most customers seeming to be very satisfied with their purchase.
YJX Cast Iron Kettle – 34 ounce – Cherry Blossom Blue
• Capacity: The teapot can hold up to 34 ounces of liquid.
• Removable infuser: The stainless steel infuser can be removed for easy cleaning.
• Enamel interior: The teapot’s enameled interior makes it easy to clean and helps to prevent rust and corrosion.
• Stovetop safe: The teapot is safe to use on gas, electric, and induction stovetops, as well as over an open flame.
What Customers Appreciate:
1. Heat retention: Several reviewers commented on the teapot’s ability to keep tea hot for a long time, so they were pleased it met their expectation of cast iron.
2. Removable infuser: The stainless steel infuser being easy to remove and clean.
3. Stylish design: Many reviewers appreciate the teapot’s Japanese-inspired design, saying it adds a touch of elegance to their tea-drinking experience.
4. Easy to clean: The teapot’s enameled interior makes it easy to clean, and several reviewers noted that they haven’t had any issues with rust or corrosion.
5. Stovetop safe: The teapot is safe to use on various stovetops, including gas, electric, and induction stovetops, as well as over an open flame.
What Customers Did Not Like:
1. Lid design: Some reviewers have mentioned that the lid fits tightly on the teapot, which can make it difficult to remove and can also cause steam to build up inside the teapot and spill out when the lid is removed.
3. Rust: A few reviewers have reported that the teapot developed rust over time, even with proper care and seasoning.
4. Small spout: A few reviewers have mentioned that the teapot’s spout is quite small, which can make it difficult to pour the tea without spilling.
5. Color: Some reviewers have mentioned that the actual color of the teapot does not match the color shown in the product photos.
Top Tier Diamond Design Cast Iron Kettle – 30 ounce – Dark Green
Capacity: The teapot can hold up to 30 ounces of liquid.
Removable infuser: The removable stainless steel infuser makes for easy of use and cleaning
Enameled Interior: The teapot’s enameled interior makes it easy to clean,
Stovetop safe: The teapot is safe to use on gas, electric, and induction stovetops, as well as over an open flame.
Unique design: The teapot has a unique design with a festive Christmas pattern (but also suitable year round), making it a great addition to holiday decor or as a gift.
Choice of colors: including green, blue, purple, and red.
What Customers Appreciate:
1. Beautiful design: Many reviewers commented on the attractive and unique design of the teapot, with its festive color and pattern.
2. Good heat retention: Several reviewers noted that the teapot retains heat well, keeping tea hot for longer periods of time.
3. Easy to clean: The enameled interior of the teapot was praised by many reviewers for being easy to clean and preventing rust and corrosion.
4. Removable infuser: The stainless steel infuser can be removed for easy cleaning, which was appreciated by many reviewers.
5. Stovetop safe: The teapot is safe to use on various types of stovetops, including gas, electric, and induction.
6. Great gift idea: Several reviewers purchased the teapot as a gift and were pleased with how well-received it was.
What Customers Did Not Like:
1. Rusting: A few reviewers reported rust forming on the interior or exterior of the teapot after a few uses, despite proper seasoning and care.
2. Enamel chipping: Some reviewers mentioned that the enamel coating on the interior or exterior of the teapot chipped or peeled off after a few uses, which can impact the overall durability and safety of the product.
5. Handle gets hot: A few reviewers mentioned that the handle of the teapot gets quite hot during use, which can make it difficult to handle without oven mitts or a towel.
Overall, while the product received generally positive reviews, the issues mentioned above are important to consider before purchasing.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I buy a new Cast iron teapot, should I do anything special to it before the first use?
Yes, it is recommended that you do some special preparation before using a new cast iron teapot for making tea for the first time.
Here are the steps to follow:
Wash the teapot: Wash the teapot thoroughly with warm water and mild soap. Rinse it well to remove any soap residue.
Rinse with hot water: Rinse the teapot again with hot water to warm it up and prepare it for brewing tea.
Fill with hot water: Fill the teapot with hot water and let it sit for about 20 minutes. This will help to remove any impurities or debris that may be present in the teapot.
Discard the water: Pour out the hot water and rinse the teapot again with warm water. Dry it thoroughly with a clean towel.
Season the teapot (this step is optional): To help protect the cast iron and prevent rust, you may choose to season the teapot.
To do this, heat the teapot over low heat on the stovetop until it is warm to the touch. Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or food-grade mineral oil to the interior and exterior of the teapot. Let it cool and wipe off any excess oil with a soft cloth. Of course, if yours has an enamel lining, this step of seasoning the teapot is irrelevant!
Following these steps can help to ensure that your new cast iron teapot is clean, free of impurities, and ready for use. It can also help to protect the cast iron and prolong the life of the teapot.
Will a Cast Iron Teapot Rust? If it does, is this still safe to use?
Cast iron teapots can rust if they are not properly cared for, but this does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe to use. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rust is a natural process that can occur when cast iron is exposed to moisture and air. If your cast iron tea kettle develops rust, it is usually an indication that it has not been properly seasoned or that it has not been dried thoroughly after use.
2. If cast iron pots develop rust, you can try to remove it using a soft-bristled brush and a mixture of water and baking soda. Gently scrub the rusted area with the mixture, rinse it well with water, and dry the teapot thoroughly.
3. If the rust is extensive or if you are unable to remove it, you may need to re-season your teapot. To do this, apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or food-grade mineral oil to the interior and exterior of the teapot and heat it on the stove until it is warm to the touch. Let it cool and wipe off any excess oil with a clean towel.
According to several sources , an affordable and easily accessible option for seasoning your cast iron cookware is olive oil. Additionally, it boasts a high smoke point, allowing it to endure high temperatures without burning.
4. In general, if your cast iron teapot develops rust, it is still safe to use as long as you remove the rust and properly season the teapot. However, if the rust is extensive or if it affects the integrity of the teapot (such as creating holes or weak spots), it may be time to replace the teapot.
To prevent rust from developing in the first place, it is important to properly care for your cast iron teapot by seasoning it regularly, drying it thoroughly after use, and storing it in a dry place. With proper care, your teapot can last for many years without developing rust.
I have heard that in Japan, some traditional recipes even include the addition of a rusted nail to add more color to dishes. So, rust in a Japanese cast iron teapots is not a problem. Is this true?
While it is true that cast iron teapots can develop rust over time and with use, it is not recommended to consume water that has been boiled in a rusted teapot. Rust is a form of iron oxide, and while small amounts of iron can be beneficial for your health, consuming large amounts of rust can be harmful.
Ingesting rust can cause a variety of health problems, including digestive issues, stomach pain, and nausea. Additionally, rust can affect the taste and quality of your tea, making it less enjoyable to drink.
While it is true that some traditional Japanese recipes call for the addition of a rusted nail or other source of iron to add color to dishes, this is typically done in small amounts and under specific circumstances. It is not recommended to consume rusted water or tea from a cast iron teapot.
To prevent rust from developing in your cast iron teapot, it is important to properly care for it by seasoning it regularly, drying it thoroughly after use, and storing it in a dry place. With proper care, your teapot can last for many years without developing rust.
How long have cast iron Japanese Cast Iron Teapots been available in the United States?
Cast iron Japanese teapots have been available in the United States for several decades. The exact timeline of their introduction is unclear, but they gained popularity in the US in the 1970s and 1980s when interest in Japanese culture and tea ceremonies grew. Since then, they have become a popular item for tea lovers and collectors alike.
I love tea and I like to try different teas and serve them differently and traditionally. Should I buy a cast iron Japanese Teapot?
If you are interested in serving tea traditionally and enjoy trying different teas, a cast iron Japanese teapot can be a good investment. These teapots have a long history and are often used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. They are also known for their durability and ability to retain heat, which can help keep your tea warm for longer periods of time. Additionally, many cast iron teapots have removable infusers that make it easy to brew loose leaf tea. However, keep in mind that cast iron teapots can be heavy and may require special care and maintenance to prevent rust and damage.
Is a Cast Iron Teapot a good idea for a person who loves to drink tea?
Yes, a cast iron teapot can be a great option for someone who loves to drink tea. Cast iron is known for its excellent heat retention, which can help to keep tea hot for longer periods of time. Additionally, many cast iron teapots come with removable stainless steel infusers that make it easy to brew loose leaf tea. Cast iron teapots also have a beautiful and traditional design that can add to the overall tea drinking experience. However, it’s important to note that cast iron teapots can be heavy and require some extra care, such as regular seasoning and avoiding harsh detergents, to maintain their quality and longevity.
Now to Choose Your Own Japanese Cast Iron Teapot!
We hope this information will make it easy for you to choose the best cast iron teapot that would make a great addition to any tea lover’s collection.
 Source: “The Japanese Cast Iron Teapot (Tetsubin): Origins, Uses, and Care” by Aaron Kandola, The Tea Spot, 2021. https://theteaspot.com/blogs/steep-it-loose/the-japanese-cast-iron-teapot-tetsubin-origins-uses-and-care
 Source: “How to Use Olive Oil to Season Your Cast Iron Skillet”, Olivamed, 2022. https://olivamed.net/2022/05/how-to-use-olive-oil-to-season-your-cast-iron-skillet/