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Monday, September 9, 2013

Cast-Iron Teapots / Cast Iron Tea Kettle

Uncoated or non-enamelled cast iron teapots enhance the taste of tea and coffee, and can also improve the supply of iron.


iron teapot - tetsubin
A tetsubin (Japanese:鉄瓶, "iron kettle") is a Japanese cast-iron boiler for the heating of water, especially for the treatment of flavor water  in the preparation of green tea, is used. Uncoated / without enamel Waser is cooked in it also a good source of iron (see below). Its shape is usually round, bulbous, globular, with a larger volume (typically 1-2 l, up to 5l) - but there are also smaller or flattened models (0.5 l). It has a large handle that makes it easy to hold even with heavy heat and a specially shaped spout, which allows an easy and convenient pouring. Tetsubins like to be embellished in the production of characteristic surface patterns and ornaments. Your inner layer consisted originally of pure uncoated iron. Today, most boilers are enamelled / coated to facilitate maintenance and to prevent rusting. But such coated boilers do not have positive influence on the taste and deliver no iron. 

Cast iron pots for better water taste

Cast iron pots were originally used exclusively for cooking water and not for pulling tea. Its real purpose is, in addition to heating the water, even in the refinement or influence the taste of water, which is an interesting and important new facet of the preparation for the enjoyment of tea. Water which has been heated in a high-quality uncoated cast iron pot, gets a much softer and even slightly sweeter taste. In particular, the aftertaste is deeper and longer lasting. This applies to all types of tea and incidentally also for many other preparations, such as drinking water, coffee and refined in the kitchen. The reason for the change of the water situated in the chemical interaction of the material of the iron vessel with the water molecules. In response also changes the consistency of the water. Its surface tension and the viscosity (degree of viscosity) is increased. It has changed not only the taste of the water itself, but also according to the order of the prepared tea or coffee. The water molecules to react chemically intensive way with the flavorings in tea or coffee water. The flavor characteristics vary depending on the quality of the Tetsubins, the surface of the Innneseite and its material composition. Experts even recommend the tetsubin on the key of the kyusu used for infusion vote because it is very different interactions of the minerals in the water and the sound here. So for the best taste, it depends on a combination of the best water quality and a matching Tetsubins and a kyusu and the appropriate type of tea.

Supplier of iron in the diet

In addition to this property, the water is enriched with iron. For people with an insufficient supply of the essential trace element iron a Tetsubi can offer a very interesting solution as a dietary supplement. As the dissolved iron in my experience even extremely bioavailable. But beware, this method is relatively much iron is taken to boil water for longer. And too much iron can cause serious health problems in the body. It is therefore necessary to determine exactly how the ferruginous own everyday food is already and how intensely you can use this method of preparation / should. People with an adequate iron supply, especially consumers of meat, should here more cautious approach to the matter, and this also can be in everyday use of water from a Tetsubi only a maximum of one minute simmer. People with a lower intake of iron, especially vegetarians and vegans can simmer longer leave the Tetsubi targeted use (depending on desired intensity up to 30 minutes) and the water as an excellent source of iron. However, I would not recommend this use more than twice a week. Cooked in this way water but will be detrimental to the taste of tea.

Qualities and coating / Enamel

Enamel with flowers - painting
Cast iron pots are made either by casting from molten iron in clay molds or in molds of sand. In the cheap mass production only the forms come from sand to use. Hand-made, high-quality boilers are cast in clay molds.

Tetsubins clay molds are made in Japan since the mid-16th Century and were originally made pure manual work, which was developed specifically for the tea ceremony. Their culture has survived to this day. Such Tetsubins show for its taste and excellent in quality. The local market for cast iron Teekannnen but with cheaper industrially produced mass products - dominated, which are also mostly enamelled inside / coated to prevent rust - mostly from China. They are also often thought contrary to the original function of the heating of pure water, for pulling and tea are supplied with tea strainers. But such enamelled / coated cans have no positive effect on taste and also provide no iron for additional supply of this trace element.

Recommendation from a health perspective

The heating of water in a high-quality uncoated Tetsubin causes undoubtedly a positive influence on the taste of water and tea, if you can cook it in just one minute or less. If you do not oversupplied with iron, or even when one is under-supplied, one also obtains a more useful and high-quality supply source. In contrast, we do not recommend the use of the tea enamelled / coated iron cans. Both taste and energy have these significant disadvantages over a kyusu from natural clay or a glass jar with the right tea strainer. 

Important tips for using a Tetsubin 

Traditionally, the tetsubin was heated above an open (coal) fire. In the traditional tea ceremony Chanoyu (茶の湯) or sado, Chado (茶道) this is done on the specific coal vessel Binkake (瓶 挂).

  • Fill with water only up to slightly below the level of an infusion.
  • Heat the tetsubin never without it contains enough water. The material can crack and otherwise may make the pot useless.
  • Use only a little heat as possible, otherwise the material suffers with time.
  • Not coated / enameled iron pots can be used on an open fire and gas burners. Cans of different materials threaten to crack because the different materials expand differently when heated.
  • Once the water boils, reduce the heat and let it just simmer for at least 1 minute. This waiting time is important because the whole Tetsubin should be heated. Then the water for the pouring of tea is ready
  • If the water is intended for the supply of iron and not for tea water, we recommend it easy to simmer for about 30 minutes. Then it is ready to drink. Do not use such longer boiled water for tea.
  • Be careful when removing the cover, as it is very hot.
  • Pour all the water after boiling out of the pot. Do not use the tetsubin for the storage of water.Otherwise it will be rust.
  • Let the rest tetsubin with open lid after use and dry. If you want to avoid rust stains and in particular can be in the drying of droplets or very wet places by the use of a blow dryer, or a small bellows, eg from the photographic help out. Use inside the boiler but no towels.
  • Do not clean the inside of the Tetsubins. Not even with a towel. Wipe or scrub the inside in any way.
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