The Japanese cast iron teapot is intended to hold the heat in, and that it does. It originates from the Japanese iron teakettle design called a tetsubin, which was often used as a teapot. This dates back to the 1600’s when iron kettles were placed on the hearth.
Many people refer to the cast iron teapot as a tetsubin. The correct name in Japanese for the cast iron teapot is tetsukyusu. The tetsubin is the name of the cast iron tea kettle. Technically incorrect, the tetsubin is often used interchangeably referring to the cast iron tea kettle and the cast iron teapot.
The classic tetsubin is black with a pebbled surface. Over the years, Japanese artisans began to embellish the teakettles as they evolved from kettles to teapots being placed on the table for serving. Many beautiful designs now incorporate color and consist of cherry blossoms, the national flower of Japan or the dragonfly which signify new beginnings.
Every culture has its own way of brewing, presenting and sharing tea. The specific tea ware used is critical to the entire process. Most western countries use porcelain teapots and English style brewing; the Chinese use gong Fu style brewing with a Gawain while Russia, Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries use a Samovar.
Today I am going to focus on the Japanese tetsubin and how the Japanese culture developed this particular teapot and style of tea brewing.