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Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by auhckw » Aug 23rd 10 3:54 pm

I've read that Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle seems to improve the water to the next level and has health benefits.

I've not tasted water from it yet, so Anyone here who has used Cast Iron Kettle to boil water mind to share your experience and thoughts :?:

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by Oni » Aug 24th 10 5:38 am

I wrote about my tetsubin in an older post, I bought it in February, and it is a magic item, something that gives special powers, it boils water without bubbles, and the water tastes better, sweeter and more alive, and it makes japanese teas sweeter, it greatly reduces astringency and bitterness, so you can use more leaves when you use a tetsubin with a banko kyusu or houhin.
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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by TwoPynts » Aug 24th 10 4:24 pm

Serious question here.

Why not just heat water in some other cast iron pot or pan :?:

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by Mr. Usaji » Aug 24th 10 4:50 pm

Aesthetics! A tetsubin looks cool and a pan does not.

I am skeptical of the claim that cast iron significantly improves the taste of the water, because it always comes from people who are selling them, or from people who bought one and want to believe that their purchase was worthwhile (confirmation bias). If someone does a blind taste test, I'll believe it.

As for health benefits, it depends on a lot of things. Women may need extra iron but men usually have more than enough iron already. It also depends on how much iron actually gets into the water, and whether it can be absorbed from tea. Eat your meat/spinach/whatever.

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by nonc_ron » Aug 24th 10 5:21 pm

Mr. Usaji wrote:Aesthetics! A tetsubin looks cool and a pan does not. If someone does a blind taste test, I'll believe it.
Caution Don't try this at home.
When I tried I burnt the $# it out of my fingers. :lol:
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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by TwoPynts » Aug 24th 10 6:29 pm

Doh!

So basically, a cast iron pot should do just as well, as long as you keep your eyes closed? :lol:

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by Cyphre » Aug 24th 10 6:37 pm

I can't imagine one working really well. I like to cook in cast iron but a cast iron pot for making water would be... interesting. How do they "season" the pot. For cast iron skillets they have to use fat and bake it into the iron for the protective covering. If you ever rub it off or need to clean it and you scrub it off all you have to do is coat it with crisco or even bacon fat and put it in the oven for a long while. This is great for protecting the metal and even adds some flavor to the food you are cooking.

That does not seem the best way for tea. So there has to be another way for them to be seasoned to protect the pot. If thats the case then wouldn't it be the coating on the teapot that adds flavor and taste other then the iron itself?

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by TwoPynts » Aug 24th 10 6:55 pm

Cyphre wrote:...If thats the case then wouldn't it be the coating on the teapot that adds flavor and taste other then the iron itself?
I was wondering about that as well.
With a kettle, the water probably evaporates before it can oxidize the iron much so perhaps a coating isn't required. I am just guessing here. No, I would not want to use my iron cooking pans for tea, bleh!

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by AdamMY » Aug 24th 10 7:54 pm

Basically you do not leave water in a cast iron tea pot, and you dry it completely after you are done using it. Though it will "season" a little bit by building up a little bit of rust and mineral deposits.

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by TeaDragon » Aug 24th 10 8:38 pm

AdamMY wrote:Basically you do not leave water in a cast iron tea pot, and you dry it completely after you are done using it. Though it will "season" a little bit by building up a little bit of rust and mineral deposits.
Aren't most commercially available tetsubins made with an enameled inside? Also....can you put the tetsubin directly on the burner to boil the water, or do you boil the water elsewhere, then heat the tetsubin with the water and use the tetsubin to keep the water hot?

Some sources claim you're only supposed to use the tetsubin to keep the water hot and NOT actually brew in the tetsubin itself. This is the way I use mine at home.

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by AdamMY » Aug 24th 10 8:46 pm

TeaDragon wrote:
Aren't most commercially available tetsubins made with an enameled inside? Also....can you put the tetsubin directly on the burner to boil the water, or do you boil the water elsewhere, then heat the tetsubin with the water and use the tetsubin to keep the water hot?

Some sources claim you're only supposed to use the tetsubin to keep the water hot and NOT actually brew in the tetsubin itself. This is the way I use mine at home.
Traditional Tetsubins, used as kettles, to heat and boil water should not be enameled on the inside. I do not know why they started enameling the inside of the kettles, as in my personal opinion they make bad teapots, and render them useless for the point of heating water, basically the only thing they are good for it looking good.

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by iannon » Aug 24th 10 9:31 pm

AdamMY wrote:
TeaDragon wrote:
Aren't most commercially available tetsubins made with an enameled inside? Also....can you put the tetsubin directly on the burner to boil the water, or do you boil the water elsewhere, then heat the tetsubin with the water and use the tetsubin to keep the water hot?

Some sources claim you're only supposed to use the tetsubin to keep the water hot and NOT actually brew in the tetsubin itself. This is the way I use mine at home.
Traditional Tetsubins, used as kettles, to heat and boil water should not be enameled on the inside. I do not know why they started enameling the inside of the kettles, as in my personal opinion they make bad teapots, and render them useless for the point of heating water, basically the only thing they are good for it looking good.
Perhaps we are mixing up "kettle" with tea pot?
Kettle for boiling water.. doesnt do you any good if its lined or glazed if you want the iron goodness it is supposed to impart.
Cast iron teapot- lined with something..to steep your tea in.

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by Tead Off » Aug 25th 10 3:52 am

I neither own nor sell tetsubin but drinking tea using the water which has been heated in a tetsubin definitely changed the way the tea tasted. I had side by side comparison with ss kettle and tetsubin using same tea and teapot/cups. Even my wife noticed the difference right away.

The question whether a cast iron pot will have the same effect as a tetsubin to water depends on how the cast iron pot is made. Hojo says the tetsubin are reduction fired changing the iron structure from FE3 to FE2. He claims that this reduction significantly increases the reaction of water with the iron. However, I think there should be a noticeable change in the water using a non-reduced iron pot simply because of the inherent iron content in the pot. And, for all intents and purposes (aesthetics aside), should do an adequate job. This should be an easy experiment to do and one can pick up some cheap(used) cookware that is not enamel coated or treated and find out quick enough.

I still think clay is the best material for boiling water. This also fits in with the Chinese theory of elements complimenting one another, earth/water/fire in this case.

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by Mr. Usaji » Aug 25th 10 4:37 am

Thanks Tead Off, that's interesting.

I'm not a chemist and I don't know anything about how tetsubins are made, but maybe they meant iron(ii) oxide and iron(iii) oxide? I have heard there's supposed to be some kind of oxidized layer on the inside of the kettle, but I have no idea how or why it affects the water taste.

If I had a cast-iron pan without oil in it, I would try a taste-test against stainless steel.

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Re: Cast Iron (Tetsubin) Kettle to boil water?

by Oni » Aug 25th 10 11:13 am

Immediately after i recieved My tetsubin I ceaned it and boiled water a few times, and the next day I did side by side comparison with electrical induction boilers, glass, and stainless steel, the same water tasted diffrent, the tetsubin water is noticable, I tried it with 3 persons, each did not know which one was the water from the tetsubin, I asked which water tasted the cleanest and freshest, and a slight sweet taste, all said it was the water from the tetsubin.
I bought mine from Horaido teashop, the gray tetsubins are made in Nara prefecture, it has hollow handle, it is activated iron, and no urushi on the inside, only a small layer at the joining poit and the sprout to prevent it from leaking, it started rusting already, it has white spots too.
The only inconvenience is that it needs 25 minutes to boil 1 liter of water on an electric heater, and as Hojo site mentioned it has good effects for green tea, specially japanese, it is not best for oolong, I am planing to buy a purion kettle from Lin`s for oolong.
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