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May 17th, '08, 11:15
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Tetsubun concerns

by Jeremy » May 17th, '08, 11:15

I just bought one of those cheap cast iron tetsubins ($30) and I noticed it said never to heat it on an open flame!? How could this be, its cast iron for god sake?
My intention was to use it to boil water in.

Is anyone else ignoring this warning, also does anyone know why they are saying this? I cant think of any physical reason you couldnt put this sucker over a campfire if you wanted to.


Jeremy

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May 17th, '08, 11:20
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by witches brew » May 17th, '08, 11:20

Jeremy, isn't your tetsubin enameled on the inside? Over direct heat, the enamel would crack as the iron expanded and contracted underneath it. If I recall correctly, the tetsubin that are true kettles are not enamel-coated on the inside.

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May 17th, '08, 11:32
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by Jeremy » May 17th, '08, 11:32

Yes, it is enameled. Hmmm.. Do you know where I can get a non-enameled pot for cheap?


Thanks

J

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May 17th, '08, 11:56
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by chamekke » May 17th, '08, 11:56

The problem, as I understand it, is that the older, unlined tetsubin were used for boiling the water (= kettle), but not for steeping the tea. The newer, enamel-lined tetsubin are used for steeping (= teapot) but not boiling.

Naturally you can try buying an older tetsubin and using it for both. The trick is in finding one that's affordable yet in good condition.

You can get older, non-enameled tetsubin on eBay. They're second-hand, of course, and some of them can be rusty. The nicer ones will not be cheap, and if they are at all distinctive, other bidders will certainly be competing for them.

The other option is to abandon the tetsubin idea altogether, and buy an "old mountain" or Griswold-style cast-iron teakettle. They pop up on eBay regularly, and although they're not as elegant, they can be quite affordable. They're also tough enough to withstand any campfire.

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May 17th, '08, 12:26
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by tenuki » May 17th, '08, 12:26

chamekke wrote: The other option is to abandon the tetsubin idea altogether, and buy an "old mountain" or Griswold-style cast-iron teakettle. They pop up on eBay regularly, and although they're not as elegant, they can be quite affordable. They're also tough enough to withstand any campfire.
American teaware FTW! I'm planning on getting an old crock pot style american jar for my mizushasi, some of them are quite beautiful in a frontier sort of way. :D

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May 17th, '08, 12:36
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by tenuki » May 17th, '08, 12:36

If you think some of us are a bit obsessive about kettles, check out this guy...

http://teamasters.blogspot.com/2008/05/ ... ttles.html

check out his posts on water too, they are most interesting.

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May 17th, '08, 13:09
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by chamekke » May 17th, '08, 13:09

tenuki wrote:American teaware FTW! I'm planning on getting an old crock pot style american jar for my mizushasi, some of them are quite beautiful in a frontier sort of way. :D
Some of us on the wakeiseijaku group put together a list of local substitutes for Japanese tea utensils. This is actually quite relevant to anyone starting out in Chadou, since it can put quite the dent in your credit card if you try to assemble a full kit all at once.

Of course, among the recommended substitutes is cookie jar = mizusashi :wink:

One of the most charming futaoki (lid rests) I've ever seen was one that a fellow student came up with one June. It was a clear shot glass, and it held a sprig of hydrangea plus two blue-and-green marbles. Breathtakingly delicate and lovely.

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May 17th, '08, 13:24
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by Jeremy » May 17th, '08, 13:24

Thanks for the directions! I wanted to elaborate a little more on my query. Im not really looking to brew tea in my kettle. I was in a Japanese tea shop and I noticed they use what looks like a big cast iron bucket for heating water on a hearth. k So I tried making the exact same matcha at home with water heated in glass. And sure enough, there was something missing in mine. So I went out and bought the cast iron tetsubin to boil water in ( I am still going to use it for this BTW, I will just be careful not to heat it too quickly or hot) .


So sure enough again, I noticed a distinct difference in using the water boiled in the cast iron pot. Im not an expert or anything, but it seemed very noticible to me


So in the meantime, I will look for something "un enameled" Thanks for all the help.

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May 17th, '08, 13:33
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by chamekke » May 17th, '08, 13:33

Incidentally, the enamelled interior is something that was introduced after World War II. Japanese tetsubin makers also added two other innovations around this time: a vent hole in the lid (to make pouring easier), and a "brewing basket" or removable strainer.

If any tetsubin you're considering has either a vent hole or a removable strainer, chances are that it is enamelled - or at least, it started out that way. (The enamel on some older tetsubin is sometimes partially worn off, but I would hesitate to buy one of those.)

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May 17th, '08, 17:05
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by MarshalN » May 17th, '08, 17:05

Cheap Japanese un-enameled tetsubins do show up once in a while on ebay -- you just have to get lucky. These are usually very run of the mill Nanbu tetsubins -- the ones that are plain iron all over, with little bumps all around the body as a sort of decoration. You just have to wait for one, and those are usually sold for under $50. Those are the ones with iron lids. I bought one myself through ebay as my first usable tetsubin for about $40. I've graduated into a nicer one, but I still have the old one around.

The nicer ones, with brass lids or inlaid silver or fancy designs or all that, are of course going to be more... they can go all the way up to $1000, for the truly beautiful ones.

As I mentioned in the silver kettle thread, you can try to score one from japan directly. Shipping will cost you, and for cheaper tetsubins it's probably not worth the trouble. However, the selection is vast.

Do beware, however, when buying tetusbins to make sure they say that the kettle has been tested and does not leak. I bought one way back and nothing was said about leaking or not. Turned out it had a tiny hole in the bottom and it leaks. Some sellers will tell you whether or not something is damaged. Don't bid on tetsubins that don't say the kettle doesn't leak.

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May 17th, '08, 17:42
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by MarshalN » May 17th, '08, 17:42

That's right, hobnail. I remember there was a name for it, but I couldn't remember what :)

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May 22nd, '08, 11:09
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by chamekke » May 22nd, '08, 11:09

I found an online seller that sells both kinds of tetsubin - the enamelled-inside ones ("teapots") and the ones that are unenamelled ("teakettles"):

http://www.wabisabi-world.com/

They are Nambu tetsubin, too... so the quality should be excellent.

I promise, this is not a paid commercial :wink: but I got excited when I saw some NEW unenamelled tetsubin for sale! And in English!!

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May 22nd, '08, 11:11
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by chamekke » May 22nd, '08, 11:11

MarshalN wrote:That's right, hobnail. I remember there was a name for it, but I couldn't remember what :)
In Japanese, the word they use for hobnail is arare. It means "hailstone".

(Mentioning this in case you're doing a Web search.)

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May 22nd, '08, 12:11
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by Mary R » May 22nd, '08, 12:11

Ooh! I got very excited about that website, too! Must refrain from reaching for the Visa...

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