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Jul 24th, '08, 03:05
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? for unlined tetsubin owners

by Smells_Familiar » Jul 24th, '08, 03:05

Well, I'm thinking about buying an unlined cast iron kettle (not a tetsubin). I don't think there are many people on this forum who boil their water in an unlined tetsubin, but for those who do I've got a question. Do you find that the water boiled in the kettle negatively affects the taste of any teas? Personally, I like to make my lighter, greener teas with softer water as I find that more desolved solids in the water can bring out some "off" flavors. If I buy this kettle, I'll use it to make any tea I have and not just one or two particular teas...so, before I buy, I want to make sure it won't negatively affect the flavor of any particular type of tea. I look forward to hearing about your experiences! I know that taste is subjective, but I want to hear your opinions.

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by shogun89 » Jul 24th, '08, 12:14

Ok, well I do have a testubin but that doesn't matter. Since no one else has come in to answer I figured I would give you an opinion. I dont think you will get a negative flavor from using one, You must remember that the Japanese have been heating their water for tea in these for thousands of years. I think of all people the Japanese would stop using this method of heating if it inflicted with their high quality teas taste.

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by chamekke » Jul 24th, '08, 17:57

Possibly the lack of response has to do with the fact that this was discussed at some length recently in the thread titled Tetsubins?.

Smells_Familiar, you'll find a whole series of responses to your question there.

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by Smells_Familiar » Jul 25th, '08, 02:03

chamekke wrote:Possibly the lack of response has to do with the fact that this was discussed at some length recently in the thread titled Tetsubins?.

Smells_Familiar, you'll find a whole series of responses to your question there.
Chamekke, I appreciate the link, but frankly, my question was not effectively discussed in that thread in the slightest. I posted in that thread, and in fact I re-read that entire thing to make sure my question wasn't answered before opening this new thread. I guess I could have just posted in the "Tetsubin?" thread, but if I buy this kettle, it will be soon, and I thought I could generate more responses this way. Plus, I hope this thread will be much more focused...just unlined cast iron kettle experiences

In the "Tetsubin?" thread, taitea doesn't ever state whether it's lined or unlined tetsubin that he/she is asking about. Almost all of the responses in that thread seem to be from posters who are actually brewing the tea in lined tetsubin. Katrina came close to answering my present question when she wrote that she heard that the heat held by tetsubin and the iron itself might be bad for brewing lighter teas, but I think she's talking about actually brewing the teas in the tet, not boiling the water. Plus, she gave no personal experience. Pretty much everyone else responds with their experiences of brewing the teas in lined tetsubins.

You Chamekke, Bert, and myself seem to be the only posters in that thread with actual experience in boiling water in unlined tetsubin. Bert says he loves his for boiling water, but he doesn't mention anything about how the taste of different teas is affected or if there are particular teas negatively affected by the potential extra iron. You said that your tetsubin are seldom used and don't go into how they affect the taste of particular teas. Matter of fact, I came closest to answering my question, but I only stated my experience with sencha brewed with water from my friends unlined tetsubin. My friend with the tetsubin only drinks Japanese greens and he's out of town at the moment, so he has no experience with using his kettle's water for other teas and I can't just stop by and test his kettle water out with light oolongs and such. I liked the sencha brewed with the water from his tetsubin, but sencha is a much bolder tea than Li Shan oolong, for example.

So, my question still stands unanswered. Do you, people who've used unlined tetsubin to boil water for making tea, find that the water boiled in the kettle negatively affects the taste of any teas? Shogun89, what you say makes sense, and I've found that sencha is great when brewed with the water from my buddies tet. Thanks for your input! Chamekke, since you may be one of only two posters on this site with unlined tetsubin, have you made any other teas besides Japanese greens with water from the tet? Since you have experience using water from unlined tetsubin, it would be great if you could share your experiences...

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by scruffmcgruff » Jul 25th, '08, 02:34

Smells_Familiar wrote:Chamekke, I appreciate the link, but frankly, my question was not effectively discussed in that thread in the slightest. I posted in that thread, and in fact I re-read that entire thing to make sure my question wasn't answered before opening this new thread. I guess I could have just posted in the "Tetsubin?" thread, but if I buy this kettle, it will be soon, and I thought I could generate more responses this way. Plus, I hope this thread will be much more focused...just unlined cast iron kettle experiences

In the "Tetsubin?" thread, taitea doesn't ever state whether it's lined or unlined tetsubin that he/she is asking about. Almost all of the responses in that thread seem to be from posters who are actually brewing the tea in lined tetsubin. Katrina came close to answering my present question when she wrote that she heard that the heat held by tetsubin and the iron itself might be bad for brewing lighter teas, but I think she's talking about actually brewing the teas in the tet, not boiling the water. Plus, she gave no personal experience. Pretty much everyone else responds with their experiences of brewing the teas in lined tetsubins.

You Chamekke, Bert, and myself seem to be the only posters in that thread with actual experience in boiling water in unlined tetsubin. Bert says he loves his for boiling water, but he doesn't mention anything about how the taste of different teas is affected or if there are particular teas negatively affected by the potential extra iron. You said that your tetsubin are seldom used and don't go into how they affect the taste of particular teas. Matter of fact, I came closest to answering my question, but I only stated my experience with sencha brewed with water from my friends unlined tetsubin. My friend with the tetsubin only drinks Japanese greens and he's out of town at the moment, so he has no experience with using his kettle's water for other teas and I can't just stop by and test his kettle water out with light oolongs and such. I liked the sencha brewed with the water from his tetsubin, but sencha is a much bolder tea than Li Shan oolong, for example.

So, my question still stands unanswered. Do you, people who've used unlined tetsubin to boil water for making tea, find that the water boiled in the kettle negatively affects the taste of any teas? Shogun89, what you say makes sense, and I've found that sencha is great when brewed with the water from my buddies tet. Thanks for your input! Chamekke, since you may be one of only two posters on this site with unlined tetsubin, have you made any other teas besides Japanese greens with water from the tet? Since you have experience using water from unlined tetsubin, it would be great if you could share your experiences...
:shock:

You never had a problem reaching the minimum page count on your school papers, did you?

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by Smells_Familiar » Jul 25th, '08, 02:44

scruffmcgruff wrote: :shock:

You never had a problem reaching the minimum page count on your school papers, did you?
Thanks for your help man! You're a super cool guy!!

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by chamekke » Jul 25th, '08, 02:53

Sorry, I honestly thought your question was answered in that thread. Perhaps I answered it only in my head. We introverts tend to do that :oops: My apologies!

OK then. I have made tea from water that was heated in unlined tetsubin (and also water heated in okama - which is basically like a big tetsubin, but without a spout or handle). In neither situation did I think that the taste of the tea was adversely affected by the use of the unlined cast-iron kettles. The tea in these examples has included both sencha and matcha. I think I used it for black tea a couple of times, too. Since I have no negative memories of the tea, it's safe to say the result was a good one.

Now, I haven't brewed water in unlined tetsubin - only in lined ones. So it may be that allowing tea to steep in unlined tetsubin for several minutes may introduce a taste that may not be welcome. Or, maybe not; I don't know. In any case, it doesn't sound as though you're interested in actually brewing tea in the vessel itself.

The other point to be made is that in the above examples, the vessels were well scrubbed so as to remove any rust. If rust is present, all bets are off re: the impact on flavour.

I have heard that it's believed to be actively good to drink water that has been heated in okama - especially for women - because more trace iron will be ingested that way. So in that respect, it's evidently a good thing to drink from unlined cast-iron vessels rather than lined ones.
Last edited by chamekke on Jul 25th, '08, 03:05, edited 2 times in total.

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by Bert » Jul 25th, '08, 02:54

Someone called my name in here? In fact, i read this thread before, but didn't really know what to say for some reason.
I really love to handle my tetsubin, that's true, and use it for every tea I have: young and old sheng pu er, shu pu er, light oolongs, heavy oolongs, chinese lucha, sencha, houjicha, matcha.

I didn't percepted any negative influence. But that's a difficult sentence.
Lass mich ausholen..

Before using the tetsubin I boiled my Brita-filtered water in an electric plastic water boiler and stored it in an stainless steel thermo can. Now I use the tetsubin with a piece of bamboo charcoal in it on my induction plate with Brita-filtered water. During my tea sessions I keep the water in it (sometimes to 60 minutes) and reheat it one to two times if necassary.
What is your way in heating water? Maybe the strength of effect on taste from the tetsubin depends on the water one is using.

The tea tastes greater than before, but since using the tetsubin, I'm also using new yixings for my oolongs and a new tokoname pot for the sencha and also the bamboo charcoal - so I can't really say what effect comes from what.. If it has an effect, maybe it's of the subtle kind. In contrary to a more obvious effect: I was using my new tokoname pot for the few first times together with a new tokoname yaki cup and a sencha brand I didn't drink before and wondered about the strange taste of the sencha. Changing to a porcellain cup revealed, that the tokoname cup has sucked the taste out of my tea!

However the tetsubin I own has been used years before and got a lot of deposits in the interior which reduce the contact to the iron surface - maybe another influence on the taste.
Image


If you like to, over the weekend I could do a blind tasting of water boiled in my tetsubin (without charcoal) vs. plastic boiler on a certain kind of tea you are worried about.
Last edited by Bert on Jul 25th, '08, 02:57, edited 1 time in total.

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by scruffmcgruff » Jul 25th, '08, 02:55

Smells_Familiar wrote:
scruffmcgruff wrote: :shock:

You never had a problem reaching the minimum page count on your school papers, did you?
Thanks for your help man! You're a super cool guy!!
Haha, I'm just teasin'. Having never tried water from an unlined tetsubin, I can't comment, but I believe MarshalN and Stéphane have written about it on their blogs (A Tea Addict's Journal and Tea Masters, respectively). You've probably already read those posts, but in case you haven't, maybe they will help.

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by MarshalN » Jul 25th, '08, 04:03

To answer your question effectively, I think we need to know a few things

1) What water do you use?
2) What water did you have a problem with when you brewed them with green teas?
3) What kind of off flavours?

Until you can answer those, I'm afraid any answer we give you is going to be pretty useless. I mean, I can tell you that I don't think I have found tetsubins (yes, unlined, and yes, for boiling water) have affected my teas negatively, but that's just me, and I have no idea what you might or might not consider "good" or "bad". Those are very subjective values and until I know more about you and your taste -- the answer is I don't know.

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by Mary R » Jul 25th, '08, 09:29

My testimony:

I have an unlined iron tetsubin, and since it's on the smaller size, I've used it both to heat water and to brew my tea.

My general experience has been that it's fine. It's never 'ruined' a tea for me. In fact, if I heat regular old tap water in it (and use that water to brew tea in a different pot...I'm big on the 'water goes to the leaves' protocol), the tea seems somewhat improved compared to tap water boiled in a stainless steel pot. Green, white, black, oolong...it all seems fine to me.

When I actually brew the tea in the tetsubin, I don't notice an appreciable difference over, say, a largeish porcelain pot. But I do think that brewing most greens in large quantities can bring in some off flavors. If I use the tetsubin water with a gaiwan, those issues are resolved for me.

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by Smells_Familiar » Aug 2nd, '08, 04:51

Well, I've been out of town for the last week, so I'm just getting back in the swing of things. Sorry I haven't responded before now. :oops:

I want to thank you people for the thoughtful responses! You've all been very helpful and I plan on purchasing the kettle soon.

Chamekke, I just re-read my reply to your post and thought that I could have come off as being short tempered. I didn't intend for this to be the case and I apologize if I came off as being short. You are such an asset to this board and really anyone interested in tea, and I thank you for your service, lol.
MarshalN wrote:To answer your question effectively, I think we need to know a few things

1) What water do you use?
2) What water did you have a problem with when you brewed them with green teas?
3) What kind of off flavours?

Until you can answer those, I'm afraid any answer we give you is going to be pretty useless. I mean, I can tell you that I don't think I have found tetsubins (yes, unlined, and yes, for boiling water) have affected my teas negatively, but that's just me, and I have no idea what you might or might not consider "good" or "bad". Those are very subjective values and until I know more about you and your taste -- the answer is I don't know.
This may sound anal to some, but I've found that a mix of 2/3 reverse osmosis water (or a very soft spring water such as Crystal Geyser) and 1/3 harder spring water (such as Poland Spring) or my tap water works very well for all teas. For darker heavier teas and even Japanese greens, I can do harder water and still have great brew. But for light greens, like high mountain oolongs, I find that harder water can bring out off flavors. It's been a while, so it's hard for me to accurately describe the "off flavors" right now. I'd have to rebrew a light green with tap water or other hard water to really experience that again, and that aint happening right now. That's alright though. I've decided to buy the kettle. If there's a problem with the taste of some teas brewed with the water from the kettle I'll just use a different kettle for those teas. It doesn't sound like there will be any problems though. Thanks again everybody!

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by MarshalN » Aug 2nd, '08, 18:33

Question again:

Where are you getting the kettle from, if I may ask?

Is it new or used?

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by Smells_Familiar » Aug 4th, '08, 16:51

MarshalN wrote:Question again:

Where are you getting the kettle from, if I may ask?

Is it new or used?
I'm getting it from amazon. This is the kettle I'm looking at. It's not elegant, and I don't like the handle, but other than that, I like it. It's inexpensive and has a wide base, this is important to me.
The main reason I'm buying this kettle instead of an unlined tetsubin is lack of funds. I also wanted to find a kettle with a base of at least 7 inches in diameter. The portable burner I have for gongfu cha has a 7 inch solid burner plate, so in an effort to be most efficient, I'm wanting a wide bottom kettle. I know this kettle is preseasoned, so it will take a few boils to get the taste of the oil out, but that's no big deal. This is the burner I have.

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