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Japanese Cast Iron Teapot; How To Use And Care

Japanese cast iron Kyusu teapot Culture, Etiquette
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If you are a Japanese green tea connoisseur, you have already known or have a Japanese cast iron teapot called “Tetsubin”. But, there is a little confusion of the definition of “Tetsubin” as increasing to incorporate Japanese tea-lifestyle.

Although many stores introduce it as “Tetsubin”, in almost most cases, it is actually “Tetsu-Kyusu”.

When you don’t know the differences between Tetsubin and Tetsu-Kyusu and use them in the wrong way, it may damage your precious cast iron.

Today, I am going to tell you the difference between tetsubin and Tetsu-kyusu and how to use them.

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Overviews Of Tetsubin And Tetsu-kyusu

Iron in Japanese is “Tetsu” (鉄).

Technically, Tetsubin refers to a “cast-iron kettle” that can be used for boiling water and not brewing tea leaves. So it can be used on the stovetop.

About Tetsubin, this post will tell you more detail.

On the other hand, “Tetsu-Kyusu” refers to a “Kyusu-teapot made of cast iron”, and it is the kitchen tool for brewing green tea leaves as you know, and can’t be used on the stovetop.

Kyusu (急須) is a traditional Japanese teapot for brewing green tea. There are several types of materials, shapes, designs, and patterns. Tokoname Kyusu teapot is famous as the best teapot for Japanese green tea. (The related post about Tokoname Kyusu is here. )

Enable to use the stovetop×
Iron Dissolution×
Leave the liquid in for while×

What’s Tetsu-Kyusu

Nanbu tekki, Kyusu, Japanese cast iron Kyusu teapot, Tetsukyusu

Generally, Japanese cast-iron Kyusu teapot aka “Tetsu-Kyusu” has a removable stainless steel mesh strainer and enamel-glazed called “Hourou” inside. So, the surface inside is smooth and shiny when you look.

It is relatively easy to maintain compared with Tetsubin.

The inside of the kyusu is enamel-grazed, so there is no need to worry about rust.
However, avoid leaving it for a long time with tea or water in it.

The most admired “Tetsu-Kyusu” products are from Morioka City and Oshu City, Iwate Prefecture. Besides, the cast iron products produced locally in these areas are labeled “Nanbu Tekki” (南部鉄器), which is a guaranteed high-quality cast iron product.

If you want to know about Nanbu tekki, read this post next.

Why You Should Choose Tetsu-Kyusu

  • who like to enjoy green tea from brewing loose tea leaves rather than tea bags.
  • who doesn’t want to repeat breaking a ceramic teapot anymore. (Tetsu-kyusu has high durability.)
  • who are curious about Japanese cast iron teapot since you have seen it at a coffee shop. (Its aesthetic design and patterns.)
  • who are looking for a unique wedding gift. (Due to the high durability and hard material, it is one of the symbols of a happy marriage in Japanese custom.)

Types Of Tetsu-Kyusu

The Round Belly

The round-bellied Kyusu has a large strainer and is large enough to steep the tea leaves, making it suitable for brewing loose green tea.

A flat-shaped, egg-shaped, or bell-shaped Tetsu-Kyusu

A flat-shaped or bell-shaped Kyusu has a small capacity inside so it is suitable to make tea from tea bags.

How To Use Tetsu Kyusu

The most important tip to use Tetsu-Kyusu last long is that “Never heat it on the stovetop.

As I said, the inside of the teapot is enamel-graze which is damaged by heat.

As the first use, rinse well the teapot and a stainless strainer.

You can brew green tea as usual or follow these steps.

Note that use a placemat on a table to avoid making a mark.

You can’t put Tetsu-kyusu in a microwave, dishwasher, and dryer.

If you don’t use it for a while, make sure it is dried completely for rust prevention.

How To Clean Tetsu Kyusu

It is not dishwasher-safe.

Use a kitchen sponge and wash the inside well. Don’t use a steel brush or a powder-type cleanser because these may damage the enamel coating.

The surface of the teapot is not necessary to wash with a sponge with dish soap, just rinse it well with warm water.

After rinsing it well, towel-dry well, and then air-dry at a well-vented place.

Tetsu Kyusu Hates Moisture

Like other ironware, Tetsu-Kyusu hates moisture.

Remember towel-dry Tetsu-Kyusu well includes detailed parts such as a spout, a tip of spout, a handle, attached areas with a handle, a lid (don’t forget a back of a lid.)

Once there is a remain of moisture, it will cause rust. Rust is formed when an iron surface is exposed to oxygen in the presence of moisture.

However, the rust (iron-oxides) is not harmful so don’t be in a panic. Special maintenance will be required when you have time.

Special Maintenance When Tetsu-kyusu Rusted

If the rust is not severe, rub well with a kitchen towel. If it will be needed more, rub well with the kitchen towel soaked in green tea or other tea contain tannin. This is a tip that uses the chemical reaction between tannin and iron.

Moreover, apply vegetable oil to the rusted area for prevention.

Especially the backside of the lid easily gets rusted, it’s better to make sure wipe and dry it well every time use tetsu-kyusu.

Upgrade Your Tea Life With Tetsu Kyusu

Kyusu teapot is essential for Japanese tea life to be relaxed or refreshed, as hospitality for your guests.

Even people who are hesitant to use ironware, I would like you to consider using Tetsu-Kyusu (and Tetsubin) for these reasons.

Due to its high durability, you don’t have to worry about break it. Unlike other ironware, it’s relatively easy maintenance without worrying about rustiness because of the enamel glaze inside.

Ironware can hold warmth for long, you can enjoy tea while working at the desk. (Better to take a stainless strainer out to avoid tea leaves over-steeped.)

It’s also a perfect gift for your family and friends who like the Japanese aesthetic with a unique high-quality design.

Tetsu-Kyusu is the ideal teapot for those who like to upgrade or change their tea life. I recommend using Tetsubin and Tetsu Kyusu as well.

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