- Food and Cooking
Best Cast Iron Tea Kettles
Why Use a Cast Iron Tea Kettle?
Picture a blustery winter day about a hundred years ago as your great grandmother boiled water on the old wood stove in a cast iron tea kettle. Now, fast forward to today, and you all cozy inside your home with the wood stove burning and a cast iron tea kettle settled on top. You're using it to add a little humidity and maybe a little scent to the air.
In ancient Japan cast iron teapots served much the same function until about 1850, when infusing, or brewing tea grew in popularity. Teapots, or "tetsubin" became a sign of hospitality and politeness, and the lowly cast iron teapot was elevated to an art form.
You may be drawn to cast iron tea kettles for functionality on a wood stove to add humidity to your home or as a beautiful vessel for brewing the perfect cup of tea. Regardless, you will need to know a few things before you go looking for the perfect pot.
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Cast Iron Tea Kettles for Wood Stoves
Cast iron is extremely durable, and it’s for this reason that even the old fashioned designs are still around. But these pots no longer boil water to drink; they’re used mainly as a humidifier. These kettles are generally much larger than the Japanese teapots because they are designed to boil water for a functional purpose and not to drink. Look for at least a two quart or larger teapot. Cast iron is an excellent conductor so the pot will retain heat well and put moisture into the air. Rust can be a frequent occurrence with a cast iron tea kettle, but you can minimize this by drying the kettle after each use to keep moisture at bay. Most of the designs feature a dome shaped kettle with a stainless steel handle. Take a look at these highly rated cast iron tea kettles for use on a wood stove:
This workhorse holds up to 2 quarts of water and is designed specifically for wood stoves. It is heavy (11 lbs.) but the spiral handle makes it easy to carry. While it says it is pre-seasoned, it will rust if not dried after use. The Old Mountain is a solid design that can add significant humidity to a room, and still is quite decorative.
If you need a slightly larger kettle, this three quart size may be for you. It has a chrome handle that keeps cool to the touch. It weighs about 2 lbs. less than the Old Mountain, even though it holds more water. The rustic, decorative design looks good in almost any room, and it keeps water hot for continuous humidification. The main complaint for this tea kettle is that it rusts, so be sure to dry it thoroughly after each use.
Japanese Cast Iron Tea Kettles
The important point to remember is that these tetsubin are meant to brew tea to drink. When you’re shopping for a Japanese style tea kettle, you’re shopping for a unique experience: the art of brewing tea. You want a cast iron teapot as these definitely keep tea hotter longer than other pots such as ceramic or stainless steel. Keep in mind a few pointers and you’ll be able to pick the perfect pot:
Set your budget.Teapots can get very expensive, but they don’t have to be. It pays to look around for prices before you buy.
Decide on a style.Japanese teapots come in a rich array of designs and colors. Some are rounded, some are flat, some have decoration etched into the cast iron, and some have raised surfaces or hobnails. For the Japanese, the teapot is an expression of art and one’s family. Much care goes into the design and fabrication.
Decide on a size.Cast iron tea kettles are much smaller than the American stovetop ones. You may want to get a larger kettle if you have many tea drinkers in your family.
Remember the accessories.Some teapots come with a tea infuser, but if not, you will need to buy one, preferably one made of stainless steel. A trivet is also good to have so you can set a hot pot on a table without ruining the table. And don’t forget the tea!
Here are four teapots you might consider:
This is quite large for a teapot, 42 ounces, and also quite heavy, 11 lbs. It has a rounded design with raised hobnails, traditional in Japanese designs. The pot is also enamelled on the inside, which removes the problem of rust. The pot comes with a stainless steel screen for loose tea. Several customers like to use this cast iron tea kettle over a tea light to keep the tea hotter longer.
As its name implies, Felicity has a delicate form, much flatter than the rounded teapots, but still traditional Japanese design. It holds 32 ounces and weighs only 7 lbs. It is also enamel lined and comes with a stainless steel mesh infuser. Traditional Japanese cast iron tea kettles are not enamel lined; this is a recent addition as consumers are concerned about rust.
This little gem is perfect for one incredible cup of tea. It is quite small, 10 ounces, and weighs three lbs. It has a rounded, hobnail design and is enamelled on the inside with a stainless steel tea basket.
This 20-ounce teapot is the most authentic cast iron tea kettle as it is not enamel coated on the inside. It is all cast iron and weighs about 7 lbs. It’s the perfect pot for two people, brewing two large cups or four smaller ones. The subtle bamboo design carved into the cast iron is a beautiful addition to your tea table. Just remember to dry it carefully after each use and you will have little to no problem with rust.
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More Great Lenses on Hot Drink Making
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- Best Glass Teapots with Infusers
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