The 10 Best Cast Iron Teapots
Which Cast Iron Teapot Is Right For You?
Many boast decorative handles that complement the design of the pot, and some even align with certain styles of tea drinking, especially that of the far east.
If you’re in the market for a teapot, there’s a good chance that you’ve been exposed to a litany of different styles. Classic porcelain or stainless steel are fine, but the one feels too grandmotherly, and the other too clinical. When it comes down to it, there’s nothing that can quite match the ease of maintenance, heat retention, and aesthetic quality of a cast iron teapot.
Of course, realizing you want a cast iron teapot still leaves a tremendous amount of options before you, and there are certain features you can look out for to make sure that you get the most possible use out of your selection, and that it gives you the utmost pleasure.
Since all the teapots on our list are made from the same material, there isn't’ much to say about how they will or will not affect the flavor of your tea. Most will perform to about the same standards here. But presentation, they say, has a heck of a lot to do with our experience of food and drink, and in this way, the teapot you choose can make a big difference.
That’s because cast iron teapots are traditionally ornate. They include images and patterns wrought into the material itself. Many boast decorative handles that complement the design of the pot, and some even align with certain styles of tea drinking, especially that of the far east. With that in mind, make sure you pick a pot that complements your personal aesthetic, as well as the kind of tea you drink the most.
You’ll also notice that there are a number of cast iron pots on the market that have infusion systems built in. These allow you to steep loose tea directly inside the pot without displacing very much water, so there’s still plenty of tea to go around. Not everyone cares for this kind of brewing, but if you prefer loose tea to bags and you don’t already have a tea ball, this can streamline your brewing process nicely.
One last thing to consider is whether or not the teapot you have your eye on comes with a set of cups. Some models out there come with cups that match the pot, creating a very pleasing set for your tea drinking. Others have cups available, but that are sold separately. Still others are stand alone teapots without cups of their own, and you’ll either have to hunt something down to complement them, or get creative in the design of your set.
How To Care For Your Cast Iron Teapot
If you own any cast iron cookware, you know that the maintenance process is a little different than that of other metal or nonstick pots and pans. In the case of cookware, you’ll find the regimen to be a little more time consuming than it is for teapots, which are comparably easy to care for. With just a little bit of attention, your cast iron teapot should last you for a great many years.
Fortunately, they’re designed to contain boiling water, which should go a long way toward sterilizing the inside of the pot.
When you clean a cast iron teapot, as when you clean cast iron pans, it’s best not to use any soap. You can get away with it if you absolutely need it for your cookware, as long as it’s a small amount of very gentle detergent, but teapots are a little more temperamental in the presence of soaps. Fortunately, they’re designed to contain boiling water, which should go a long way toward sterilizing the inside of the pot. After you use your teapot, simply wipe it thoroughly with warm water and invert it to let it dry. If your pot came with an infuser, you can likely clean this with soap and water, but be sure to refer to your pot’s instructions just to be safe.
Over time, you may notice a certain flavor entering the tea from your cast iron, and this is both natural and desirable, especially if you only prefer one or two types of tea, as their flavor profiles will become more complex over the years. You may also notice signs of rust if the pot is left wet for too long, if your climate is particularly humid, or for other reasons. The good news here is that any rust in a cast iron teapot is harmless. In fact, many Japanese artisans carefully cultivate this rust to impart more complex flavors to their tea. If it freaks you out, though, you can wet the area and scrub it with a mild brush, then brew a strong batch of tea to be discarded. The tannic acids in the tea should help seal off the area and prevent any additional rust from forming.
On The Origins Of Tea
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when and where tea was first consumed. It seems like such an integral part of our society that it would be easy to assume it had been around since prehistoric times, like some forms of alcohol or bread. But tea as we know it is a relatively recent phenomenon, at least to the bulk of the western world, and even eastern teas don’t provide us with any hard evidence of their consumption until around the 2nd century B.C.E.
Legend tells a different tale, however, one that reaches back a couple thousand more years, at least.
Legend tells a different tale, however, one that reaches back a couple thousand more years, at least. In one telling, the Chinese emperor sat in his garden boiling some water in accordance with a writ decreeing the water toxic unless boiled. As the water heated up, some leaves from a nearby tree blew into the pot and infused the water with their flavors, colors, and other properties. The emperor drank, and tea was born.
Another legend comes to us from the Chan Buddhist tradition. In it, the religion’s founder accidentally fell asleep during a nine-year-long meditation, and when he woke up, he cut off his own eyelids to prevent it from happening again. It is said that the spot where he threw his eyelids to the ground is where the first tea bush sprung forth from the earth.
Wherever the stuff came from, and whoever drank it first we may never know for sure. What we can say with certainty is that the energizing, medicating, and social benefits of tea are undeniable.