If you have been thinking about whether you should buy a cast iron teapot then you have stumbled across the perfect article. There are a heap of things that you can only learn about cast iron tea kettles and cups after having used them for a while and I have been using one for a little over a year now.
The model I have been using is a purple powder coated cast iron teapot with two small cast iron cups. The image below is identical to the one I own but is in green where mine is light purple. I have had sufficient time over this past year to become well acquainted with all of it's positives and negatives and hopefully I can share this information with you to help you make your decision about whether or not you also want to purchase a cast iron teapot.
The Obvious Benefit of Cast Iron Teapots - Durability
You do not really need to own a cast iron teapot to know that their main strength lies in their durability. Purchasing one of these is a lifelong investment. Iron has been used as a tea setting material for hundreds of years for this exact reason, preserved specimens have even been found in ancient China. There is very little to do in terms of looking after most iron tea wares too, a simple rinse and an occasional wash if they are enameled on the inside. At most you want to make sure that they completely dry out in between uses to prevent any rusting. You are unlikely to ever break a cast iron teapot, it's more likely to break your floor if you were to drop it. A re-occurring joke between my partner and myself is that if we dropped our teapot we wouldn't be able to recover it without shovels to dig it out of the ground.
The Double Edged Sword - Heat Absorbtion
A property of cast iron is that it is very good at absorbing and retaining heat. In the practice of tea serving this becomes a bit of a 'double edged sword'. First the negative; before brewing it is a good idea to warm your teapot first, otherwise the iron will suck all the heat out of the tea. The up side of this is that once the teapot is heated up it will keep your tea warm for a long time meaning you can drink at your own leisurely pace. To deal with this I either run some warm water into the teapot before I pour the water in for brewing or I simply position it near a heat source such as my stove. This way the pot is warm before brewing and it stays that way for a long time.
Watch Your hands!
Because of the same reasons as above cast iron gets really hot. You can quite easily burn your self by touching the side of the teapot after pouring the boiling water in. This is not a big deal on the teapot itself as it has a heat-free handle to hold for carrying and pouring. It also came with a stand that keeps it off the table so no problems there either. However, this hot-to-the-touch attribute was a deal breaker for the small cast iron cups that came with my pot. The cups would get way to hot drinking straight tea (my preferred tea) and were almost unusable. Cast Iron teacups with wooden or otherwise cooled handles would be a great addition to the set but my small iron ones are now mostly decorative (they do look fantastic).
For me cast iron teapots are the all oout winners of the looks contest for tea wares. Every single one I have looked at was stunning, 'cool' or beautiful. Their appearance just lends itself to relaxing times as well. When I use my teapot it is easy to imagine myself meditating in a Bhuddisht monestary in the mountains. Of course delicate china teapots are always going to be considered the epitomy of beauty but there is just something magical about the ancient iron tea kettle.
Cast iron teapots are not really the best choice for someone who likes to drink their tea quickly and convieniently. They take a while to heat up and it takes some time for your tea to cool to drinking temperature. However, if you like to sit and enjoy your tea for a good amount of time, perhaps while enjoying a good conversation or even just a peaceful rest then this is what you should be buying. The great thing is that you will only ever need one as it will never break, although there is no reason to stop at just one cast iron teapot!
Good quality cast iron teapots just like the one pictured above are available in tea specialist centers and on Amazon. Thank you for reading!