Cast iron teapots, tetsubin in Japanese, are a distinctly Japanese utensil that originated sometime during the 17th century. At that time Japan was very much influenced by China and, although they had been developing their own tea culture for centuries in the form of chanoyu, the Japanese Way of Tea, they primarily used Chinese utensils. It was during the 17th century that the practice of sencha, or loose leaf tea, was introduced to Japan and was taken up enthusiastically by the literati as a sort of break from the formality of chanoyu favored by the ruling class. As the custom of drinking sencha became more widespread among the general Japanese population during the 18th century, the need arose to create a teapot that was less rare and expensive than the Chinese styles. The model used to create this was probably that of a water kettle, the yakkan, already in use in Japan. Eventually, the tetsubin became a household necessity used to boil water, make tea and even provide warmth. The design started out quite simple but over time it got more and more intricate, with the intricate ones being significantly more expensive. Soon the tetsubin became a symbol of status, with the design or style reflecting the class of its owner.
All of our tetsubin teapots come with stainless steel infusers.