Black Enamel ‘Moon’ Cast Iron Teapot


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Made in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, Japan
Foundry: Iwachu
Interior: Enamel coated
Infuser: Stainless steel basket
Packaging: paper box
Height: 3.5″ to top of knob on lid / 6.75″ to top of handle
Functional capacity: 22 oz / 651 ml


Exemplary craftsmanship is the hallmark of Japanese tetsubin – cast iron water kettles and teapots. Tetsubin originated in Japan as pot- bellied, cast iron water kettles with handles and spouts. Tetsubin hung in the hearth on iron chains and were intended for household needs. (Tetsubin were something apart from chagama, the handle-less, spout-less water kettles used in the Japanese tea ceremony). Tetsubin have been faithful servants to emperors, scholars, artists, and tea connoisseurs for hundreds of years. Historically, these water kettles feature simple designs that underscore their functional nature. Eventually the kettles became a status symbol among the elite classes, and the designs and shapes became more intricate and costly. The sizes of the kettles became smaller, too, and more artistic in feeling.

In Iwate Prefecture, located in north-east Japan, the area around Morioka and Mizusawa City have been producing traditional ironware since the Edo period (1603-1868).  Production of ironware is thought to have begun in Morioka City at the end of the 17th century, when craftsmen who came from Kyoto started producing ironware such as teakettles, weapons, and temple bells. Casting in Mizusawa, on the other hand, is said to have originated in the 12th century for items used in Buddhist ceremonies and military armor. Two factors led to the development of metalworking in both places: production materials for metal casting were locally available, including metal ores, good quality clay, and charcoal; and the industry received protection during the Edo period. The name Nambu Tekki was applied to the products of both centers in approximately 1960. Nambu Tekki ironware was designated a traditional craft by the Japanese government in 1975.

Tetsubin water kettles are different than Tetsubin cast-iron teapots, although the teapots evoke the spirit of the kettles.  The interior of a Japanese tetsubin kettle is un-lined cast iron, whereas the interior of a tetsubin teapot is enamel-lined. This is an authentic Japanese testubin teapot made by Iwachu, located in the city of Morioka.  Iwachu has been producing handmade ironware since 1902 and is one of the finest manufacturers of modern Nanbu ironware.  Click here for a pictorial view of the iron casting process –(text is  all in Japanese).

–classic black color
–modern shape, simple / subtle circular lines on “back” of pot represent crescent moon and compliment the overall shape of the pot
–very slight scuff marks on the footring of the pot from being on display in the Tea Trekker retail store (see photos)

This is arguably the most classic shape for these cast iron teapots sold in the West. Timeless and appropriate for any decor, this teapot will serve your household well for several generations.

True, Japanese-made cast iron teapots are extremely difficult to find now, post-tsunami.


Using and Caring for Your Tetsubin Teapot:

  • Thoroughly rinse the teapot with hot water before using for the first time. While the pot is still warm, use a dry cloth to dry the interior.  Make sure the teapot is completely dry before replacing the lid.
  • Use cast iron teapots for steeping tea only.  Never heat over a naked flame or use in a microwave.
  • Before each use, fill the cast iron teapot with warm water.  Allow the pot to sit long enough to retain some of the warmth from the water, then pour the water out.  This will reduce the risk of thermal shock to the pot’s enamel interior.
  • Do not leave any tea or water in the pot and dry thoroughly after each use.
  • Allow the cast iron teapot to cool before cleaning.  Do not clean with any soaps or detergents, use water only.  Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the outside of the teapot.
  • Never use abrasive utensils to clean the interior or exterior of the pot.


Want to know more?

img-more_capacity How We Determine the Size & Capacity of our Teawares