Tetsubin, or iron teapots, were originally used in the home to boil water. These tetsubins generally were not ornately decorated, as they were placed over a hearth to provide heat and humidity during cold weather. During the mid 19th century as infused tea drinking became more popular, tetsubin evolved from being a kitchen item to being a status symbol used to serve tea. Some of these tetsubin were even elaborately decorated with a high relief design or inlay of copper, gold, or silver.
To assure the longevity of your tetsubin please follow these basic guidelines:
- Use the tetsubin to brew tea, not as a stove-top kettle. Do not leave tea standing in the tetsubin for long periods of time.
- Do not scrub the tetsubin with abrasive pads or use harsh detergents.
- Simply rinse it with water and wipe it dry after each use.
- Do not expose the tetsubin to salt or oils.
In Japan, a natural mineral layer buildup from use is considered to be good for the health and to help prevent rust from forming.