Glass Vs. Cast Iron
Ok, show your support. What’s your fancy?
I’ve never tried cast iron and know nothing about it. What’s the benefits? Do certain countries historically use them? Only for certain teas? I love glassware because you can see the liquor and the leaves, but want to get into clayware as well.
From what i know i see glass and ceramic pots more in english / US tea houses, and cast iron in Japanese tea houses. The cast iron keeps the tea warmer longer, but it’s even more important to pre-warm the pot than with glass.
Glass allows you to see the coloring and leaves as it steeps and cast iron does not.
We have both kinds, we use cast iron more because we drink slowly and the heat retention is important.
Hmmm… heat retention during steeping really concerns me (see http://steepster.com/discuss/118-maintaining-temperature-during-steeping). How does cast iron compare to clayware for this purpose?
Cast iron keeps the tea hot for a longer period of time. Some iron gets into the water as well. It’s super sturdy, but I don’t like how it’s so hot on the outside. Burned myself the first time I touched one.
I’m in a wheelchair so lifting a hot, heavy pot full of hot liquid when I also have to push and use my hands for other things I don’t think would be very practical or safe. Not to mention I’m an ubber klutz.
@Cofftea – if you keep your tea stuff together (kettle, pot, cup) you won’t need to worry about moving with the pot – and pouring the smaller cast iron pots isn’t much harder than the large ceramic pots.
notice you should use a kettle and pot, you should not heat your water in a cast iron pot.
My small cast iron pot works well at the office since I expect constant interruptions. I pour out only half a cup at a time. This way I can usually have warm tea most of the pot.
My girlfriend bought me a lovely cast iron teapot, enamel lined inside. I love it but don’t use it terribly often because I usually just steep in the cup with a mesh strainer. She got me beautiful matching cast iron cups to go with but I don’t care to use them often because they do get very hot when the tea’s poured in them. I would only use them for greens at a sub-boiling temperature, really. There’s nothing like a cast iron pot for keeping your tea warm, though!
I do like my cast iron pot – it just feels like a tea pot should. Thats not to say i’m not a fan of glass pots though as it is nice to see the water changing colour and the leaves unfurling
As others have mentioned, cast iron teapots are great for heat retention, so if you enjoy sipping your tea and keeping it warm, that would be one of the biggest advantages. Many today, especially Japanese tetsubin teapots have an enamel coating inside to minimize rust and is not meant for heating on the stovetop. See here for a few of our picks: http://everythingfortea.com/product-category/cast-iron-teapots/
Glass offers a different experience since you can appreciate the color of your steep and even enjoy flowering teas. Take a look here, we have a few selections that have a warmer stand: http://everythingfortea.com/product-category/glass-teapots/
I make smaller amounts of tea so I don’t need to keep them warm for very long. Between glass and cast iron I definitely prefer glass. There’s nothing like seeing your leaves slowly unfurl and the color gradually deepen.
What I like most about cast iron—which I use specifically and only for green teas—is that it immediately cools the water by about 10C. This makes it easy to avoid bitterness caused by overheating. My favorites also have deep infuser baskets, which can be removed after a short steep, eliminating another possible source of bitterness.
I would not use a tetsubin for black teas or oolongs, since they usually call for hotter water, but also because I like to see what’s happening. I do use glass for jasmine dragon pearls—though green—since half the fun is watching the show—sort of like a striptease, no?