If you are looking for a Japanese cast iron teapot or kettle you’ll come across a company called Iwachu. Whether you are wanting a bright and cheerful teapot or a traditional kettle, Iwachu has you covered with their full line of cast iron hollowware. And with over 100 years of expertise, Iwachu make some of the finest cast-iron teapots, kettles and also some pretty neat cookware. If you have or looking for an authentic Japanese teapot read on to discover why Iwachu teapots are so loved.
In this article, you can learn about the company, the history and how Iwachu make their teapots and kettles. Also, discover the company’s most popular products and tips on how to use and care for your Iwachu ironware.
However, let’s start with a little background information on Iwachu, see the table below.
The company has it’s origins in Morioka which is one of the two
major cast-iron regions in Iwate Japan
2 Chome-23-9 Minamisenboku,
Iwachu was founded in 1902 by Sueyoshi Iwashimizu
Iwachu is owned by N & I Asia Pte Ltd a Japanese company
headquartered in Singapore. (N & I Asia Pte Ltd website)
40 Jln Pemimpin, #04-11 Tat Ann Building,
|Type of casting|
The foundry is a big operation, with most of the products made
using the method of green sand-casting. However, they also
make traditional Tetsubins using clay molding methods.
Iwachu is best known for their range of teapots. But they also
have a beautiful selection of brightly colored teapots and a line
of cast-iron cookware.
History of Iwachu Castings
The Iwachu brand was founded in 1902 by Sueyoshi Iwashimizu, who was born in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Iwate is the largest region in Japan producing cast-ironware called Nambu or Nanbu Tekki depending on the translation. If you want to learn more about Nanbu Tekki and the 900-year-old industry then just click the link.
Who was the founder of Iwachu Castings?
At a very young age, Sueyoshi loved the charm of Nambu Ironware and became an apprentice in a local foundry. He learned all about making high-quality Nambu Ironware during his apprenticeship. And after years of study, Sueyoshi became as one of the most skilled Nambu craftsmen in the region.
Sueyoshi faced many challenges when it came to making Nambu ironware. War ceased production at one time as resources were diverted to the war efforts. And sadly many older pieces of ironware were melted down and repurposed during this time.
Nevertheless, Sueyoshi prevailed and kept the Iwachu brand alive. Eventually, Sueyoshi’s two eldest sons took over the business. The eldest son, Yukichi, who began helping the family business when he was 12 years old, inherited his father’s craftsmanship. Sueyoshi’s second son, Takiji, had Sueyoshi’s cheerful spirit and keen business sense. The two of them worked together to keep the Iwachu brand going strong well into the future.
Today Iwachu is one of the most respected brands in ironware and the company produces over 1,000,000 products annually.
The current owners of Iwachu
Iwachu is owned by N & I Asia, this parent company was founded in 1993 with just three employees and has expanded to include some of the most trusted and well-known Japanese brands, including
- Swiss Diamond
- Zojirushi (which is the most popular rice maker brand in Japan)
N & I Asia similarly run Iwachu to the way Zwilling J. A. Henckels operates Staub. A very hands-off approach, which allows Iwachu to maintain it’s quality and expertise in casting. However, the relationship has allowed Iwachu to expand and be more creative with their products.
Today you can purchase teapots of all shapes and sizes and you can choose from a wide variety of colors.
Iwachu teapots vs kettles, what’s the difference?
Today, IWACHU has become so popular in European retail stores that it has become a synonym for ironware. Two of the most popular products are cast iron teapot and kettles. Iwachu sells both cast-iron kettles and teapots but what is the difference between the two? Read on to find out. Or, here’s an in-depth article on the differences if you want to learn more.
Iwachu cast iron tea kettles
Iwachu makes beautiful Tetsubins or cast iron tea kettles. These are handmade by their in-house artisans. Tetsubins are used to boil water for tea and are not coated inside, making them more susceptible to rust. However, a method of oxidization greatly reduces the chance of rust in today’s kettles. They are traditionally used over open flames. However, today you can use a tetsubin on multiple heat sources.
Iwachu cast iron teapots
Iwachu’s cast iron teapots have an enamel interior coating. These are used for brewing tea and cannot be used over an open flame. Because of the enamel coating teapots are nonporous and easy to clean. The teapots also come with a handy removable infuser to make cleaning a breeze.
The Process Of Making Iwachu Tetsubins
Although Iwachu pioneered mass production of ironware in Japan, the majority of the process of is still done by hand.
Cast-iron tea kettles or tetsubins have been used for more than 400 years to boil water for tea. They are made by a master craftsman known as a “kamashi”. To become a full-fledged “kamashi,” these craftsman study for a minimum of 15 to 40 years. There are about 65 steps needed to make one cast-iron tetsubin. Most of these steps are done manually. Here is an overview of the process: If you have a cast iron kettle you might want to check out our guide to cast iron kettles.
How do Iwachu make their cast iron kettles
|Steps||Process of making Tetsubins kettles|
|First, the craftsman design the Tetsubin.|
Next, the drawing is copied to an iron plate about 1.5 mm
thick and cut out to make a grinding plate.
Sand and clay are mixed to make a mold of the Tetsubin.
The mold is cut using a tool called a ‘cow” and applied to
the grinding plate.
Before the mold dries, the pattern or design for the
Tetsubin is hand-pressed into the mold.
|Mold is assembled|
Then, the outer mold is assembled with the inner mold.
|Iron is poured|
Iron is melted at 1,400 ° C to 1,500 ° C in an electric
furnace. A tool called an is “Yugumi” is used to pour the
hot iron into the space between the outer mold and the
|Mold is carefully |
The cast iron solidifies and is released from the mold.
Then, the inner core and outer molds are removed.
Raw edges are buffed out.
The kettle is then fired in a kiln
|Color is applied|
The iron kettle is heated to about 250 ° C. Lacquer is
then baked on the surface of the kettle. A black patina
called “Ohaguro” is applied to the outside, at a
temperature of about 100 ° C to 150 ° C.
The kettle is finally polished with a mixture of green tea
and vinegar to give a glossy finish.
How are Iwachu cast iron teapots made?
The process to make cast iron teapots is somewhat different than for Tetsubins. Cast iron tea kettles are made to boil water whereas cast iron teapots are only used to make the tea. They are coated with enamel on the inside to prevent rust. Here is an overview of the process that Iwachu uses to make its teapots. I have also written an informative guide on cast iron teapots if you’re interested.
Sand molds using special foundry sand are pressed
into the desired shape. An external mold is carefully placed
into the mold, which will eventually form hollow in the
|Iron is poured|
Iron is melted in a furnace at about 1,500 ° C. The iron is
then poured into the mold.
|The sand mold is |
When the iron in the mold solidifies, the mold and
gate-mark are then removed and checked for imperfections.
The teapots are then placed into a centrifuge to remove sand
and smooth edges.
Once all the sand is removed, it is then polished and buffed
individually by skilled foundry workers until the surface is
smooth and edges free of rough edges.
A unique feature of Nambu Tekkei or ironware from Japan
the oxidization process in which the teapot is heated to a
high temperature in a kiln oxidizing the surface to prevent
Then enamel is then baked on the inner surface at a high
The craftsman then hand-paint the outer surface of the
Iwachu cast iron products
Here’s your guide to some of Iwachu’s most notable offerings, today.
Iwachu Black Hailstone Teapot Series
This authentic Japanese handcrafted Hailstone Teapot Series features the classic Hailstone pattern, which is one of the oldest teapot designs. The teapots are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. The elegance and beauty of these teapots make them perfect for tea service especially when used with the matching teacups, trivet, and cast iron teapot warmer. The flat 16-ounce teapot that is ideal for a romantic tea service for two. The large 36-ounce is suitable for a larger gathering.
This teapot is low and wide profile. It is a classical Japanese kettle
shape but it is very different from a standard looking teapot.
And it had a bumpy exterior surface.
The teapot has a 16-ounce capacity. Or two standard cups.
This teapot is enameled on the inside
|Yes, the infuser can easily be removed for easy cleaning.|
The teapot is designed for brewing two cups of tea
|Where to buy||If you want to check out this cute teapot here is an affiliate link to |
All of the teapots in this series include a stainless steel infuser basket and have a rust-proof enamel coating baked on the inside. This makes them perfect for steeping tea but not suitable for use over an open flame.
Iwachu Japanese Artisan Iron Teardrop Teapot Series
With its flowing, graceful lines, this teardrop-shaped cast iron teapot from Iwachu is a contemporary take on a classic design. It features an elongated spout and a squat body. This design helps ensure a clean and smooth pour with no dripping.
This particular teapot has a 23-ounce capacity and serves up to four. The Teardrop Teapot is available in classic matte black, turquoise, pink, and purple. An enamel coating on the inside helps resist rust. Because of the coating, it should not be used over an open flame.
A teapot with a modern sleek yet timeless design. It has a smooth
matte finish and whether you are traditionalist like myself or
prefer modern designs you’ll love the look and feel of the teapot.
23-ounce capacity or 2.8 full cups
The interior is fully enameled
Yes, the teapot has a removable stainless steel infuser.
|Use||The teapot is designed for brewing 3-4 cups of tea|
|Where to buy|
You can check out this pretty neat looking teapot on Amazon
Iwachu Maple Leaf Cast Iron Teapot Series
This series features a unique maple leaf design. In Japan, maple leaves are admired for their dainty beauty. This 22-ounce teapot is available in gold & black, bronze, green, and red. The colors are made to represent the beauty of autumn leaves. Like Iwachu’s other teapots, this one has a stainless steel infuser basket, and baked porcelain enamel on the inside. It should not be used directly on the stove.
This design is so popular that other manufacturers copy the
design. However, if you want an authentic Japanese teapot, look
|Capacity||This teapot holds 22-Ounces or 2.8 full cups|
The teapot is fully enameled.
|Yes, the teapot has an easy to clean infuser.|
This teapot should hold 3-4 cups of tea depending on the size of
|Where to buy|
If you want to see this nifty teapot then click the link to Amazon
Iwachu Japanese Iron Teapot, Honeycomb Series
This series of teapots feature an elegant honeycomb design. The Japanese have been using this hexagonal pattern as a template for samurai armor for centuries. The Honeycomb Series teapots are available in a 30-ounce capacity, which is perfect for tea service. They are all coated in enamel to resist rust. A removable stainless steel mesh infuser is included. Colors include classic black, gold & taupe, gold & cranberry, lavender & silver, gold & purple, and turquoise.
The surface of this Iwachu teapot has a pebbly surface, that gives
the teapot, a real sense of individual character.
The honeycomb series comes in a variety of sizes. However, it is
also available in a larger 30-ounce capacity which is just under 1
The teapot is enameled for easy cleaning
|Yes, the teapot has a big wide stainless steel infuser.|
With a nearly a quart of tea, the teapot is ideal if you have a few
friends around for tea.
Where to buy
To see this teapot just click the link which will direct you to Amazon
Iwachu Japanese Hobnail Arare Cast Iron Teapot Series
These teapots have the hobnail design, which is a classic Japanese teapot design preferred by tea connoisseurs for its simple beauty. The Hobnail series comes in a range of sizes from 20 ounces to 44 ounces, making them perfect for a variety of uses. They are available in classic black, copper, bronze, and many color combinations, as well. All feature a rust-proof enamel interior coating, and a stainless steel mesh tea strainer.
This teapot has a traditional design. It is the most familiar
pattern many people will recognize. Unlike, many other teapots
this one is made in Japan.
This teapot has a 22-ounce capacity or around 3 cups of tea.
The teapot is fully enameled inside to protect it from rust and
the emailed makes the teapot easy to rinse out.
|Yes, it has a removable stainless steel infuser.|
A 22-ounce teapot is a perfect size for a couple or at work so you
can enjoy a couple of cups of teas while you’re at your desk.
|Where to buy|
If you want to see a classic Iwachu teapot, Check out on Amazon
Iwachu Cast Iron Tea Kettles and Teapots – Use & Care
Cast iron tea kettles and teapots can last for hundreds of years with proper use and care.
To use your Iwachu Cast Ironware, follow these steps:
- Before you use your teapot or kettle, wash it with warm water. Then, dry the inside and outside of the kettle with a cloth.
- Never boil water in an Iwachu Cast Iron Teapot. These are coated on the inside with an enamel lining. Boiling water in these teapots will damage the coating.
- Either use an Iwachu tea kettle that is safe for stovetop use or boil water separately in another vessel.
- You might notice white marks or red spots on the bottom of the teapot after about two to three weeks after first use. This is normal and no cause for concern. It keeps rust from forming. Plus, in Japan, this buildup is considered to be good for your health as it contains iron.
- You might notice indentations on the bottom of your Tetsubin or cast iron teapot. These are completely normal. They are formed during the process of making the teapot. If you want to learn how to make a great tasting cup of tea using a cast iron teapot, just click the link.
Iwachu cast iron teapot care
Follow these care steps.
- After you are done using the teapot, pour out the excess water from the teapot.
- Then allow the teapot to dry with the lid off.
- To keep the surface of your teapot looking shiny, soak a soft cloth in tea. Then, gently polish the outside of the teapot.
- Don’t leave tea standing in the teapot for long periods.
- Also, expose the teapot to salt or oils.
- Finally, don’t use harsh cleaners or detergents. This could damage the interior lining.
When you purchase an Iwachu teapot, you can be sure that you are getting an authentic Japanese cast iron teapot. The use of cast iron teapots dates back centuries when they were part of the traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Iwachu has maintained a classic, timeless aesthetics in its teapot design.
Iwachu is known for having some of the finest teapot craftsmen in Japan. The company has been producing teapots for more than 100 years. Every Iwachu teapot is carefully designed by an artisan. So, no two teapots are alike.
Iwachu has several teapot collections. The teapots in a variety of designs, sizes, and colors. Many of the designs are based on Japanese symbols. For instance, dragonflies symbolize power, victory, and agility in Japan. Iwachu has a whole series of dragonfly teapots.
With the proper care, an Iwachu teapot will last forever. It won’t discolor, chip, or rust. No matter which Iwachu teapot you choose for your tea service, you can be sure that you will get a high-quality, timeless piece of ironware.