So I’ve been using the tetsubin to make water that I then use to brew tea. How has it turned out?
Pretty well, actually.
The tetsubin does make the water seem a little softer, instead of having that sharp edge that a stainless steel water kettle will provide. It also makes the water a little heavier. I’ve found that for my aged oolongs, which are my tea of choice these days, it means the tea comes out a little more flavourful. The iron ions or whatever are drawing stuff out of the tea. Today I had my aged tieguanyin from my candy store, and it came out particularly strongly in a way that wasn’t really true when I had this tea a week or two ago.
That said, it might interfere with certain types of tea, especially green teas, if the water is used for that. It will make the colour of the tea darker, and the flavour will be also darker accordingly. That might not be ideal in the case of, say, a good longjing where all you want is that light and crisp bean taste. You won’t get that with this kind of water.
One practical problem has been the size of this little thing — it’s a bit on the small side. Three infusions, and I need a new pot of water. That is a slight problem, and since boiling water on the alcohol burner takes forever, I need to go to the stove, heat the water up, and let the alcohol burner do the last bit of boiling. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s the most sensible one. Curiously, the lid is actually very air tight. It’s fine when it’s on the alcohol burner, but when heated on the stove, it seems like the thing was never designed for such a high level of heat and water can start spewing out because of the lack of a vent on the lid (mostly because it’s such a flat thing so the spout is only slightly higher than the body). Pretty interesting.