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(Bloomberg Businessweek) -- Not to be confused with tetsubin—the Japanese kettles used to boil water—cast-iron teapots, or tetsu kyusu, have the same heat retention and durability as their stove-top cousins. A delicate enamel glaze inside, however, makes them strictly for brewing tea after the water has been heated, not sitting on an open flame. The $79 Kambin pot from German brand JA Unendlich combines a traditional sand-casting process with craftsmanship that’s evident in its detailed, brightly colored exterior.

THE COMPETITION

· Georg Jensen’s stainless-steel Helena teapot ($200), by Spanish jewelry designer Helena Rohner, has sloping modern lines.

· Also stainless steel, the Cylinda ($315), has a midcentury silhouette by Arne Jacobsen, the Danish master.

· Ichendorf Milano’s $48 Osaka teapot has a disklike shape and volume similar to the Kambin’s. Made entirely of borosilicate glass, it trades the insulating properties and grit of cast iron for stunning presentation.

THE CASE

Kambin’s flattened body, which can hold 3½ cups of your favorite brew, is visually striking but also lends balance as you pour and set it down. The weight of the cast iron means you don’t have to hold the lid in place when moving the teapot. The wide, high handle keeps your knuckles a safe distance from a hot finial. And the added step of steeping tea in a separate kettle is a ritualistic gesture that makes even a simple cup of sencha feel like your own religious rite. $79

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Gaddy at jgaddy@bloomberg.net, Chris Rovzar

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