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Frequently asked questions

Shipping

Where does KOTAI ship?

KOTAI ships worldwide.

How much does shipping cost?

We offer free shipping on all orders. By using top-tier courier services, we can ensure that your package will arrive in a safe and timely manner.

When will my order ship?

Orders are shipped within 1-2 business days. You will receive an email with your shipment tracking information and you will be cooking delicious meals in no time.

What about duties and taxes?

We cover duties and taxes for shipments to all countries. You will not have to pay additional fees beyond the product price.

Where will my order be shipped from?

US orders are shipped from our warehouse in Texas. All other orders are shipped from our Global Logistics Center in Hong Kong.

How long does delivery take?

Shipping typically takes 2-5 business days. You will receive a tracking number shortly after placing your order.

I have not received my order, what should I do?

Please check the tracking number that was e-mailed to you. If that does not work, please email us at help@kotaikitchen.com with the order details and we will look into it immediately.

Payment

Which payment methods do you accept?

We accept most credit and debit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay and Apple Pay.

Please ensure that your billing name and address is entered exactly as it appears on your statements. For the protection of our customers, transactions cannot be processed if billing information is not 100% accurate. Your card is not charged until the order ships.

How do I redeem a promotion or coupon code?

To redeem a promotion code, enter the code in the appropriate field during checkout. Be sure to enter the code with the exact spelling and capitalisation as shown. You must click "Apply" in order for the discount to be applied. The discounted amount will be automatically displayed and deducted from the total. If the code is invalid, expired, or you have not placed the correct products in the shopping bag, the discount will not be applied. In case you encounter a problem with a coupon code, please reach us at help@kotaikitchen.com.

Order

Can I modify an order I already placed?

We process orders as fast as possible, so once you have placed it, we are typically unable to make adjustments to your shipping address or items. If you need to make any changes or cancellations, please send us a note at help@kotaikitchen.com as soon as possible with the subject line "Changing my order" or "Cancelling my order", and we will do our best to help before your order ships out.

Can I return or exchange an item?

KOTAI is committed to your happiness. If at any time within 90 days of receiving your KOTAI knife you are not satisfied with your purchase, you may contact us and we will process a full refund with the return of your KOTAI knife. Please email us at help@kotaikitchen.com to arrange to return or exchange your product.

Warranty

What is the “KOTAI Lifetime Warranty”?

Every single KOTAI knife has been through a rigorous quality control process and will not leave our factory before having been manually checked by 3 different inspectors.

That is why we stand behind our products 100% and offer a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Also, if at any time within 90 days of receiving your KOTAI knife you are not satisfied with your purchase, you may contact us and we will process a full refund with the return of your KOTAI knife.

You may reach us at help@kotaikitchen.com and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Maintenance

How should I clean my knife?

A good knife should be washed by hand with soapy, warm water and wiped dry immediately afterwards.

Dishwashers should be avoided as they might dull your knife.

How should I store my knife?

Never leave your knife unprotected in a drawer, as the edge might get damaged by other utensils and you may cut yourself when reaching for it.

Most chefs will use a magnetic strip to store their knife safely while having it at hand easily.

Knife blocks are a good option too, as long as they are made of soft material such as wood or rubber so as not to damage the edge of your blade.

How should I sharpen my knife?

This highly depends on the frequency of your cooking, but as a rule of thumb you should hone your knife with a metal or ceramic rod once a week (for 10 seconds only) and sharpen it on a whetstone 1-2 times a year. The more you use your knife, the more frequent sharpening it will need.

If you cut with a proper forward, slicing motion and always use soft cutting boards (wood or plastic, not marble or metal), your knife will stay sharp much longer.

Knives

How does the kotai warranty work?

Why is it so important for a knife to be sharp?

As all chefs know, good cooking starts with precise cutting, which can only be achieved with two ingredients: sharpness and balance.

Almost any steel can be made sharp but only high-carbon steel - such as the Japanese 440C used by KOTAI - can be tempered to the hardness necessary to keep its edge through sustained use. With an >HRC (Rockwell hardness) of 60, KOTAI knives can take a razor-sharp edge and maintain it through an impressive amount of cutting, slicing, chopping and mincing.

Poorly-made and dull knives are also dangerous. Not only will they “crush” your food instead of effortlessly slicing through it, but they might also cause accidents. Indeed, you will need to apply more force to cut through food and the blade might slip and cut your fingers. Also, excessive strain caused by poor sharpness or lack of balance can cause wrist injury.

Why not just buy a $20 knife? It cuts too, right?

A “cheap” knife will end up costing you more in the long term, because it will break or go dull. Low quality steels will not keep a sharp edge no matter how many hours you waste on sharpening, and you will end up having to buy a new one every year or so.

There are plenty of “cheap” knives that cannot perform to decent standards, but very few options for chefs who are passionate about cooking, need the right tools to assist them in their career or hobby but are not willing to overspend on a brand name. Get your KOTAI knife today for a lifetime of safe and delicious cooking.

Why is the blade hammered?

Tsuchime (hammered in Japanese) is a traditional Japanese method by which the blade is given a distinctive texture through repeated hammering.

This texture helps prevent the food being sliced from sticking to the blade, because it creates pockets of air between the blade and the slices of food.

Having rounds of potatoes or carrots sticking to the blade can make the kitchen worktop messy and cooking less enjoyable. For faster and more precise cooking, more and more Japanese and Western chefs are adopting tsuchime blades.

Just like chefs and their cooking style, each tsuchime pattern is unique. There will be no other knife identical to yours.

What is HRC (Rockwell hardness) and why is it important?

The Rockwell scale helps to compare the hardness materials, such as different types of steel. It measures hardness based on the depth of penetration of a diamond cone pressed into the material at a constant pressure. Put simply, the higher the number, the harder the material.

KOTAI hardens 440C steel to 59-60 Rockwell. An increase of 1 degree Rockwell equates to an increase in hardness of about 10% as well as an increase in edge-holding ability. This degree of hardness enable KOTAI knives to be thin, hard, and precise without being brittle.

What is the difference between Japanese and German steels? Which is better?

German chef knives are generally heavier, thicker and made of “softer” steel.

Thicker blades combined with a wider, more obtuse cutting angle (typically 20-25 degrees on each side of the blade) mean that chefs must apply more pressure to slice through foods.

The softer German steel (typically HRC 55-56) will get dull faster and require more maintenance, many cooks having to hone their knives before each use.

Japanese steels have a higher carbon content, making the blades significantly harder (HRC 58 and above). Due to their harder steel, the blades can be thinner and the edge sharper (with a more acute angle) than German knives. KOTAI knives are hardened to HRC 59-60 and sharpened to a 15° angle on each side of the blade. The harder, thinner blades make Japanese steel knives like KOTAI extremely agile, precise, and less tiring to use.

This does not mean that knives made of German steel are bad - the “softer” steel allows them to take a bit more abuse than high-end Japanese equivalents.

But Japanese steel knives are a different thing altogether. If you are used to German knives, you might find that you need to refine your knife technique to make the best of the added precision that Japanese steel knives have to offer.

For example, chefs who are used to simply pressing downward to make a cut with a German style knife would have to adjust and slice forward or backward with their new Japanese style knife.

This will slice the food instead of crushing it, making effortless and precise cuts.

Manufacturing

Where are KOTAI knives made?

KOTAI knives are made with high-end Japanese steel imported from Aichi and handcrafed by expert knifemakers in our state-of-the-art facility located in YangJiang, China’s knife-making capital for over 1500 years. We are blessed to be able to rely on a team of knives experts whose families have been in the craft for many generations and who share our uncompromising vision on quality.

Why are KOTAI knives less expensive than other high-end knives?

Our mission at KOTAI is to democratise high-end kitchen knives. We strive to enable passionate home chefs to have very sharp and durable knives without overspending on brand name and retail distribution. To achieve this, we have sourced outstanding materials from Japan and completely streamlined the distribution (directly from the factory to the kitchen, no intermediaries), making it possible for chefs to enjoy professional quality at wholesale prices.

How long does it take to make a knife?

Our knives are not machine-made. To be completed, each knife requires 138 steps, most of them done by hand by our experienced knifemakers.

From heat treatment, polishing, sharpening and our proprietary assembly methods, it takes over 60 days for our workers to finish a KOTAI knife.