Labware = the best basic kettle?


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Labware = the best basic kettle?

Postby databody » Nov 2nd, '13, 21:03

I've been searching for an all-around starter kettle to replace my rusty le creuset that always burns me with steam and has plastic components.

I'm still searching and have increasingly thought that laboratory grade glassware might be the answer. I remember in school experiments we would always boil water in beakers on hotplates and they never seemed to crack and I would have though they would be unlikely to react with much since that would interfere with the "experiments". But I'm not an expert.

Anyone have experience/advice concerning the use of a beaker or some other laboratory glass ware to heat water for tea? Especially with regard to water taste and toxicity/health?
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Re: Labware = the best basic kettle?

Postby Drax » Nov 2nd, '13, 21:27

The biggest downside to using labware to boil water would be the need for lab tongs or heat gloves. Most labware does not come with any sort of handle (whether Erlenmeyer flasks or just simple beakers) -- you'd be taking the water to boiling, and you'd have to use some sort of tool to help you pick up the flask. Yes, Erlenmeyer flasks are designed to be cooler up at the top, but given the size you'd probably be using, they get awfully heavy with that much water and awkward to tip with just one hand (again, w/o touching the rest of the glass).

It might be fun for show or something, but I'd hate to have to go that route for daily drinking.

But other than that, glassware should do nothing to the water other than boil it... well, as long as you get unused glassware. :D
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Re: Labware = the best basic kettle?

Postby Poohblah » Nov 2nd, '13, 22:39

If you're going to bother getting a hot plate or finding some other method to heat a vessel, you might as well just get an actual kettle. This one is supposed to be pretty good. It's all glass and it's not too expensive, so it counts as a "basic kettle".

databody wrote:...Especially with regard to water taste...
Keep in mind that pure H₂0 - a.k.a. "neutral" water - is rarely ideal water for tea. When tea enthusiasts go looking for better water, including better ways of boiling water, the goal is never to get water that has less "stuff" in it. The goal is to find water that contains the right "stuff".

Though for quite some time before tea became a hobby of mine, I would often boil water for tea by filling a 1/2 litre Pyrex measuring glass with tap water, then nuking it in the microwave for a few minutes... it was fun because sometimes you could superheat the water :mrgreen: Pyrex measuring cups are made from laboratory-grade glassware (as far as I'm aware), and they're sold in kitchenware stores, and they have a handle, though honestly I don't know why you wouldn't just get a glass kettle if you're considering a glass beaker anyway...
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