Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help


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Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby fire_snake » Dec 8th, '12, 15:06

Good day, everyone.

My Lagostina stainless steel pot really isn't cutting it, for three reasons: lousy pour, having to carry it from stove to tea table, and the constant threat of boiling the pot dry.

I've had my eye on some Kamjove kettles, but I've heard - anecdotally - that their quality can be spotty. A Teachat member posted photos of one with a disintegrating inner heating element after barely a year of use.

So I'll post my requirements, and hopefully clarity will soon follow. ;)

1. Stainless steel. An absolute requirement on the inside, and preferably as much on the outside as possible. Is there a better material than this?

2. Size. It doesn't need to be big at all. Big enough for one or two people is fine. I can see that a lot of the Kamjove kettles are smaller anyway, which is good, I think.

3. I need the heating element to be on the outside, on the base. I *do not* want it on the inside of the kettle.

4. Auto shut-off (to prevent prolonged boiling/boiling dry.) Would be nice to have a feature that keeps the water warm or at a similar temperature.

5. A thin, well-made spout. I'm looking for a great, controlled pour, which would enable me to pour around the sides of a gaiwan.

6. I'm willing to pay more for quality. I'd like something that won't break/disintegrate/catch on fire/pose any health risk in less than two years. These things should last for years, anyway.

7. Style. I don't want it to look ugly. Some of those stainless steel Kamjove kettles look very stylish, not at all out of place alongside nice teaware.

8. Voltage/Power. I need it to work in USA/Canada.

9. Reliable retailer. If I'm to order this online (though I'd prefer to find one in person, locally) I'd like to order from a reputable retailer. I would not be thrilled to have to wait for the item forever due to laziness.

Thank you.

Christian
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby wyardley » Dec 8th, '12, 15:59

Other than induction based systems, I think most Kamjove kettles, as well as most similar style ones made by other manufacturers, have an internal heating element inside the kettle body. Even in kettles where the heating element isn't directly exposed to the water, I think any kind of heat element is almost always part of the kettle, rather than part of the base (otherwise, there'd be a risk of burning yourself once the kettle is no longer covering the heating element).

I have seen a lot of electric kettles, but can't think of any meeting all of your requirements.
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby Poohblah » Dec 8th, '12, 19:17

I think the above post is correct. Many of the stainless steel electric kettles on the market (e.g. Pino, Adagio) have the heating element in the kettle itself, not the base, but the heating element is concealed, that is, separated from the water and not directly exposed to any water.

If you're really super concerned about this issue, an alternative route would be to purchase an electric hot plate and a standard stovetop kettle (or just the kettle if you're always near a stovetop). As far as hot plates are concerned, ones with exposed ceramic elements are slower to heat, leak more heat, and are more dangerous, but also cheaper, as opposed to induction hot plates, which are expensive and only work with some types of kettles but also efficient and safe. They can sometimes be loud too, since they need fans to cool the circuitry.

As for your other concerns, I'm afraid that most electric kettles have an annoyingly stubby spout. There are some that don't - this one or its sister for example - but they're a small minority.

Despite its (nonexistent) spout, I rather like this electric kettle which I saw at a hardware store yesterday. The heating element is concealed, and the body of the kettle is made entirely of neutral materials (glass, stainless steel). Plus watching the water boil through the glass is a great way to tell how hot it is. On the other hand, I think a glass kettle on a stovetop would achieve the same thing but save a lot of money, and there are some great glass kettles out there.
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby wyardley » Dec 8th, '12, 19:50

The Capresso is not bad (other than its pour). The old versions had a "chrome" looking plastic dome over the heating element, which many complained flavored the water, but from what I understand, it's been replaced with metal in the new version. It also heats very quickly. The Tea Gallery in NY used to use the original version of this kettle to preheat water at their old brick and mortar location.

As I've said in other posts (and the OP is well advised to search the archives for similar posts), I like the Tianyi brand kettles sold by ITC, some Ten Ren locations, etc. Similar to Kamjove, but a bit better made, with a nice Bakelite base. The electrical mechanism is primative, but I've been using mine daily for probably > 5 years now. It feels more solid and less plasticy than the Kamjove TP-680 (though admittedly it's also often 2x the price or more). But all of these kettles have heating elements more or less directly exposed to the water.

Most of the kettles targeting the US market have a sub-par spout. The only exception are the constricted spout ones designed for pourover coffee making, though personally, I like to have a spout which can pour fast when I want it to.

I'm not a huge induction fan, though I'm not one of those kooks who thinks it disturbs the qi of the water or something. But one thing to note is that if you get an induction base designed for a tea kettle, it should work with most induction capable kettles, so if you get a set with a sufficiently powerful base, you can always sub in a different (induction capable) kettle.

I agree with Pooblah about a hot plate or alcohol burner if it works for you. I generally use a combination of stovetop and alcohol burner at home (occasionally, but rarely, also using a Zoji to preheat water), and just use the electric kettle at work.
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby minor_glitch » Dec 9th, '12, 03:19

I just got the Bonavita variable temp gooseneck pot and aside from getting used to the somewhat odd functionality of the buttons, I'm really impressed with it. Especially with how accurate the pour is. I bet I could fill a gonfu cup from 10 feet away without spilling a drop!
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby ImmortaliTEA » Dec 9th, '12, 12:16

minor_glitch wrote:I just got the Bonavita variable temp gooseneck pot and aside from getting used to the somewhat odd functionality of the buttons, I'm really impressed with it. Especially with how accurate the pour is. I bet I could fill a gonfu cup from 10 feet away without spilling a drop!


Agreed. I have the non-variable electric gooseneck and must say that even one without much experience would be able to pour into a 40 ml yixing with much ease!
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby edkrueger » Dec 9th, '12, 12:45

I have the variable temperature one and am getting a non-variable one. I don't find the the spout makes pouring too slow. It takes about 7 seconds to fill up a 300ml pot.
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby Chip » Dec 9th, '12, 13:12

edkrueger wrote:I have the variable temperature one and am getting a non-variable one. I don't find the the spout makes pouring too slow. It takes about 7 seconds to fill up a 300ml pot.

At the risk of being too esoteric and off topic 8) (but the OP has not been back anyway ... yet) ...

When boiling a full kettle, have you ever measured the temp of the water as it first comes out of the gooseneck. It seems to me that it would be cool(er) as the water has not been in the actual kettle portion during the heating process. Or better yet, measure the temp of the water while it is still in the spout.

My point being, the first water poured out from the kettle and into the pot would be much cooler than the water in the body of the kettle since it was in the spout during heating ... seemingly.

I have raised this question before, but I guess I was being too esoteric. But I am actually serious about the question.
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby Chip » Dec 9th, '12, 13:13

Dang, the Breville would just take all the fun out of tea ... :(
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby edkrueger » Dec 9th, '12, 13:29

Chip wrote:At the risk of being too esoteric and off topic 8) (but the OP has not been back anyway ... yet) ...

When boiling a full kettle, have you ever measured the temp of the water as it first comes out of the gooseneck. It seems to me that it would be cool(er) as the water has not been in the actual kettle portion during the heating process. Or better yet, measure the temp of the water while it is still in the spout.


I'm pretty sure it would be the exact opposite. The spout is part of the kettle, so it would heat up hotter than the air. If you pour low enough in to a preheated pot, you can actually see the water boiling a bit in the pot.
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby Chip » Dec 9th, '12, 13:37

... hotter than the air, yes, but certainly not as hot as the interior of the kettle body where the heating elements are.

If you heated a full kettle, I would be curious to know actual temps of water as it first comes out of the spout and how much comes out before it is the hot hot water ... :idea: :?: :!: :arrow: :mrgreen:

Point being, that the first water to hit the leaves may be significantly cooler than boiling.

Also, between steeps, it seems the water would cool in the spout to some degree as well.
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby AdamMY » Dec 9th, '12, 13:48

Though my understanding of fluids, in all but rather rare occasions if the same fluid is in contact with itself ( by same I mean nearly identical in all measurable regards) with the exception of temperature, it will lead to currents flowing, moving hot to cold and cold to hot through the currents that form between those two areas. So I do not think the water in the spout will be vastly different from that in the kettle. As to the water hitting the leaves being cooler initially, well isn't that true for every single type of kettle?

I mean with a good long spout you can get down to exactly where you want it. Yes the tip of the spout may be cooler than the rest of the kettle, but it definitely is warmer than the air. But at the same time, if you don't have a long spout, and you can't get that close to your pot without creating a mess, you have to actually be in contact with the air, which is probably even worse as water never flows in a steady stream when just being pulled by gravity. Slow motion camera's always show it breaks up into a bunch of drops, meaning it is now suddenly surrounded by room temp air( cooler than the kettle spout).

Just my two cents.
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby Chip » Dec 9th, '12, 14:24

Understood ... but I would still like ... "scientific results" ... short of buying one myself at this point. I have wondered about this casually for several years everytime I see one.

However even touching the spout where the water is and touching the body of the kettle would likely give you two levels of heat ...
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby ImmortaliTEA » Dec 9th, '12, 19:35

Chip wrote:Understood ... but I would still like ... "scientific results" ... short of buying one myself at this point. I have wondered about this casually for several years everytime I see one.

However even touching the spout where the water is and touching the body of the kettle would likely give you two levels of heat ...


Actually it's the exact opposite (for me at least). I was waiting to see what others said before I responded but I have even burnt the skin on my arm by accidentally "brushing" my arm against the spout while reaching to grab the handle to begin brewing. It seems as though the spout gets just as hot as the body and I honestly doubt there is a reduction of temperature more than 2 degrees maximum. This is precisely why I use this kettle over other electric kettles I have tried as it boils water faster, allows accurate pouring, and to me gets to a much higher "boiling" than other electric kettles. It is most certainly and significantly hotter than my Zojirushi which tops out at 208 degrees (4 degrees under boiling) and this I'm saying based on temperature measurements of the water in the yixing pot after it has left the kettle. I need my water as hot as I can get it (while still using an electric kettle) for my aged Yiwu Beeng that I have grown fond of lately and after testing 3 other electric kettles, this kettle seems to have a nice balance of keeping heat and the other characteristics I listed above. It might not compare to boiling in a clay kettle with a gas stove or a chaozhou stove but as far as electric kettles are concerned and especially in relation to Gong-Fu Cha with smaller yixing pots I find this one to be especially useful and practical.
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Re: Looking for an electric kettle: I'd appreciate some help

Postby Chip » Dec 9th, '12, 20:12

Okay dokay ... I live and learn.

Thanks.
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