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Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by exquisite » Nov 1st 10 6:04 pm

I think all of us european residents around here are already accustomed to the fact that online shopping for electronics is a source of frustration sometimes. Concerning electric tea-ware , the situation is not brighter (mainly due to the voltage difference of the electricity lines compared to the US ).
No real Zojirushi distribution (especially if you´re looking for electrical) , forget about decent Cuisinart -the american make of CPK17 has 6 keepwarm temp settings, the european version just 5º degree steps between 85 and 100 Celsius, you have not even the cheap Pino digital option, and examples can go on) . I could settle for a kamjove, but I prefer devices that can serve me for at least a decent period of time, and can take an intensive use without cracking in 6 months.

So I spent almost 2 days searching, reading, comparing. Mainly in the UK, France and Germany markets (amazon, online stores, dedicated either to selling kitchen electronics or even special tea-ware).
The criteria for the kettle I searched was :
Mandatory:
- to be electric, detachable (fixed base, mobile unit)
- stainless steel inside , hidden heating element.
- at least 1,5 liters capacity, no more than 2 (3 Liters would be too heavy for precision handling)
- it should bring water to boil and then keep it warm to : either a preset
of the device, or a custom temp you could chose .
- it should have safety implementation like auto shutdown when empty or similar
- sturdiness, decent design and ergonomics (no designer extravagances), decent manufacturer guarantee period.
- price range 50-150 euro, depending on how well it meets the listed criteria.

Optional :
- Electronic display of the real actual temp (regardless of the fact that the device is operating, or just in standby)
- 360º rotational base (its nice to just put it on it´s base, not searching for the correct fit )
- decent light / sound alerts, better none, than stupid or weird beeps and flashes.

So, I rapidly skipped the mainstream consumer oriented products like philips, siemens, krupps ,bosch, breville, and so on. Not that I care too much about names and brands, but I found none (event the most expensive) to be able to meet the minimal requirements. As for the midpriced ones, i saw either stupid presettings, faulty design or lack of decent minimal quality. (I actually have a noname 15 euros plastic kettle at the office, it
boils water, shuts off automatically and nothing more).

Anyway, after getting tired of this search, I found only two models I would pick, so here they are :

1. The Bodum Chambord (new model 11076-16EURO ) : http://www.bodum.com/int/en-us/shop/det ... 76-16EURO/
(manual here http://www.bodum.com/media/ifu/11076-16EURO.pdf )
Image
A pretty decent unit, and the only one I met which was actually designed for tea aficionados. It has presets for all the 5 basic temps you need, from 60 to 100 Celsius). It would have been perfect if it had some custom
adjustable temp option, but considering the good range of the presets, I can ingnore that. It would have been more than perfect if it had a display of the actual temp. But that is already too much to ask maybe.
What I don´t like about it is:
- The looks - oh, maybe its just a matter of taste, but it looks like an oversized coffee frenchpress .
- The spout - too small. I dont need to pour one liter at once, but it just too small, or at least it looks like.
- The handle - that´s the worst part. I consider it too small/thin . I can imagine putting a little too much effort in holding it right and pouring easily given the total weight of the unit when filled with water. Especially if that water is hot, I would like not to spill it on me :D .
- And of course the price. It´s around 170 euros. Not that I cannot afford the investment, but as I have no possibility to buy it locally and only order it online, its pretty risky somehow. I would like to be able to hold it in my hands to see if I actually dislike it so much as in pictures. Not a hugely expensive item, but I just have bought too much stuff that I don´t use just because I found out later that it was not exactly what I wanted/needed.

1. The Dirt Devil Aquagrad M3005 :
http://www.dirt-devil.de/shop/index.php ... 1.31519878
manual here http://www.dirt-devil.de/shop/out/oxbas ... rad_fl.pdf
Image

Now thats an all purpose kettle. The good part is that it handles 2 liters of water,(you never have enough hot water we all know that) but the not so good part is that it wont function with less than 1 liter( pretty weird I would say).
It has an electronic display of the actual temp. Great! It has a simple operating knob that lets you set the desired temp between 30 and 100 degrees Celsius in 5degree steps. Fabulous! (Maybe important to mention that if you start straight with the keepwarm setting, it will just heat up the water to that temp, not boil and then cool down, but it this can be worked around.)
Also great price - 85 Euros - half of the Bodum Chambord price. Also decent looks. Seems pretty safe and easy to handle.
Now the not-so-great aspects: The calfilter is integrated in the lid. An the lid is just ugly at best. I would say more than ugly, almost weird.
It doesn´t have an ON/OFF switch integrated in the base. You have to unplug it to turn it off. Damn!
There are a lot of customers not satisfied with the build quality. So this cracks the myth about german standard quality. It seems that there were cases when it was broke as new out of the box, others claim the contacts between the unit and the base failed to work in less than a month, and so on. I wouldn´t throw it around, but anyway it seems somehow fragile.

I hope any of you european teachatters can use the information above to spare time/effort in your possible search for this kind of device. I will also appreciate any suggestion for some other model I have missed in my search.

Thank you !
Last edited by exquisite on Nov 1st 10 6:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by debunix » Nov 1st 10 6:28 pm

That second one looks pretty nice, but no on/off switch is pretty odd, and not being able to start off with less than 1 L occasionally would be a problem. But....my pino says 0.5 L is the minimum for heating up, and yet I use it for gongfu cha sessions where I keep going until it is dry; the only problem is that near the end, the temp swings as it attempts to keep the temp up become quite large. But it doesn't seem to be damaging the pot, and it does have an autoshutoff when it goes dry. So I'd wonder how that '1L minimum' actually works out--is that a starting volume only, or will it stop keeping the water hot when it drops below that?

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by Alex » Nov 1st 10 6:42 pm

That second one is a design made by home-tek and sold to a few different companies. I've got one its lasted years and does the job. But as with all western spouts I've used its simply not as good as a Chinese spout for small vessels. And the reason I stopped using mine.

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by The » Nov 1st 10 8:12 pm

great work made here.I'm also looking for a decent boiler with temperature regulation sold on the european market. Really a shame that the dirt devil thing has a minimum of 1 liter heating! Looking for a quality boiler that allows me to boil app. 0.5 l and up to at least 1.5 l and and boiler that goes down to app. 40 degrees so that its ready for my e.g. gyokoru

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by exquisite » Nov 1st 10 9:30 pm

Just encountered the 3rd candidate :

Russell Hobbs 15066 1.6 L Therma Select Temperature Control Kettle

Image
£37.99 on Amazon UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Russell-Tempera ... 598&sr=1-1

but £59.99 on manufacturer´s site:
http://www.russellhobbs.co.uk/russell-h ... 15066.html

It´s true it doesn´t go as low as 40 Celsius for gyokuro, but it works in stages of 5 degrees C between 60 and 90 , which is pretty rare , I wonder how accurate this is , as it doesn´t have an actual temp display.

It looks decent and solid. Certainly to be considered , especially at this price. Would be great if anybody could give some proper user feedback about this brand.

PS: Starting to seriously consider the pouring aspect, as Zensuji suggested earlier. But is seems no european kettle manufacturer/designer ever worried about this so I guess the only way is to go for a model with
spout separate from the body, as in "Alladin´s lamp" type of design.

My search is still on. Suggestions of other similar models still appreciated. (The hunt is better than the kill).

Cheers.

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by Tobias » Nov 2nd 10 12:17 am

exquisite wrote:1. The Dirt Devil Aquagrad M3005 :
I have an Aquagrad and I think you have gotten some things wrong:
- It has a on/off button (the bottom one).
- It works with less than 1L water.
- The display shows desired temperature, not actual.

After one year of heavy usage the only problem I've had is that the keep warm function sometimes turns it on and off repeatedly.
Zensuji wrote:But as with all western spouts I've used its simply not as good as a Chinese spout for small vessels.
I agree, don't expect to be able to do any precision pouring.

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by David R. » Nov 2nd 10 12:50 am

I've got the Aquagrad too. I do agree with Tobias corrections, although it doesn't have a switch to completely kill the power. The display is always on when plugged in. I have it on a plug strip with a switch when I want to shut it off completely.

It does a very fine job. I do not use the keep warm function anymore, but I remember it did weird things sometimes.

I often use it with very little water, less than 0.5 liter, and it works very well. Heating is from the bottom so it is not a big deal if you have at least a few millimetres of water. Anyway, I have been doing it for more than a year and it works, but maybe it is not safe.

I don't think that the display is very reliable but my opinion is that for a lot of teas you don't need to worry about a few °C difference. To prepare delicate greens I boil the water and then pour it in a samashi with a thermometer for an proper control of the temperature. For the everyday green, I just trust the kettle and the result is ok.

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by exquisite » Nov 2nd 10 11:11 am

I just ordered the Russell Hobbs 15066 Therma Select, it was on offer from Amazon UK at a very good price (38 pounds), and what i liked most about it was the small footprint, as the controls are not located on the base, but on the upper side of the handle. Also, the 5degree steps of the keep-warm function from 60 to 90 is very good, regardless the reliability. It is obviously not the perfect kettle, but for a starter at this price it seemed unbeatable. I have to use it and then decide if deserves the place among the home tea-ware, or will be destined for office use. Then, maybe will move up the scale in the bodum area,... Will see how things go and let you know ...
Hope this thread will go on as it seems to the subject attracts some interest..

Cheers!

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by TwoPynts » Nov 2nd 10 2:05 pm

I see you've chose a kettle and it looks like you made a great choice. Congrats. I did a little research too and came across this one on Amazon USA:

Image
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003KYSLNQ/

A little pricey, but is appears that it used to retail for double that, so not bad I suppose. On the Cuisinart site the price is also $99, so the Amazon page may be a bit misleading. Anyway, I watched the video and this comment made me chuckle.
"When you get to the proper temperature, it will actually be ready to use." Uh...YEAH!

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by exquisite » Nov 2nd 10 3:56 pm

TwoPynts wrote:I see you've chose a kettle and it looks like you made a great choice. Congrats. I did a little research too and came across this one on Amazon USA:

Image
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003KYSLNQ/

A little pricey, but is appears that it used to retail for double that, so not bad I suppose. On the Cuisinart site the price is also $99, so the Amazon page may be a bit misleading. Anyway, I watched the video and this comment made me chuckle.
"When you get to the proper temperature, it will actually be ready to use." Uh...YEAH!
exquisite wrote: No real Zojirushi distribution (especially if you´re looking for electrical) , forget about decent Cuisinart -the american make of CPK17 has 6 keepwarm temp settings, the european version just 5º degree steps between 85 and 100 Celsius,
That was the second best option (after the Zojirushi dispenser). I would have absolutely have bought a CuisineArt ( I said that on my first posting), but my problem is that I live in Europe. That means I have no use for an 110V device. Otherwise, its not pricey at all, from what I have read this kettle is fabulous. In that respect, americans are more lucky..
( the only flaw of the CuisinArt is that its lowest keep-warm temp is 175F/70C degrees)
Cheers

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by entropyembrace » Nov 2nd 10 6:55 pm

exquisite wrote:
TwoPynts wrote:I see you've chose a kettle and it looks like you made a great choice. Congrats. I did a little research too and came across this one on Amazon USA:

Image
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003KYSLNQ/

A little pricey, but is appears that it used to retail for double that, so not bad I suppose. On the Cuisinart site the price is also $99, so the Amazon page may be a bit misleading. Anyway, I watched the video and this comment made me chuckle.
"When you get to the proper temperature, it will actually be ready to use." Uh...YEAH!
exquisite wrote: No real Zojirushi distribution (especially if you´re looking for electrical) , forget about decent Cuisinart -the american make of CPK17 has 6 keepwarm temp settings, the european version just 5º degree steps between 85 and 100 Celsius,
That was the second best option (after the Zojirushi dispenser). I would have absolutely have bought a CuisineArt ( I said that on my first posting), but my problem is that I live in Europe. That means I have no use for an 110V device. Otherwise, its not pricey at all, from what I have read this kettle is fabulous. In that respect, americans are more lucky..
( the only flaw of the CuisinArt is that its lowest keep-warm temp is 175F/70C degrees)
Cheers
This is my kettle :D

lowest keep warm is actually 160ºF but that is 70ºC like you said...

I wish it was metric and could be set to lower temps for gyokuro...but there´s not many metric kettles for 120v because it´s dominated by the US market. :?

The pour is very nice and the water tastes good...it also heats really quickly...if loudly. Anyway I really like it...but I might have to make stickers with the metric temperatures to place over the buttons. :lol:

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by teaisme » Nov 2nd 10 8:14 pm

exquisite wrote:I could settle for a kamjove, but I prefer devices that can serve me for at least a decent period of time, and can take an intensive use without cracking in 6 months.
which one did you have? and how did it crack?

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by exquisite » Nov 2nd 10 9:20 pm

churng wrote:
exquisite wrote:I could settle for a kamjove, but I prefer devices that can serve me for at least a decent period of time, and can take an intensive use without cracking in 6 months.
which one did you have? and how did it crack?

I did not realize that my words implicitly state that i had a kamjove and it cracked. I never owned one. But is true that I suspect that the devices in this low price range usually don´t last long when used daily. I tend to develop a relationship with things I use on a daily basis, thats why I want to avoid regular replacement.

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by Herb_Master » Nov 2nd 10 11:37 pm

exquisite wrote:I think all of us european residents around here are already accustomed to the fact that online shopping for electronics is a source of frustration sometimes. Concerning electric tea-ware , the situation is not brighter (mainly due to the voltage difference of the electricity lines compared to the US ).


I could settle for a kamjove, but I prefer devices that can serve me for at least a decent period of time, and can take an intensive use without cracking in 6 months.
The Kamjove I bought from dragon tea house 3 years ago is still working fine.

I have now bought a 2nd kamjove to use in a 2nd brewing station.

It is generally a moan from the US Teachatters that chinese companies like kamjove don't make as many models for their voltage as they do for the european market.

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Re: Pursuit for the "perfect" kettle (european market)

by exquisite » Nov 3rd 10 1:28 am

I could "risk" one, at least for the fast and not so pretentious office use.
Other than it seems really ugly (which is a matter of taste) it has no real
disadvantages. Oh, yes, its small, and pretty inconvenient to refill it, especially if you´re using a respectable amount of water for pre-heating and after-cleaning like I do. US teachatters have Zojirushi and another 2 pretty good options, I wouldn´t moan instead of them. :D I will have to consider it, anyway..