User avatar
Apr 28th 15 11:27 pm
Posts: 1143
Joined: Dec 2nd 07 10:53 pm
Location: New York

Electric Kettles

by joelbct » Apr 28th 15 11:27 pm

Seeing as their aren't many recent posts in the review subforum, thought I'd start a thread.

Any recommendations on electric kettles lately?

Considering upgrading my current $30 Hamilton Beach.

Questions I am considering are:

1. Glass vs. Metal?

2. Variable temp vs standard boil

Cuisinart, Breville, Bonavita have nice looking variable temp kettles, but I wonder how accurate they are. Ie a 180 or 170 preset is pointless if you lose 5 or 10 degrees on the pour. Would be nice to be able to pinpoint my standard 175 for most green tea or 200 for (gasp) french press coffee.

As for the glass, sounds good in theory, as long as they are built to last at least a couple years. I've always defaulted to the metal variety though.

Thoughts?

Apr 28th 15 11:44 pm
Posts: 393
Joined: Apr 17th 14 7:18 pm

Re: Electric Kettles

by BW85 » Apr 28th 15 11:44 pm

Bonavita variable temp kettles are very accurate, more than any other temp control kettle, and it won't overshoot the set temp when heating up either. Will hold water within 1 or 2 degrees. Also the gooseneck spout is great for pour control

User avatar
Apr 28th 15 11:48 pm
Posts: 5916
Joined: Jan 10th 10 9:04 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Electric Kettles

by debunix » Apr 28th 15 11:48 pm

After my 2nd Pino kettle died this last week (RIP faithful kettle, 2010-2015), I plan to replace it with another gooseneck Bonavita variable temp. I found some online reviews that rated a Cuisinart variable temp higher, but that kettle has preset temp buttons, with lowest setting starting at 175 degrees or thereabouts, and I really like the precision pour on the Bonavita for my smaller pots.

User avatar
Apr 29th 15 2:17 am
Posts: 261
Joined: Feb 6th 13 3:21 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Electric Kettles

by Muadeeb » Apr 29th 15 2:17 am

I have this Hamilton Beach one, and it works very well:

http://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Beach-40 ... SRFHE22SKZ

The temp is variable in 5 degree increments to 150 degrees, and has a 210 degree setting for just off boil. That's the one I use for most of my oolongs.

Since the water is still in contact with the hot surface after shutting off the heating element, the temperature actually goes up for a little while, not down. If I have a liter getting heated to 160 for green tea, the temp can actually climb above 165 a couple minutes later. I actually like this, since I don't have to reheat the water as fast for the next steep.

It's not a perfect kettle, though. The spout is short, so you don't have quite as much control as a gooseneck spout. Also, it goes into auto heat mode once it reaches the setpoint temperature, so if you want it to shut off, you have to press the on/off button again to actually shut it off. I would still recommend it, however.

User avatar
May 1st 15 7:07 am
Posts: 1143
Joined: Dec 2nd 07 10:53 pm
Location: New York

by joelbct » May 1st 15 7:07 am

Thanks for the info!

User avatar
May 1st 15 12:21 pm
Posts: 298
Joined: Jan 22nd 15 4:27 am
Location: Chicago

Re: Electric Kettles

by pedant » May 1st 15 12:21 pm

i've had my cuisinart cpk-17 for 5 years, and i'm pretty satisfied.

http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CPK-17- ... B003KYSLNQ
Image

while you cannot dial in an arbitrary temperature, it does have buttons on the handle for 160, 175, 185, 190, 200, and 212degF.

Image

i used to look down on this limitation, but now i wonder if i would actually get annoyed by having to click buttons a bunch of times to navigate back and forth between boiling and 160degF on a regular basis. with my cpk-17, it's just one click.

its temperature accuracy (i measured +/- a couple of degrees F many times at multiple setpoints using an expensive thermometer) and stability are well into the acceptable range for tea.

did i mention it's survived 5 years of (ab)use?

with that said, if this thing broke today, i'd be taking a hard look at the digital gooseneck bonavita kettles with arbitrary setpoint.

http://bonavitaworld.com/products/10l-d ... eck-kettle
Image
http://bonavitaworld.com/products/17l-d ... eck-kettle
Image

they look nice (love that gooseneck), but again, i've found that i really only demand a few water temperatures for tea drinking, so maybe the simpler temp control interface is what i really want. or have i just learned to live with the simpler interface, and has that shaped my hot water temperature demand?? i've been using this damn thing for 5 years.

User avatar
May 1st 15 2:33 pm
Posts: 5916
Joined: Jan 10th 10 9:04 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Electric Kettles

by debunix » May 1st 15 2:33 pm

The lovely thing about this Bonavita is that it has preset temps and you can quickly shift among them, AND you can click up or down a few degrees to get exactly to the temp you want, if it is not the preset. I often start my senchas at 160, then go to the preset 176, then preset 185, then preset 190 and click up to 195, then to preset 205. The presets are quicker than the +/- keys only on the Pino kettles, true. But the lowest temp on this one is 140, which is good if you like to start very low with your gyokuro.

User avatar
May 1st 15 2:39 pm
Posts: 298
Joined: Jan 22nd 15 4:27 am
Location: Chicago

Re: Electric Kettles

by pedant » May 1st 15 2:39 pm

debunix wrote:The lovely thing about this Bonavita is that it has preset temps and you can quickly shift among them, AND you can click up or down a few degrees to get exactly to the temp you want, if it is not the preset.
nice. sounds perfect then.

May 1st 15 6:59 pm
Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 30th 14 4:50 pm

Re: Electric Kettles

by Tewa » May 1st 15 6:59 pm

Judging from my use of the bonavita gooseneck over the past few months, it is the kettle of choice as far as I'm concerned. I'll echo the sentiment of the other posters in how accurate it is- my thermometer verifies the temperature is always well within 2 degrees of the stated temp on the digital output. The pour control via the gooseneck is a slick bonus and super convenient for small-volume pots/pouring to the side of the pot as is required of certain sensitive teas gong fu style.

I advise you to stay away from the glass kettles if you're looking for a kettle that will last long term. I've done countless hours of research into glass kettles available for the US market and as far as reasonably priced under $100-150, there may be only two or three kettles worth looking at (Breville, Oster, & Teavana. Teavana's may be made by Breville). I've found that other kettles designed to have hot water in contact with rubber/plastic often have non-neutral tastes as opposed to strictly glass or stainless steel-heated water, and most glass kettles utilize plastic to some degree. It's a common fail point, too. Another reason to go stainless.

For durability and value's sake, the bonavita is the best choice imo. the only potentially negative thing I'll say about it is the one liter size, which means I'm refilling the kettle at least once in your average sit-down session.



Edit: I just noticed Bonavita is selling a 1.7l version of the gooseneck... Don't know how I could have missed that fact in the past but I'll be selling my one liter now that I know.

May 1st 15 9:42 pm
Posts: 393
Joined: Apr 17th 14 7:18 pm

Re: Electric Kettles

by BW85 » May 1st 15 9:42 pm

For durability and value's sake, the bonavita is the best choice imo. the only potentially negative thing I'll say about it is the one liter size, which means I'm refilling the kettle at least once in your average sit-down session.



Edit: I just noticed Bonavita is selling a 1.7l version of the gooseneck... Don't know how I could have missed that fact in the past but I'll be selling my one liter now that I know.
In my opinion, it's better to heat up smaller amounts of water at a time, and use freshly heated water more throughout the session. As water is held hot and steaming for too long, the tea brewed with it will suffer. I also find smaller kettles more comfortable.
I personally do 3 or 4 infusions, occasionally 5, then start with fresh water.

User avatar
May 2nd 15 12:30 am
Posts: 2817
Joined: Oct 17th 08 1:01 am
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: Electric Kettles

by Drax » May 2nd 15 12:30 am

Ironically, my varieTEA kettle just died on me today. It appears that the temperature sensor isn't working anymore, so it thinks that the water is already hot. I'm sure the heating element and all are just fine, but it won't heat. "Fancy features" like that make me a little shy about getting another kettle with temperature settings. My utiliTEA is still going strong after 7 years. The varieTEA barely made it two (and I was away for one of those years).

I see bonavita also makes the gooseneck in 'normal' (i.e., no temperature settings).... I'll have to think about that one as a replacement.

May 2nd 15 12:33 am
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th 12 4:47 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Electric Kettles

by ethan » May 2nd 15 12:33 am

For decades I thought that water kept right around boiling point or being boiled over & over would be bad for making tea; however, the assumption had never been challenged by experience until the last 2 years.

I've had a bonavita since they came out; and, I drink the same black tea all day. There has been no negative effect from using water that has sat in the kettle being reheated to boiling (100 celcius) cooling to 98 before the heat comes on again, over & over. Overnight the kettle is off; then, in the a.m. I use the leftover water from the day before -- no negative effect.

The original version of the 1.7 liter model did not feature a gooseneck spout.

User avatar
May 2nd 15 3:04 am
Posts: 298
Joined: Jan 22nd 15 4:27 am
Location: Chicago

Re: Electric Kettles

by pedant » May 2nd 15 3:04 am

ethan wrote:For decades I thought that water kept right around boiling point or being boiled over & over would be bad for making tea; however, the assumption had never been challenged by experience until the last 2 years.

I've had a bonavita since they came out; and, I drink the same black tea all day. There has been no negative effect from using water that has sat in the kettle being reheated to boiling (100 celcius) cooling to 98 before the heat comes on again, over & over. Overnight the kettle is off; then, in the a.m. I use the leftover water from the day before -- no negative effect.

The original version of the 1.7 liter model did not feature a gooseneck spout.
i'm pretty sure i've observed some serious water loss (a few hundred mL) on my kettle when leaving it in keep-warm mode for a good while around boiling temp. i wonder if the increased mineral concentration is ever an issue. i'm guessing that it would have a negative impact on taste at some point.

this is especially problematic if you are at a high elevation and the boiling point is suppressed. if the setpoint is 100degC, the water in theory will never quite get there, and it will spend more time than usual boiling away the water i.e. it will not shut off when it reaches boiling.
i've noticed that my kettle seems to have something in its control algorithm to mitigate this a bit:
if the setpoint is 100degC, it's probably programmed to eventually shut off even if it never gets there as long as it gets kind of close (and the temperature reading doesn't continue to rise).
even so, it boils away way more water than it should to keep at just-under-boiling. i use the 200degF preset when i'm at high altitudes for this reason.

May 2nd 15 5:22 am
Posts: 393
Joined: Apr 17th 14 7:18 pm

Re: Electric Kettles

by BW85 » May 2nd 15 5:22 am

ethan wrote:For decades I thought that water kept right around boiling point or being boiled over & over would be bad for making tea; however, the assumption had never been challenged by experience until the last 2 years.

I've had a bonavita since they came out; and, I drink the same black tea all day. There has been no negative effect from using water that has sat in the kettle being reheated to boiling (100 celcius) cooling to 98 before the heat comes on again, over & over. Overnight the kettle is off; then, in the a.m. I use the leftover water from the day before -- no negative effect.

The original version of the 1.7 liter model did not feature a gooseneck spout.
The difference I've perceived is in the texture and liveliness of the tea. It can still taste OK, sure, but less exciting. Maybe because the water loses oxygen? It would be easiest to notice if a comparison was done without much time between. Use water that has been held hot for 20 minutes* to brew a cup, then immediately switch to fresh water and brew another cup, maybe even with new tea leaves so it's the same infusion

*not that I believe the water would be flat after a mere 20minutes, but some degree of change could be perceptible. Double that time and to me the change in water is quite obvious if I'm paying attention to the tea
Last edited by BW85 on May 2nd 15 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
May 2nd 15 8:13 am
Posts: 1143
Joined: Dec 2nd 07 10:53 pm
Location: New York

Re: Electric Kettles

by joelbct » May 2nd 15 8:13 am

Tewa wrote:.I advise you to stay away from the glass kettles if you're looking for a kettle that will last long term. I've done countless hours of research into glass kettles available for the US market and as far as reasonably priced under $100-150, there may be only two or three kettles worth looking at (Breville, Oster, & Teavana. Teavana's may be made by Breville). I've found that other kettles designed to have hot water in contact with rubber/plastic often have non-neutral tastes as opposed to strictly glass or stainless steel-heated water, and most glass kettles utilize plastic to some degree. It's a common fail point, too. Another reason to go stainless.
Yes the glass I'd consider would be the $100 Breville BKE595XL The Crystal Clear Electric Kettle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008P8LAK8/
Image


As for plastic being used on Glass more than Stainless, it looks like that Cuisinart Perfect Temp and the stainless Brevilles both have plastic fill line windows that would be exposed to boiling water, no?
Image


If it didn't have that plastic window, I'd like the looks of this one or its non variable cousin: Breville BKE820XL Variable-Temperature 1.8-Liter Kettle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001DYERBK/
Image

The Bonavita Goosenecks seem to be the go-to for coffee enthusiasts, and would no doubt be great for that usage where 200F or so is desired, but for Black tea, wouldn't travelling down that circuitous neck dissipate too much temperature for teas meant to be brewed at boiling?

Also, I dont gong fu but i own more than a few authentic Japanese tea ware items for which gooseneck would be useful, but day to day I just brew in a 4-cup Anchor Pyrex glass measuring cup with a saucepan lid on top. Inelegant maybe, but I drink for taste at the end of the day, and glass does not season. Easy to clean as well. Better insulated than other glass brewing vessels. Drink my blacks English style, ~7 grams to 24 ounces water for 4.5 minutes, so no need for gooseneck precision pouring.

Bonavita makes a non gooseneck, but it has mixed reviews as to reliability. Bonavita 1.7-Liter Variable Temperature Digital Electric Kettle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008YE3RNG/
Image

I had a UtiliTea that got lost in a move, worked well, I recall, and very quick to boil, if not highly precise.

Ive also owned basic Stainless GE models from Walmart that were real workhorses and super fast, but they are no longer manufactured.

After poring over Amazon, my current kettle doesn't seem so bad. Hamilton Beach 40882E Stainless Steel 7.2-Cup Kettle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004XJWQZQ/
Image

It isn't quite as fast as my old UtiliTea or GE, isn't variable, and the design is not up to par with the Breville, Bonavitas, or Cuisinarts.

But there is next to no plastic- the water level is displayed through a clear tube separate from the boiler, with only the smallest bit of exposed plastic at the intake. Much less plastic exposed to boiling water than in the Breville or Cuisinarts.

Decisions....