User avatar
Mar 18th, '17, 13:00
Posts: 5916
Joined: Jan 10th, '10, 16:04
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact: debunix

RIP Bonavita kettle: what to do now?

by debunix » Mar 18th, '17, 13:00

My first Bonavita kettle just gave up the ghost. I bought it in August, 2013, and it's done daily service since then. It turns on, registers that the kettle is on, accepts a set temperature, but does not heat. This happened in the middle of a session with some O-Cha Gyoku hou gyokuro, fortunately towards the end so I can move forward with the last couple of infusions with the help of my Simplex kettle and the stove.

My 2nd Bonavita is still going strong after 2 years of much less frequent use (it stays in a satellite office where I spend about 3 days a month) but has a problem that is apparently well known to other users: it very frequently goes into 'high' error mode, where it thinks it has overheated, and it stops. This is a good safety feature--no one wants a runaway heating element to melt things or start a fire--but it happens far too often with this kettle, several times in a brewing day that might include 12-30 small pot infusions of 2-4 different teas.

I first bought a set of 3 Pino digital kettle 'pro' models, but over time, two of them died, much like the Bonavita--they simply stopped working, I suspect due to minor issues of the buttons and wiring components; and since it was pointed out in a discussion here that they were not UL listed, I replace them with the Bonavitas. One of them, however, is still going strong after 7 years of flawless performance, and I'll keep it going until it tells me it is done.

So....now the question: another Bonavita? 4 years of daily use is not terrible for the price, but I do not like the idea of adding so much so often to landfills. But if I buy another of the same model, likely I'll end up with a spare and useful base or kettle--I doubt both parts went wrong at the same time, and maybe another will go longer this time before it dies, like the last Pino standing.

Or....is there another great variable temp kettle out there that I should know about? In using the Bonavitas, I've come to realize that I'm fine without degree by degree control, although I'd like to be able to set it for no greater than 10 degree increments from 150 to 210 degrees; and I like the fine pouring control of the gooseneck spout, although that's not absolutely necessary; and a size of at least 1 liter is very handy but more than 1.5 liters starts to get a little tricky for fine pouring control. There are many options now but I suspect they'll all be plagued by a similar issue of cheaply made electronics and short lifespans.

User avatar
Mar 18th, '17, 13:25
Posts: 286
Joined: Jan 21st, '15, 23:27
Location: Chicago

Re: RIP Bonavita kettle: what to do now?

by pedant » Mar 18th, '17, 13:25

i bought two CPK-17 kettles in 2010, and one of them has been my daily kettle all this time.
the second one i gave to my brother, and it gets much lighter use. both are still working fine, no issues.

User avatar
Mar 18th, '17, 13:39
Posts: 5916
Joined: Jan 10th, '10, 16:04
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact: debunix

Re: RIP Bonavita kettle: what to do now?

by debunix » Mar 18th, '17, 13:39

That might be just right. The temperature range is quite useful

Delicate (160°F)
Green (175°F)
White (185°F)
Oolong (190°F)
Herbal (200°F)
Black (Boil – 212°F)
French Press (200°F)

And the reviews are about the same as all the variable temp kettles: some just don't work out of the box, or very soon after, and others continue and continue and continue, like my sole surviving Pino.

User avatar
Mar 18th, '17, 14:23
Posts: 286
Joined: Jan 21st, '15, 23:27
Location: Chicago

Re: RIP Bonavita kettle: what to do now?

by pedant » Mar 18th, '17, 14:23

i use the 200°F setting for just about everything except for later steeps when i crank it up to boiling.
and also obviously i go lower on jp greens.

also, i think you're right... it's effectively all just luck once you get into models that don't have glaring design defects.

some manufacturing runs are just better. some lots of components are just better, and it's impossible to know ahead of time what you're getting.

i also have a third CPK-17 that is much newer and sees very light use. no functional issues with it so far, but the temperatures printed on the buttons are already starting to wear off on it.
any mass produced product is constantly being changed in subtle ways from run to run.

Mar 18th, '17, 16:05
Vendor Member
Posts: 1310
Joined: May 27th, '12, 12:47
Location: Boston, MA

Re: RIP Bonavita kettle: what to do now?

by ethan » Mar 18th, '17, 16:05

I've lived w/o my bona vita for months at a time. Sometimes I have problems preparing tea w/o such exact temperatures; sometimes not. I miss the gooseneck spout > than any other feature.

I got my kettle when the variable temperature ones first came out & have had no problems.

User avatar
Mar 18th, '17, 16:20
Posts: 1144
Joined: Dec 2nd, '07, 17:53
Location: New York

Re: RIP Bonavita kettle: what to do now?

by joelbct » Mar 18th, '17, 16:20

I too have been using a Cuisinart CPK-17 Perfectemp (had to look up the model number), no complaints. The 200 setting is more like boiling but I guess they factor in the pour- water always seems to lose 5-10° F in the pour, give or take.

I find the temperatures relatively precise. 175 is good for Sencha. I don't use thermometers or calibrate the thermometer I have much, but it's precise enough for me.

I haven't experienced any wear on the numbers, and I use the thing 3-6 times per day.

My main liking about it is it was the kettle with the least amount of plastic touching hot water that I could find- the filter and I think filter housing was removeable with some effort and needle nose pliers (there were instructions online, maybe YouTube videos), leaving only metal except for the small white gasket around the level indicator tube.

I tried the Breville too, but I seem to remember it had more plastic/rubber touching the hot water. Nice design aside from that, though.

User avatar
Mar 19th, '17, 01:07
Posts: 286
Joined: Jan 21st, '15, 23:27
Location: Chicago

Re: RIP Bonavita kettle: what to do now?

by pedant » Mar 19th, '17, 01:07

joelbct wrote: I too have been using a Cuisinart CPK-17 Perfectemp
...
My main liking about it is it was the kettle with the least amount of plastic touching hot water that I could find- the filter and I think filter housing was removeable with some effort and needle nose pliers (there were instructions online, maybe YouTube videos), leaving only metal except for the small white gasket around the level indicator tube.
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=20679&start=30#p276134

here's a link to another kettle thread in case it's useful to someone. also i talk about removing the filter holder in there

User avatar
Mar 19th, '17, 04:57
Posts: 539
Joined: Aug 19th, '15, 07:03
Location: on the road

Re: RIP Bonavita kettle: what to do now?

by kuánglóng » Mar 19th, '17, 04:57

debunix wrote: There are many options now but I suspect they'll all be plagued by a similar issue of cheaply made electronics and short lifespans.
What about an induction cooktop with a tetsubin? That's what I've been using in my old home. Some of them can be set to a more or less wide range of fixed temperatures and there's no plastic to worry about.

User avatar
Mar 19th, '17, 10:35
Posts: 5916
Joined: Jan 10th, '10, 16:04
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact: debunix

Re: RIP Bonavita kettle: what to do now?

by debunix » Mar 19th, '17, 10:35

Not going to change out my gas stove for an induction cooktop, need my wok and giant aluminum pressure canner to work.....but, so interesting, there are indeed single induction burners available, that would sit right next to my tea tray happily. I've shifted things to have an electric kettle at home already, but am going to ponder this idea quite seriously, as it offers both an excuse to try a tetsubin, something I've been interested in for a long time, and an extra burner for those situations when my range top is a bit too small for the last little saucepan.

+ Post Reply