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May 23, 2007 12:59 PM

I'm In Love with My New Copper Kettle

And my husband isn't jealous! Just kidding...heh. I want to say everybody deserves to love their kettle. A kettle should be one of the minor gods on Mount Olympus, it's such a powerful symbolic icon of the kitchen. The first thing I reach for after I turn on the light in the early morning darkness, still bleary eyed. It generously gives me all that comforting tea all day long - the tea that somehow insures my sometimes tenuous sanity. And cocoa and the boiling water to fill the Cafe' presse with which I finally learned to make perfect coffee.

And since I bought this absolutley beautiful big copper kettle a few weeks ago it's been a thing of beauty always sitting reassuredly sparkling its reddish glow on the back of the stove. And a thing of beauty is a joy forever. I even shined it twice so far, and it's easy. I was scared that the whistle would be annoying but it's not, my husband actually says he likes to hear it. It's a sweet little whistle but you can still hear it at the other end of my typically cramped old San Francisco apartment.

Being British, this kettle knows all there is to know about boiling water for tea and it has the typical British discretion to know enough NOT to have an annoying whistle.

I had grown disenchanted with my Michael Graves museum replica 80's style stainless steel kettle. Let's face it - it's dated, plus it, like me, it was beginning to definitely show its age. Sigh...momento mori. But we tea drinking chowhounds never say die, and so it was out with the old kettle and in with the new.

A weeks long computer search convinced me that the kettle of my dreams was going to be the Simplex brand large sized copper kettle (they've been making them for 200 years) which I bought at the best price I could find, which was $75.00 (shipping and handling was free!) from Does that sound like a lot? Hmm...maybe you're right. But I still love it!

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  1. niki rothman, I inherited my mother's c1940 nice big copper kettle and treasure it. Not only is it a joy in the kitchen but I remember it from my childhood so it makes me smile while the water is boiling. I'm pleased to know that it can be replaced if and when it ever becomes necessary.

    1. Wow! You are a champion shopper. That copper kettle is $119.95 at Sur La Table. Plus shipping and handling.
      I've had the Simplex for God knows how many years. Thirty? Bought it after I ruined How Many? Walked off and forgot them and they boiled dry, the solder joints on the spouts melted off, etc. No way you can ignore that insistent whistle on the Simplex!
      It's such an old friend now that I hear the sound of the water when it's just about to boil and I'm up and across the kitchen just as it's ready for me.
      It's been worth every copper cent for that copper kettle. It will outlast me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MakingSense

        Wow! I didn't know the Simplex copper kettle was even IN the Sur La Table catalog. I've been in their store at the SF Ferry Building and was convinced the prices were too high. Thanks for making me feel that in addition to hearing the Simplex IS indeed the Rolls Royce of kettles (as a Sur La Table imprimatur would suggest), I also got a bargain.

        Maybe one key to successful online shopping is experience Googling - which is something I enjoy doing for all sorts of reasons. I always check Amazon prices first but often the bargains are elsewhere and found via Google search for key words. One idea of my husband's for safer online shopping is to reserve one credit card ONLY for online shopping and I sort of vet the sites for signs that they have customer service that is easily accessible, a good return policy, a sophisticated website design - so far no problems.

      2. I've had mine for ages and love it - tarnished though it is ....

        1 Reply
        1. re: MMRuth

          I've just realized that I lied - I don't have a Simplex, I have a Windsor copper kettle. Still happy w/it though!

        2. I love love love my electric kettle. I'm a tea drinker so I use it several times a day for tea + making coffee for DH + assorted other needs.

          However, your love letter to your Simplex is causing me to consider infidelity for the first time...One question, though: My electric kettle boils water incredibly quickly & I have always found stove top kettles annoyingly slow. Is the Simplex speedy?????

          Please don't say that it is...LOL

          11 Replies
          1. re: fauchon

            I am totally willing to do a road test for you. How many ounces should I put into the Simplex? Then I'll time it to the minute and write back to you.

            1. re: niki rothman

              I love this! How about 16 oz? (2 cups)....

              1. re: fauchon

                Worth checking if you both have electric or gas burners! Good luck with the experiment.

                1. re: fauchon

                  You got it, fauchon. 16 ounces it is. And a tip o' the hat to MMRuth - I have a nasty old gas stove that does not have a very high "high" setting. But we shall see. It's 2:00 p.m. SF time and the game is afoot!

                  OK - 2 1/2 minutes! That was fun. But is it fast enough?

                  I just remembered there is a more expensive model of the Simplex called, appropriately, the "Quick Boil" kettle - it has vents on an additional bottom copper layer which my kettle does not have and these vents, I'm assuming, hasten the heating of the kettle. It's on sale at, where I bought mine, for $91.95. The ad says they have 9 left. Since mine was around $74, I wonder just how much faster this quick boil kettle could be? Or, how fast is too fast? As long as you have enough time to get out your cup and tea bag, I suppose! Heh heh..

                  1. re: niki rothman

                    Your Simplex is elegant, sexy, classic. My Russell Hobbs electric kettle is ditto. But it's Barbaro compared to an oat burner in a back country claiming 2 cups took 1 minute and 21 seconds. I began with cold (but not icy) water from the faucet. And, of course, we didn't take altitude into account...altho I don't know if the fifteenth floor in Manhattan makes THAT much diff....

                    I'm a tea slut and "discovered" the beauty & power of elec kettles some years ago when we were living in London & have not been without one since.

                    1. re: fauchon

                      So the Simplex standard model took one minute longer. Maybe you SHOULD get the "high speed" if that minute actually makes a difference. I guess THAT must be the "New York" minute I've heard about...

                      I was born in Manhattan and I miss the food, and the museums and the characters. But when I visited SF as a teenager and discovered all of California is not tropical as I think most Americans assume (SF is in the 60's & 70's year 'round) that was it - I've been here ever since.

                      But back to the subject at hand: obviously at sea level, and tap water "cold" was used for the experiment. I depend on a very nice stainless steel electric kettle that goes with us to the hotel whenever we go on vacation, but the aesthetics are very important to me and as I stated in the o.p. I'm in love with my copper kettle, you'd have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands at this point...

                      But, I think we've also stumbled onto something potentially big here. Along with local chowdowns, and the book club they've got going on the home cooking board, road tests could be a useful way to actualize what we're doing here. How about looking for more opportunities for real life chowhound kitchen road tests?

                      1. re: niki rothman

                        Well, we did have that "is your soaking rice talking to you thread". ;-)

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Duh...somehow I missed the soaking rice experiments. Do tell the story, please...

                        2. re: niki rothman

                          I think you've nailed it: the notorious New York minute!

                          I suspect I love my Russell Hobbs as much as you love your Simplex...including for aesthetic reasons...Is your travelling ss elec kettle not so attractive?

                          I will certainly keep an eye out for additional road test experiments...esp since this one was so much fun! Thanks for being my partner in time!

                          1. re: fauchon

                            I'll have to search out the Russell Hobbs online to see what it looks like. Actually, my electric kettle is really cute! It was another case of a long-winded search that took place over a long weekend at Asilomar, the California State owned landmark resort in Monterey. We have considered it a second home for many years, going about every 2 months. One day I realized I really should be making my own tea and we searched out every store within 20 miles. The Hamilton Beach is Art Deco in style - almost cone shaped with a black plastic round cap and knob on top and a large semi-circular double handle that is also heavy matte black plastic. It's very sleek unlike so much of the bad design that's out there in small appliances. BUT, once again for home use there's something about that Simplex...I love it!

                            I'm a longtime fan of QE 2 and I understand she keeps and operates her own, personal, electric kettle next to her chair for tea - at all times. Very likely it's a Russell Hobbs, no?

                            And you're very welcome, fauchon. Please feel free to ask me to time anything you want. Anything food related, that is...

              2. Oh, now you're making me want to go out and buy a copper kettle too! I also have a Michael Graves one (for the past almost-4yrs), and it's been faithfully there for all my cups of green tea, instant coffee fixes, hot cocoa and quick soups. But perhaps it's time to retire it and move on to something different?
                Thanks for your sweet tea kettle story.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Augusta

                  One last love note to Simplex - that copper kettle has something magic about it. I had the MG too. Funny coincidence. But THAT copper kettle, and it's big too, lights up my whole kichen in a way that is the perfect combo of sexy and homey - just like me!

                  1. re: Augusta

                    Augusta, that would be wasteful. The Simplex will be around when the MG dies. It's been around forever.
                    When I was younger, I bought the latest thing, the new design, and gradually I realized that the classics were classics for a reason. I did what niki does, searched for the best prices, bought them one by one and outfitted my home and kitchen with fine things, some new, some vintage, some antiques. You can have real linen, crystal and silver, copper and stainless, terrific kitchen equipment of better quality than is currently manufactured by shopping estate sales and eBay and just watching for the right sales if you know what you want.
                    Don't settle for junk. These things are your tools and you live with them day in day out for years. You deserve the best. You can have it by shopping carefully. Often for far less than you think.