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Feb 22, 2011 06:21 AM

Electric Kettle, water heater or?

Have started drinking a lot of tea. Would like to invest in an electric kettle or an electric water heater(a la zojirushi, panasonic). Thoughts on one versus the other? Any recommendations? Would like no plastic in contact w/ water and prefer something insulated or that holds water at temp for a bit. Thanks for suggestions!

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  1. It may be impossible to avoid plastic. The heating element will be metal, and has to be insulated, in one way or another, from the rest of the pot.

    1. Zojirushi products are nice. Huge advantage of the Japanese boiler/warmer design is the ability to dial-in and hold temperatures--something an electric kettle can't do. Makes green tea drinking much more convenient.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kagemusha

        I love my Zojirushi "hot pot". I have the 3L model and use it a LOT.

      2. It depends. If you want precise control of the pour, and / or want to brew while sitting comfortably, an electric kettle is probably ideal, and while an air pot will get very close to boiling, the water is usually at most 208 F when it comes out. Most electric kettles won't hold the water at temperature for too long, but you can do a quick reboil.

        Capresso changed their glass electric kettle so that the metal ball inside is now metal instead of plastic. This kettle looks pretty nice and heats fast;plastic coming in contact with the water should be minimal if any. The metal Chinese style electric kettles (Kamjove, etc.) should also have little or no plastic in contact with the water also; esp. the induction models. See also:

        I prefer an actual kettle (electric or otherwise), but the air pot is more convenient. Keep in mind that the inside is usually coated with some sort of nonstick coating.

        4 Replies
        1. re: will47

          It coming out at a boil is a good thing, you don't want to use boiling water with tea anyway. The Zo is perfect because you choose what temp to keep the water at.

          1. re: rasputina

            I assume you mean "it *not* coming out at a boil....". However, I disagree that you don't want to use boiling water with tea. Some teas need full boiling water, some teas do not. I prefer to have more control over the water temperature than a hot water dispenser allows.

            I boil aged puer, ripe puer, and red (black) tea with full boiling water. I boil some oolongs with very close to full boiling water, probably above 195 F - where the water is bubbling but not at a full rolling boil. Additionally, a kettle with a spout lets you control the water temperature in more subtle ways, by adjusting the height, strength, and angle of the pour. And, since you can let the water cool after boiling it, you can use your senses to determine when the water is at the optimum temperature; with the Zoji, other than using a pitcher to cool the water, you don't have that option.

            The Zoji we have can do 208, 195, and 140, and will hold that temperature fairly well even when not plugged into the wall. However, the water that comes out initially will have a drop in temperature, some say as much as 20-30 degrees F (I haven't measured myself). If you are pre-heating your teaware (as you should), this may not present a big problem in actual practice, but it's something to keep in mind.

            1. re: will47

              Nope I didn't mean not, I meant out IE boiling water being poured on tea leaves is a bad thing. I don't want boiling water coming OUT of the pot.

              1. re: rasputina

                But you said "it coming out at a boil is a good thing". Don't you mean "it *not* coming out at a boil is a good thing"?

                Anyway, I disagree that boiling water being poured on tea leaves is always a bad thing. Again, just depends on the tea. There are also ways of pouring that you can use to not shock the leaves.

        2. I have a Breville SK500XL that I think is the bee's knees. It is very sturdy without being heavy, it heats a full pot of water to boiling in an unervingly short period of time, and it is easy to take care of. Ours has lasted a few years and is still going strong. The only plastic on it are the handle and the switch and water level meter and they are all very durable heavy duty plastic. The whole thing is very well built and designed. It keeps water warm for a bit, but it reheats slightly cooled water so quickly that it really does not matter. We use it twice a day at least, for water for the french press in the morning and tea in the afternoon. Also hugely useful for when you are making stock from bullion cubes, or pre-heating water for lots of other uses.

          1. Have recommended this several times before on these boards:

            Found it after a LOT of research - I too wanted pretty much your specs above. No plastic in contact with the water and has variable temp you can hold. Have had it for about a year now (?), use it several times a week and still works perfectly.

            I've been trying to get rid of useless appliances and this is definitely worth the counter space - never would have imagined how useful it would become. It heats in a matter of seconds and so can be used as a hot water kettle for drinks, etc., in addition to significantly speeding up cooking time. Also comes in handy if you're on the run - great for instant oatmeal, etc.

            Only downside, which is slight, is that it's kinda cheap feeling - for example, the plastic handle squeaks every time I pick the thing up.

            Also, someone started another thread on kettles who pointedly didn't want 'made in China'. I tk this one is, but it's held up so far and I doubt there's anything 'bad' in the SS.

            4 Replies
            1. re: iyc_nyc

              I keep looking at the Pino on Amazon. Unfortunately, no one in AZ carries them so I can't look at one in person to touch and feel first. The price is reasonable though so I may just take the plunge and try it.

              Really, I'd like to get my hands on a Simplex copper kettle....but I try to use the stovetop as little as possible during the many hot months here in AZ so an electric option is much better though not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye...

              thanks for the input!

              1. re: ziggylu

                I like that general style (like the Pino) - kind of "ugly, but in a good way". But there are some cheaper kettles of the same design that don't have as cluttered controls.

                Check out Chef's Choice, Hamilton Beach, etc.

                1. re: will47

                  Hey, it's not ugly!! also, I tk the HB etc have plastic in contact with water and/or don't have variable control and ability to hold at temp.

                  In any event, Ziggylu -- I am very picky -- probably too much for my own good -- and have zero regrets abt making this purchase. And can't emphasize how much research I did.

                  1. re: will47

                    I can no longer recommend the Pino tea kettle. Woke up this AM, plugged in and zilch. It had been whining a bit while heating the water last week so I'm not surprised to find it non-functional. However I am extremely disappointed it only lasted four months.

                    The warranty is only 90 days.

                    Now I know why.