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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: http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?...

        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: http://www.amazon.com/PINO-ST-8706-Di...

            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.

                1. re: poser

                  This is the same as one I linked to above. :-)

                  EDIT: The sweet maria's one looks like a newer model - I don't tk they carried it when I bought mine, and theirs has the Pino logo on it.

                  Sweet Maria's endorsement goes a long way - they are experts in the business and customer goodwill is impt enough to them that I don't tk they'd endorse this just to increase their bottom line.

                  1. re: iyc_nyc

                    I didn't think to check Sweet Marias. I agree that endorsement says a lot.

                    Thanks for all the help!

                    1. re: ziggylu

                      My endorsement wasn't enough? :-)

                    2. re: iyc_nyc

                      sorry about that. I saw the heading and I replied without reading through the posts. I agree, Sweet marias and iyc_nyc's recommendation goes a long way.

                      1. re: poser

                        haha - thanks, Poser, for the validation. :-))

                        1. re: iyc_nyc

                          ordered one this afternoon. Have a favorite tea you'd like to recommend as well iyc_nyc?

                          1. re: ziggylu

                            Ziggy, I'm not much of a tea drinker - I love coffee instead and use the kettle for making coffee via my melitta filter (as well as for cooking). My coffee tastes are completely non CH-worthy -- short of nice rich coffee I've had every once in a while in real coffeehouses, my favorite is still starbucks. But I also don't have the right equipment to roast and ground my own coffee, so my guess is that if I were to do that one day I'll discover coffee that is on a whole different plane.

                            Btw, you know I was totally kidding re: my endorsement not being enough, right? I'm under no delusion that my opinion carries even 1/100 the weight of Sweet Maria's when it comes to kettles (or many other matters)! And I hope you love the kettle - please don't hate me if you don't. :-)

                  2. I vote for the electric kettle. My Chef's Choice is fabulous, and it heats water very, very fast. It also turns off automatically, so when it reaches a boil, it shuts off the heater and it can sit for a few minutes before you notice any real cooling down. The kettle itself is cordless, which is nice.

                    I also have a Zojirushi hot pot and it holds water hot for a long time, but I think it takes too long to boil. I don't know about you, but when I want a cup of tea, I want it now!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RGC1982

                      "I also have a Zojirushi hot pot and it holds water hot for a long time, but I think it takes too long to boil."

                      These are very common in Asian households, but the usual way to use them is that they're *always* on, so that there's always hot water at the push of a button. They are not the best for serious tea making, but they are great for having hot water to drink, casual tea brewing, adding hot water when cooking, etc.

                      Anyway, the point is, if you leave it on all the time, you won't have to wait for your cup of tea -- in fact, it will be faster than your electric kettle. Most of them take fairly little energy to keep operating, but of course, if you don't have multiple people using hot water at many different times of the day, a standard electric kettle is more practical.

                    2. Just wanted to update this. My tea kettle came a couple days ago. I ordered the Pino that was suggested here in this thread: http://www.amazon.com/PINO-ST-8706-Di...

                      It's only been a very short time but so far I'm pleased with it. Does exactly what it claims to do:
                      All stainless, no plastic in contact with water
                      Variable temperature setting that you can dial in and not preset
                      holds to temp

                      The only downsides I've seen so far are that it's not super fast and that it's not insulated so the stainless gets very hot to touch. The handle is comfortable and well balanced so it isn't hard to pour but I'd be concerned about how hot it gets if I had kids in the house. And while it's not a super fast kettle I can live with the few minutes(maybe 5?) it takes to come to a full boil, particularly since it will hold temp once heated.

                      It also pours without dribbling which is a nice plus as well.

                      So I'm pleased with the purchase and am now hoping it holds up over time. Thanks for all the input.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ziggylu

                        Yay, thanks for reporting back!

                        Re: time to boil, when you say it takes 5 min is that for a full pot? I typically boil only 2-4 cups but it takes only 1-2 minutes I think..

                        1. re: terlin

                          The Pino kettle STILL has plastic inside. The top section has a plastic block the goes at least an inch into the container. Steam from the water will collect on the plastic block and probably leach.

                        2. Sorry your kettle didn't work out for you. Last year, I bought the Cuisinart Electric Kettle.


                          I LOVE it. I don't know how I went for so long without one. I initially chose those model because it's stainless steel but that it also had various water temperature settings. This way, I could click on different temperatures for whatever tea I was making.

                          But, I quickly started using it for everyday cooking. This kettle is fast. Much faster then my old gas stove (boiling water is my nemesis). So now, I boil the water in the kettle and pour it into the pot. It saves me time and aggravation. And, now that it's summer, it keeps my non-ac'ed kitchen, a bit cooler.

                          Plus, it has a loud beep, it will keep the water at the set temperature and it has a pretty blue light. I really love this kettle.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: beetlebug

                            I replaced it with a Capresso glass one. It doesn't have the variable temperature but not expecitng to have to buy one right now I didn't want to spend a lot of money. I've used the new one three times so far and it seems like a good kettle...very quick. Much faster than the Pino was.

                            Hopefully it lasts longer. I'd go to a stove top one but I live in Phoenix and try to avoid introducing any more heat in my house than God already gives me.

                          2. I love my zojirushi hot water pot. My husband uses it almost more than I do making his French press coffee. Mine has been in 24/7 use since I bought it a few years ago.