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Stainless steel kettle (electric)

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  • mwok Feb 23, 2011 09:55 AM
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Is there a true stainless steel kettle that is all electric and zero plastic?

Also, is there a reason why there are no iron cast kettles?

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  1. Sure there are cast iron kettles and pots. They tend to be small and decorative. Breville makes a stainless electric kettle. They are very fast and energy efficient. Catamount Glass makes a borosilicate glass (lab glass) kettle that can be used as a kettle and tea pot. I'm at home so i can't look at the Lodge catalog but they may make one too. Try Amazon and E-bay. There are also some very handsome copper kettles lined with stainless steel, there is another brand whose name is escaping me at the moment, a stove top model in all stainless. Chantal and Oxo make kettles that are enameled inside and out. Lots of choices out there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      Breville as far as I know has plastic. Re: your other recs, I tk mwok was interested in electric (or so his subject line implies).

      1. re: iyc_nyc

        The Breville i use has no plastic except for a window in the lid. We use them in the shop and I sell them. They do have more than one model.

    2. Breville. That is what I have at work-it's amazing.

      1. My wife purchased one, I think Black and Decker brand, this is mostly stainless, after seeing versions in Europe. Mucho quick to heat water for tea/nescafe. Why no cast iron electric kettles? weight!

        4 Replies
        1. re: RxDiesel

          According to the amazon reviews for the breville line of kettles, some of them are lined with silicon or rubber gormets. Also, the water level indicator is plastic.

          Is there such a thing as iron cast electric kettle?

          1. re: mwok

            How would it be heated?

            You can use an iron tetsubin on an induction plate, including an induction plate designed as half of an electric kettle set (e.g., http://www.hailea.com/kamjove/E-kamjo...). Or you can use it on a standard (non-induction) hot plate. However, I don't think anyone makes a cast iron electric kettle with an immersion heating element inside. This is probably for a few reasons:
            1) Unlined cast iron is prone to rust, and can't be sold for boiling water uses in the US
            2) It would probably be hard to build such a kettle, and it would be heavy / unwieldy

            The older Chinese style of electric kettle (stainless steel) shouldn't have any plastic directly in contact with the water, however I'm not sure exactly how the immersion heating element is sealed.

            I have this model, though bought it from a different source (it looks similar to some of Kamjove's models, but isn't made by them), and it's built like a tank... much better than the newer models. The bottom is bakelite, and once you get used to the army surplus look, it's kind of nice looking. Yes, you can find things which look identical for $30, but this one is way better.

            http://www.imperialtea.com/Steel-Elec...

            1. re: will47

              Will, does this heat to variable temps or just a few pre-sets?

              Also, is there any plastic in contact w the water? How is the heating element sealed?

              Thanks!

              1. re: iyc_nyc

                Like I said, I'm not sure how the element is sealed. There's a metal plate above the heating element, so hard to say. I think it's mostly just ceramic and metal down there, but no way to easily find out without taking the thing apart. There is no visible plastic coming in contact with the water.

                No variable temperatures on that one. it will either go to a boil and shut off (switch to the left side), or keep boiling until you turn it off (right side). I'm not big on extra bells and whistles, and I don't drink many teas which require cooler temperatures. With oolongs and puer tea, I will generally be using water that's either as close to boiling as possible, or just off a boil, and even if I want to baby a tea, I'll just pour from a bit higher and less directly on the tea. Even if I brewed green tea more often, I would just wing it, or use a pitcher to cool down the water.

                I will say that the stainless electric kettles, even when you can *see* that the water is boiling, seems to lose temperature much more quickly than a thick ceramic kettle, heated on a stovetop; this may be good or bad depending on your application.

        2. Japanese use cast iron kettles (tetsubin) historically, however it's not allowed to sell unlined cast iron kettles in the US except for decorative purposes. You can still buy them from overseas, and you can sometimes find antique ones here as well. The size is generally much larger than those crappy lined tetsubin sold at inflated prices at places like Teavana. These are intended for brewing tea, which is not something these were historically used for. These things are total pieces of crap, unlike a real, unlined tetsubin, which is used to boil water for making tea in a porcelain or stoneware / earthenware pot.

          The inside is not seasoned, and should not be seasoned like a cooking surface would be. Even if there's some rust inside (and there will be if it's antique), they will make good water; some insist they make better water for some types of teas than others. There are also silver tetsubins, which (aside from being quite expensive) are said to be amazing.

          6 Replies
          1. re: will47

            Can someone elaborate on why the unlined, cast iron kettles are not allowed for sale in the US? I've been looking for a kettle for a while and finally found one I really liked. It's made by Iwachu, a very old Japanese company, and it is an unlined, cast iron kettle. After reading some of the material at Hojo Tea it seemed like this would be a very nice kettle, but I'm curious as to why they are not for sale in in the US.

            1. re: azwildcat

              I could have been mistaken about that - it's what I've always heard, but I've never been able to find any specific documentation one way or another. I assume the concern is rusting. Unlike with cast iron cookware, and maybe even some cast iron kettles made in the US, tetsubin shouldn't have any seasoning or treatment inside.

              You can buy unlined tetsubin in antique stores, and they certainly can be mail-ordered from overseas from sources like Hojo.

              Some rust (and scale buildup) is inevitable with tetsubin over time, but from what I understand, it is not a problem with regards to tea brewing (in fact, it may help a bit in some cases).

            2. re: will47

              "... however it's not allowed to sell unlined cast iron kettles in the US except for decorative purposes."

              Really? Bayou Classic has large cast iron pots. What is the difference between a pot and a kettle, anyway?

              I have a small cast iron pot, but it's an old one.

              1. re: GH1618

                One different is that cast iron cookware will generally be kept from prolonged contact with water, is usually seasoned with oil, and is usually cooked on with oil, and dried off (and oiled) after use.

                1. re: will47

                  Sorry, but I'm still not clear on this. An iron soup pot is a kettle, as far as I am concerned. Do you mean a pot used only for water, like a teakettle? Why would anyone want an iron teakettle?

                  1. re: GH1618

                    Iron tea kettles are exactly what we're talking about in this thread (and I think that's totally clear from the context of the discussion). Iron and silver tea kettles have a long history in regards to tea making, though they are not as commonly used now as they were in the past. They retain heat longer than kettles made of glass or stainless steel. An unlined iron kettle will change the taste of the water in certain ways (for the reasons I mentioned above); some people prefer the water boiled in an iron kettle for certain types of teas.

                    Silver is believed to have very beneficial properties in terms of improving the taste of water. Unfortunately, silver kettles and teapots are quite expensive, for obvious reasons, so they are less often used, though antique ones are both expensive and sought after.

            3. Cast iron rusts when wet. It works ok for pans that get seasoned, and dried between uses; less so for prolonged contact with water.

              Electrical heating elements are encased in metal so there is good conduction to the water. But there has to be some sort of plastic or ceramic insulation to separate the heating element from the rest of the pot (both electrically and thermally).

              In addition stainless steel containers that are meant for long term contact with water (and esp. acidic liquids) are often lined with a plastic. Newer ones should be BPA free, but they will be plastic (or something analogous) non the less.

              Glass and ceramic are your best bet if you want to stay away from plastics - but these materials are not compatible with quick heating.

              There's another old fashioned material that is good for holding water - enamel steel (such as the blue speckled coffee pot in the camping aisle of Walmart).

              1 Reply
              1. re: paulj

                I agree that there has to be some sort of insulation for electric kettles that have an internal immersion element (which does heat the water quickly). Some folks have an objection to immersion heating elements because they don't think it's good for the heating element to be directly in contact with the water. But I think these people are a little nutty.

                My glass and ceramic kettles heat fairly quickly on a reasonably powerful gas stove or a portable butane range - probably between 6-15 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the kettle and the amount of water. On an electric range, they tend to heat pretty slowly, though.

                I use an alcohol burner also, but I use it more to reboil or keep things warm than to bring it close to the initial boil.

              2. An electric kettle made of cast iron would not be efficient, and it would be horribly heavy.

                1. Try the Pino Pro Digital Electric Kettle. It is made of stainless steel, the water gauge is stainless too. The very top of the lid is lined with plastic, but the water does not come in contact with the lid - it pours out a stainless spout before it gets that high. I've had one for a couple of years now and really like it.

                  1. I have an older Russell Hobbs like this:

                    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Russell-Hobbs...

                    I like it so much that if it were lost or irreparably broken I'd go on eBay for another one like it. Of course the handle and knob have some plastic, but everything else appears to be SS.