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Seeking Tea Kettle

I have a cheapie stove top kettle that is just this side of usable these days and I'm looking for an upgrade. I almost purchased a Le Creuset, and then Chantal but both had such negative reviews I couldn't chance it.

I'll be using it mostly for loose leaf tea of all kinds. I'm open to almost anything from electric to vintage copper as long as there is no plastic in contact with the water, the inside is a non reactive metal, and I can stick my hand in it to clean it properly. If I'm going to go electric it must be a variable temp kettle, and it must have no plastic parts inside. I've always had a whistling kettle, but some folks seem to love theirs whistle-less. I'd be pretty easy to convince if I'm given compelling arguments.

Finally, price point should be less than $100 and hopefully have a classic design to it.

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    1. http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-CD-LC...

      Zojirushi CD-LCC30 Micom 3.0-Liter Electric Dispensing Pot

      I really like mine and use a lot. It seemed pricey at first but, I use it so much I don't consider the cost any longer.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sid Post

        Great, but the water will definitely come in contact with plastic parts, and anyone paranoid about plastic probably also won't like the non-stick coating on the inside.

        I have both a Zojirushi hot water dispenser and various types of kettles (both stovetop and electric), however, the former is really more useful if you need hot water throughout the day for drinking, cooking, or other purposes. If you just plan on needing hot water sporadically, it may not be the best solution.

      2. Love my Cuisinart that I got for a song at Marshall's. Truth be told, there is a "trick" to getting the whistle to work (all the reviews complain that the "whistle doesn't work after awhile" but that's because they don't have enough water in the kettle). Anyhow, it has worked for me...the handle and spout show no sign of melting or falling off, so this beats what I had been getting. That said, I am at this coffee shop right now, and next to me on the shelf is this lovely Hario V60 kettle. Not going to spend $60 on a new kettle when the one I have works just fine, but this one looks like a dandy.

        1. If you must have variable temp in an electric kettle, then you can ignore this post, but I'm a tea guy from way back, and I've been happy with electrics that simply boil and then stop. For me, I'm happy to pour off the boiled water into a Pyrex cup and use an immersible thermometer to monitor the temp as it cools. But you don't even need a thermometer; you can just wait a minute or two.

          I'm presently using a Boni stainless pot, Chinese-made, long spout for an accurate pour, less than $30 in NYC Chinatown. No plastic inside, but in truth the metal discolored a bit at the bottom, and it doesn't bother me. Classic design? Definitely. Better than the Capresso electric I used to have, which always gave off a bad smell and cost more than twice as much (ahem...also made in China).

          Just a data point in favor of simplification.

          I had also considered Zojirushis, but the tea people I've spoken with don't favor them, as the water tends to sit there, with the heating element cycling on and off. Classic teamaking favors adding fresh water for each brew, especially with the gongfu method, and reboiling in a smallish vessel. The Zojirushis are standard equipment for tea houses and retailers who need hot water in quantity all the time.

          Best to you, whatever you choose. Many different ways to go.

          2 Replies
          1. re: comestible

            I use a thermometer in a pyrex cup, too. I thought I was being too nerdy.

            1. re: comestible

              I do tend to use a proper kettle for serious tea making, but I sometimes will preheat the water in the Zoji. Because most electric water dispensers keep the water below a boil (unless you hit 'reboil'), the worry of over-boiling the water isn't as big of a deal with these devices IMHO.

            2. Why use a kettle? I take a Pyrex measuring cup, fill it with the desired amount of water, and put it in the microwave. It's much faster than the stove (induction excluded), and with a little experimentation, you can consistently get the temperature you want.

              2 Replies
              1. re: cantkick

                I really dislike microwaves, and would get rid of mine completely if the husband didn't live off of Trader Joe's freezer section when he's on his own for dinner. The only reason I'm considering an electric kettle is because it makes it so much easier to get the proper temperature for the different teas I like to drink, especially when my husband is making me a pot after a long day of work.

                1. re: cantkick

                  Same here except I use the old tried and true Corning 6 cup teapot we've had since our wedding (50 years), and a pyrex measuring cup. I can pretty well tell when it hits 180 from the shimmer and wafts of vapor. Simplify!
                  Bob

                2. For $25, I got an old copper tea kettle off of ebay. It's battered, leaks a little as advertised, and holds about 4 cups. And whistles up a storm. And fits in with all the other battered, well used, and unpolished gear that I have. Including me.

                  1. I am a really big fan of this Yama kettle; $20 on Amazon (they used to be harder to get and quite a bit more expensive). It won't retain heat as well as thick ceramic kettles, which is both a plus and a minus, depending on whether you're brewing teas that need really hot water (black (red) tea, ripe pu'er, aged raw pu'er) or whether you're brewing more delicate teas. It has a great control of the pour, is easy to clean / descale, looks nice, and allows you to see the various stages of boiling. You can put some bamboo charcoal or even mineral stones inside - they won't break the glass, though they will thump around a bit.

                    http://www.amazon.com/Yama-Northwest-...

                    Unless you brew a lot of delicate greens, I personally feel that adjustable temperature can be a bit of a gimmick. Most kettles will cool off fairly quickly, many electric kettles auto-shutoff somewhat short of a rolling boil, and most teas can take hotter water than you might think.

                    I am also a fan of these 'Tian Yi' brand electric kettles. This is what I use at work, and I've been using the same one for 5+ years. They auto-shutoff at maybe 190 F, or you can use manual mode to push to a rolling boil. The base is a pleasant feeling Bakelite, and the switch is pretty heavy duty.
                    https://www.imperialtea.com/Steel-Ele...

                    Kamjove makes some similar (and a bit cheaper) ones which don't have quite as much of an "army surplus" look, but aren't as well made.

                    There shouldn't be plastic in contact with the water, but I'm not sure what kind of seal / gasket is around the place where the immersion element enters.

                    This is a very common topic of discussion, here and elsewhere. See, e.g.,
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767985
                    http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: will47

                      Thank you SO much! I love the looks of both of them. I brew herbal and white teas mostly, but do end up brewing a bit of everything over the course of a week. I think i might get that Yama. I have a bit of an obsession with bakelite and the handle looks like it would fit in with some of my other older kitchen gadgets with bakelite handles. I only hope it will last me more than a few months with out breaking. I'm pretty clumsy and in the first three years we lived together, my husband and I broke every single glass and cup we owned between us.

                      PS Yes, I know bakelite is a plastic but it doesn't come in contact with the water.

                      1. re: MelissaMachete

                        Sorry if I wasn't clear. The handle on the Yama glass kettle is made of wood (with a red varnish). Over many years, it may get partially stripped to plain wood (which, in my opinion, actually enhances the look).

                        I believe the metal electric kettle has a bakelite base, however, I'm not sure about the handle and knob.

                    2. My favorite tea kettle is OXO's Uplift, which lets you lift the kettle off the stove and pour water in a single, one-handed motion. OXO doesn't get it right every time, but this is a winner.

                      http://www.oxo.com/p-907-uplift-tea-k...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Jay F

                        Add my vote for the OXO. We've had one for about 10 years

                        1. re: Jay F

                          We got the anniversary edition for xmas and love it - asked for a stainless steel whistling teakettle.

                          http://www.oxo.com/p-957-uplift-tea-k...

                        2. Hi,

                          I know that it is more (perhaps substantially more) than your ideal price, but one of these Simplex kettles would probably be the last kettle you would ever buy. I have the #4 (for a gas stove) and I LOVE it. Basically, there are four types--either for gas or for non-gas stoves and either copper lined with tin or chrome plated copper lined with nickel.

                          http://simplex-kettles.com/copper-ket...

                          Good Luck,

                          Jeremy

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jljohn

                            The Simplex kettles are nice, but also easy to destroy. The lining will get totally destroyed if you heat it without water in it (way beyond what would happen if you did the same to a stainless kettle). Did this by accident to a friend's, and had to replace it.

                            1. re: will47

                              Let me guess that this happened to a tin-lined copper kettle? Tin has a melting point of 400 some odd degrees (435 ish). The chrome plated copper has a nickel lining which melts at more like 1450 degrees.

                              I am surprised that you had to replace as opposed to re-tin the inside. There a places that should have been able to re-tin the kettle for much less than the cost of a new one.

                              Jeremy

                              1. re: jljohn

                                I am pretty sure it was the nickel lined one, but it was a while ago.

                                If memory serves, the chrome itself can crack. I don't think a melted lining was the problem.