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Electric Tea Kettles


Gifted Gourmet
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article from Slate online

I think America is living in the past. According to the tests I conducted (using a gas range at highest heat), our traditional stove-top kettles take eight or nine minutes to boil a mere four cups of water. Pathetic! What's more, the handles of these stove-top kettles—having perched above a hot flame for eight long minutes—are often quite painful and injurious to grab.

People, we are long overdue for a consumer revolution. Like Bob Dylan walking onstage at Newport in 1965, kettles are poised to go electric.  It pains me to tell you that the Brits are way ahead of us on this. It's all about electrics over there. Granted, the higher U.K. voltage allows kettles to boil at light speed. But even using the standard voltage in my U.S. apartment, I found that an electric kettle can boil four cups of water in well under five minutes. That's twice as fast as most of the stove-top kettles I tested (even the most expensive ones).

Your opinion?

Have a tea kettle?

Old fashioned is just fine with me?

New ones look better for my needs?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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1)Your opinion?

2)Have a tea kettle?

3)Old fashioned is just fine with me?

4)New ones look better for my needs?

1) My opinion is that it is just another time saving device. While good for some it is not my thing.

2) I have many tea kettles in my kitchen, on bookcases, in boxes in the basement, and there is even one in my bedroom(Why I do not know, well packrat maybe)

3) Yep, I do not know if it proven but I still think that starting with cold water produces the best cup of tea.

4) When I want to cheat I just use my Insta-Hot tap.

BryanZ- What are these "uber-Asian hot water boilers" you speak of, are they the same as Insta-Hots and there ilk

Edit: Added #'s to GG's post in my quote for ease of response.

Edited by M.X.Hassett (log)
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Your opinion?

Have a tea kettle?

Old fashioned is just fine with me?

New ones look better for my needs?

I have both. All work fairly well. The ergonomics on both styles I have are pretty much crap. The beauty of both, well see the ergonomics. They go hand-in-hand.

But, they boil water which gets me caffeine. So, life can still exist within the realm of a homely tea kettle.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Electric kettle rocks! I have the Krups model and it's much faster than regular stove top kettle on 9kBTU burner. The electric kettle doesn't heat up the surrounding space, just the water. It seems to have much less scale build up issues than the stove top kind - and we have very hard water with lots of lime here.

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Electric kettle rocks! I have the Krups model and it's much faster than regular stove top kettle on 9kBTU burner. The electric kettle doesn't heat up the surrounding space, just the water. It seems to have much less scale build up issues than the stove top kind - and we have very hard water with lots of lime here.

You have sold me! And the Slate comparison seems to be likewise in agreement on the value of the electric kettle. I especially like the fact that it doesn't heat up the surrounding space.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Electric kettle rocks! I have the Krups model and it's much faster than regular stove top kettle on 9kBTU burner. The electric kettle doesn't heat up the surrounding space, just the water. It seems to have much less scale build up issues than the stove top kind - and we have very hard water with lots of lime here.

Ditto. Everything. Absolutely.

Two drawbacks:

1. Takes up space on the counter in a very small kitchen. It's significant that we would rather give up the space than give up the kettle.

2. Circa 1957 kitchen has a shortage of power, and it's one more thing to juggle, electrically. I can't use it if either the microwave or the dishwasher are in use.

Not-before-mentioned advantage:

I have ADHD, and I have to do "things" to avoid burning the house down. Mainly, I wear a timer around my neck, which I set when I put things on the stove. Sometimes I put a chair in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room so that I will not forget to stay in the kitchen, such as when I have something under the broiler. (My husband loves me anyway. He's a saint. I make his life interesting. He always has stories to tell at work.) The kettle, however, turns itself off, and if I burn the house down, it won't be with the kettle.

We love our electric teakettle.

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I think the uber-Asian hot water boilers are even better.  Perhaps not the best for the purists but for everything else it's much faster.

i use one of the zojirushi hot water pots and love it. i always have 5 liters of nearly boiling water at the ready. perfect for tea, coffee, blanching veggies and filling a hot water bottle on a chilly night.

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I have both. A cordless electric kettle and a nice stainless steel stove top kettle that matches my stainless steel decor. :biggrin: If I need hot water quickly (like for a water bath) I'll use the electric kettle, which yes, shuts off automatically. When I'm not in a hurry, like when I'm making my brother a pot of tea (I don't drink tea unless I'm sick, so it's a sisterly sort of torture to watch him suffer waiting for his caffine while I sip my coffee), I use the stove top one.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I think the uber-Asian hot water boilers are even better.  Perhaps not the best for the purists but for everything else it's much faster.

i use one of the zojirushi hot water pots and love it. i always have 5 liters of nearly boiling water at the ready. perfect for tea, coffee, blanching veggies and filling a hot water bottle on a chilly night.

That's exactly what I was talking about. They're made by National/Panasonic (I think they're the same brand now), Zojirushi, etc. A 2-liter model takes up no more room than an electric kettle, is more convenient, and more useful, I think.

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My opinion: if you drink a lot of tea, especially multiple cups per day, they sound like a really good idea.

However, I'm sticking with my old RevereWare. It fits *perfectly* on one of the small burners of my electric stove - it's a perfect match of surface area of the bottom to volume of water (6 cups - just measured!).

The other benefit is that I store the tea kettle right on the stove, so it doesn't take up any counter space. I'm not in a position to trade counter space for a couple of minutes that I don't mind spending anyway.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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The ownership of an electric kettle is just a tell about how many generations you are removed from and Ango/Indian/Scots/Chinese/Irish tea-drinking family. -- Emphasis on tea-drinking. As we residents of the US know, tea is usually produced with a trollop of a teabag lolling over the side of a mug waiting for her closeup in a microwave.

My Anglo/Scots Canadian parents insist on a real cuppa, brewed in a real teapot (Georgian sterling in their case, but they have a Brown Betty for breakfast.) Hampered as they are by Ottawa's mostly electric stoves, a good plug-in kettle does the trick.

But I must say again: Occasional tea drinkers like me have a pretty pot and a Michael Graves kettle from Target. But the hard-core tea drinkers own electric kettles.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I want to get an electric kettle when we re-furnish the breakfast nook with a sideboard. It will keep the coffee making out of the main kitchen and out of my way. We currently use a stovetop kettle and the coffee supplies are in the cabinet next to the stove. Convenient if all you are doing is making coffee, but annoyingly in the way if I'm trying to finish breakfast/dessert/clean up and he is trying to make coffee. Yes, I'm slightly territorial. :raz:

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I don't think you can even buy non-electric kettles anymore in Australia unless you want shiny display pieces. Electric kettles are useful for so much more than just tea. You can get water boiling for pasta or blanching vegtables so much faster than on the stovetop. I nearly always start a kettle of water boiling before I start cooking and I almost always use up nearly all of it by the end.

If your buying a kettle, make sure to get one with a contactless base. If you don't use it too often, then you can stash the kettle in the drawer and keep the base plugged in but vertical to save room.

PS: I am a guy.

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I don't think you can even buy non-electric kettles anymore in Australia unless you want shiny display pieces. Electric kettles are useful for so much more than just tea. You can get water boiling for pasta or blanching vegtables so much faster than on the stovetop. I nearly always start a kettle of water boiling before I start cooking and I almost always use up nearly all of it by the end.

They're also good for hot water to soak stuff stuck on pans, or soaking dried mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes prior to adding to a recipe.

Do not, as a friend of mine in uni once did, ever put anything besides water into the kettle, if you know what's good for you.

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Heh, that's funny. I actually tried using an (old) electric kettle to reduce stock since it evaporates so much faster. However, I could never get the foaming under control so it would always spill over. Didn't seem to have damaged the kettle though.

PS: I am a guy.

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Heh, that's funny. I actually tried using an (old) electric kettle to reduce stock since it evaporates so much faster. However, I could never get the foaming under control so it would always spill over. Didn't seem to have damaged the kettle though.

This was milk. It burnt badly to the heating element and was pretty stinky.

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Electric for me. Mine is a cheap-o Presto and has done well for about 5 years. Very hard water here and a cup heated in the microwave will get a nasty looking scum on it. I went looking for a teakettle for the stove and ended up buying this one.

I do have to give it a boil with vinegar every couple of months because the lime starts to flake.

It's used every day since I have tea every morning.

Edited by BarbaraY (log)
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The ownership of an electric kettle is just a tell about how many generations you are removed from and Ango/Indian/Scots/Chinese/Irish tea-drinking family. -- Emphasis on tea-drinking. As we residents of the US know, tea is usually produced with a trollop of a teabag lolling over the side of a mug waiting for her  closeup in a microwave. 

My Anglo/Scots Canadian parents insist on a real cuppa, brewed in a real teapot (Georgian sterling in their case, but they have a Brown Betty for breakfast.) Hampered as they are by Ottawa's  mostly electric stoves, a good plug-in kettle does the trick.

But I must say again: Occasional tea drinkers like me have a pretty pot and a Michael Graves kettle from Target. But the hard-core tea drinkers own electric kettles.

i drink several cups of tea a day, and i don't have a teakettle or an electric kettle. i use a pot on the stove--i got tired of always having to move the teakettle out of the way. and then it would get grease splattered on it from whatever else i was cooking, and was generally just a pain in the ass. am i insane? doesn't anyone else just use a pot?

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  • 2 weeks later...

my DH is a manager of teavana and had been dying to get an electric kettle. they have a 60$ model at his store he had been eyeing. i found a brand new GE electric kettle at a garage sale for 3$. he has been happy with it and we use it everyday. we drink loads of tea. i do wish i had more counter space. that is why i loved the stove top pot. i was very reluctant to the idea but since i bought it and have been using it i love it. it really is much faster. :biggrin:

"i saw a wino eating grapes and i was like, dude, you have to wait"- mitch hedburg

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Bleh. I grew up with electric kettles in Australia. Useful, sure. But I dislike them. They have no place in the rhythms of my kitchen. We have a perfectly lovely enamelled stovetop kettle that boils in plenty of time with a nice hearty whistle. Electric kettles just don't do it for me on an emotional satisfaction level!

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Oddly enough, as much as I enjoy the electric kettles when I visit England, I have never bought one for home. I always marvel at how fast they heat and always chalked it up to the higher voltage. Love the auto shut off.

So why don't I have one? Probably, I subliminally assume that our lower voltage just won't cut it. That is probably wrong. Also, I don't drink a lot of tea at home. I really hadn't thought of having the supply of hot water to rehydrate mushrooms and dried peppers or blanch veggies. That is a good idea.

I am thinking about putting one of the Insta-Hots in the beverage area of the new kitchen. My son has one and uses it a lot.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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