Fee, fie, foe, fum — which tea kettle is the one? Part I covered the first two items you need to consider when choosing the right tea kettle to serve your tea prep needs for years to come. In Part II, I cover items 3, 4, and 5, plus how to choose a good electric kettle.
Third, all this talk about oxygen in water — The claim is that overboiling removes oxygen. Really? Water is two molecules of hydrogen (H) and one molecule of oxygen (O) locked together. Contrary to a lot of chemicals, water reacts differently to freezing. It gets less dense when frozen (why ice cubes float) and more dense when it’s room temperature. But it reacts to heat fairly standardly, that is, the molecules start to get active. When they get sufficiently active, the molecules start to break apart, with the hydrogen saying “Bye Bye” to the oxygen, and fleeing the scene in the form of steam. People talk about boiling the oxygen out of water. However, the hydrogen floats off in that steam, too, so the ratio remains same. If you keep the lid on the kettle while it’s boiling, the steam is mostly caught on the lid and reforms into water molecules (condensation). Choosing a kettle with a lid is, therefore, rather important.
Fourth, the “icky” side of kettles — Both stovetop and electric kettles have their “icky” sides. Some are poorly designed (metal handles too hot to touch, whistles that you have to remove to pour, etc.), while others are hard to clean (you can’t use bleach and ammonia on stainless steel, for example). Glass kettles let you see water levels, but you see the calcium build-up, too. Yuck! The good thing is that you don’t have to judge by the funny taste of your tea when a kettle cleaning is needed.
Fifth, the assumption that faster is better — Electric kettles may heat your water faster, but, then, would you get that “me time” you need to think through deep issues, that is, to be a tea kettle philosopher? Sometimes faster isn’t better. Of course, if you’re desperate for a cuppa…
Okay, so you still want an electric kettle versus a basic stove top kettle. I understand. You’re hungry for something high-tech, craving to shave a minute off the time it takes to boil water, or need a way to heat water when no stove or microwave is available. Time to make your selection. A few things to look for:
- Corded or cordless (sits on a base that is corded) models. Go by your personal preference here, just like with electric irons.
- An indicator for the level of water in the kettle. You don’t have to measure water before putting it in the kettle. Just fill to the desired level.
- Multiple temperature settings to get the water just right for the various teas you drink.
- A built-in water filtering system, in case you don’t have a water filter or don’t use bottled water (to avoid the chlorine in most municipal water systems). This also cuts down on cleaning, since there is less build up of minerals inside the kettle.
- Easy cleaning, so there’s more time to enjoy the tea.
- A capacity that fits your tea drinking habits. If you usually make a 6-cup potful at a time, get a kettle that holds at least 6 cups of water. Get a smaller one if you do smaller quantities of tea at a sitting.
- A lid that can lock in place when you pour. The reason for this should be obvious. No surprise “Plops!”
- Automatic shut-off when the kettle is empty. (My poor Asta stovetop tea kettle has been left empty on a hot burner a time or two. Not good.)
Go ahead, make your choice, then fill it with clear, fresh water, heat it to the proper temperature for the tea you’re steeping, and have a great tea time!
There may be several different types of tea kettles out there, but there’s only one Tea Time with A.C. Cargill! Check it out today!