That old faithful workhorse of your daily tea time may need to retire. “Retire?” you ask. Yes, as in “let the poor thing rest and go play a round of golf or two.” No pension involved here, though. Just a bit of kind-heartedness and common sense.
The top reason for retiring a tea kettle is structural defects that affect the water flavor and therefore the taste of your tea. So, the top sign to look for is [dramatic and ominous pause] rust! Yes, it happens. I have seen even tea kettles that are coated with enamel inside, as my Asta tea kettle is, develop rust as the enamel starts cracking and the metal is exposed (the main reason I retired this kettle).
Another big sign is a tea kettle getting structural defects that affect functionality. This would be things like the spout becoming crooked (something to do with it being thrown against the wall in a fit of pique due to some inferior tea — the tea kettle often gets blamed) to such an extent that neither you nor the town smithy can straighten it enough to pour the water out in a nice stream. Having your boiling water going every which way is not conducive to a relaxing and stress-free tea time!
And then there is the sign of clumps of minerals coming out of the spout along with the water. This is due to the issue of the kettle owner failing to clean out the kettle every so often to remove mineral build-up (this is for those of you living in areas with hard water). There comes a point when the build-up will be so affixed to the interior that not even several rounds of washing with CLR (a cleaner that is specifically made for such things) will help. You could, of course, resort to the old hammer and chisel routine. Good luck with that!
On a final and somewhat sad note is the sign that the tea kettle is getting out of fashion. Actually, tea kettles also get retired because the owner has gotten tired of them. Gasp! Horrifying I know. But tastes and fashions change. This is not to be confused with a tea kettle that is set in a place of honor to be an object of admiration because it is just too adorable to be used. No, this is a perfectly good and usable tea kettle getting set aside because it is of a color or shape or style that was once appealing to its owner but is no longer so. Very, very sad! Just as there is an island for misfit toys, there is a special cupboard (a pretty big one) for out-of-fashion tea kettles. No one’s ever made a movie about this, though.
As you can see, the signs that show your tea kettle needs to retire are practical as well as emotional. They are also ones that, if heeded, will assure you a great tea time as the new tea kettle comes “into service” and the old tea kettle grabs that bag of golf clubs and heads to the course. Fore!
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