When Your Tea Kettle Fools You

Accurate water temperature can make the difference in the taste of your tea, but your tea kettle can fool you. Then, you end up with understeeped black tea that needed boiling water or oversteeped green tea that needed water heated to around 180° F. A tea lover’s nightmare!

My now-retired Asta kettle without its lid – the best way to determine a true boil. (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)
My now-retired Asta kettle without its lid – the best way to determine a true boil. (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

I discovered this foolery when my Asta tea kettle began conducting itself in a less-than-reliable manner. Stovetop tea kettles seem to be the most likely to engage in such behavior. It’s not that they’re cantankerous or even ornery. And it’s not all stovetop models. This tea kettle has a loose fitting lid that can dance around when the water gets close to boiling. That’s where the fooling part comes in. You think your water has reached that boil, but it hasn’t.

When I retired my Asta kettle in favor of a kettle with a tight-fitting lid, I had high hopes that the days of such deception were behind me. No need to listen for just the right pitch of that lid dance rattle. Nor to watch for the right configuration of bubbles to tell when that perfect temperature had been achieved. And forget that tea thermometer — or so I thought. Sigh, we live and learn. The new kettle could whistle when a true boil was reached, but the other subtleties of water temperature were impossible.

Gee, maybe it’s time to go for an electric kettle. They come in a wide variety of styles, materials, features, and even capacities. And I see them featured more and more at such traditional tea events as a Japanese Tea Ceremony. (I’m pretty sure they didn’t have electricity when this ceremony was first developed nor for centuries afterwards.)

Some great options here:

  • Chef’s Choice 695 electric French press (cordless) — It’s electric and cordless for perfect control of the brewing temperature and better flavor and aroma of your coffee and tea. The “Boil & Press” feature boils water in the same carafe where you brew the coffee or tea. The new solid state heating element boils water fast, and since you aren’t transferring the boiling water into a cool carafe, you don’t get the usual cool-down like with other French presses. Your coffee and tea brew at optimum temperature for full flavor extraction. Automatically shuts off power when the water reaches a full boil; incorporates double boil-dry safety shutoff protection. Comes with extra lid for use as a hot pot. Take-to-table carafe lifts cord-free from power source for elegant serving. Safe “Lid Lock” system for easy pouring. Heat resistant glass. Easy clean stainless steel filters. No exposed coils. Convenient “on-off” switch on cool-grip handle. Cord storage in base. Holds 8 cups.
  • Chef’s Choice Electric 679 Glass Kettle — Top of the line. Features a high quality glass and brushed metal design that hides the heating element beneath the base so it will never corrode. Cordless for easy lifting, pouring, and serving. With features like cool touch bottom and automatic shut-off and boil-dry protection, you’ll get years of safe use and great service. Holds 1.7 liters.
  • Electric Kettle TJK-100 by Toastess — Auto boil & off switch automatically shuts off when water starts boiling. Concealed element resists scale and mineral build-up. Has a removable Aquascreen filter, a lid that snaps tight into place for safe use, an indicator light, two easy-to-read water level windows for left or right-handed use, and an easy grip stay cool handle. Holds 1.5 liters.
  • Hamilton Beach Electric Kettle – 40870 — A great new stainless steel cordless electric kettle by Hamilton Beach. Cord free serving, water level indicator window, a concealed heating element, stainless steel body, auto shut off, boil dry protection, drip free spout, power indicator light. Boils up to 10 cups of water at a time!
  • Black & Decker Cordless Electric Kettle – Stainless Steel — A multi-featured kettle with Boil/Dry Protection (unit automatically shuts off after boiling or when water reaches a low level), Superior Performance (concealed heating element boils water quickly and prevents corrosion), Cordless (smart design goes from the counter to table for easy serving), Easy to Use (ergonomic handle stays cool-to-touch for a comfortable, easy grip, and water level window conveniently shows how much water is left in the kettle), Removable Anti-scale Filter (reduces mineral deposits and is easy to clean). Holds 1.7 liters.

No matter which you choose, it looks like these kettles will not be able to pull any foolery on you!

See also:
Electric Kettles by Lainie Petersen
Does a Watched Tea Kettle Really Boil? by A.C. Cargill
Novelty Tea Kettles by William I. Lengeman III
Tea Kettles Galore, Part I by A.C. Cargill
Tea Kettles Galore, Part II by A.C. Cargill

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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