TYPES OF TEA KETTLES: THE ULTIMATE KETTLE BUYING GUIDE
Tea kettles are a time-honored kitchen essential designed to boil water for hot beverages, soups and more. They come in a variety of materials, colors and styles to suit your decor and your brewing style. Read on to discover the different types of tea kettles, including stovetop, electric kettles and gooseneck kettles and learn which one is best suited to your kitchen.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TEAPOT AND A TEA KETTLE?
The tea kettle is traditionally used to boil the water used in tea while the teapot is designed to steep tea leaves in the boiled water. Teapots generally don’t go on cooktops, and tea leaves usually don’t go in tea kettles. Boiling tea in your kettle can create a residue build up and it can clog the spout, making it more difficult to clean.
TYPES OF TEA KETTLES
There are three main types of tea kettles: electric, stovetop and gooseneck. Beyond that tea kettles come in many different materials and styles. From stainless steel to cast iron, colorful enamels, glass, copper, whistling and more – it’s not hard to find a tea kettle with the features and in the size that fits your needs.
ELECTRIC TEA KETTLES
What is an electric tea kettle? It’s a kettle you plug in, designed with a heating element embedded in a base that heats water more quickly than most types of traditional stovetop kettles.
Some models come with a “keep warm” feature that allows them to keep water warmer longer for a second cup. Other electric tea kettles turn off automatically when water reaches its boiling point. And some kettles come with multiple temperature settings and offer extra control over water temperature.
Electric tea kettles are a modern and quick way to heat water for your hot beverages. You don’t need a cooktop to use an electric tea kettle, just a power outlet, which makes this style of brewing somewhat portable and a good option for making hot drinks in an in-home coffee bar or even at the office.
KitchenAid offers a selection of sleek, electric tea kettles to streamline the brewing process and help produce the perfect cup of tea.
STOVETOP TEA KETTLES
Unlike electric tea kettles, stovetop kettles are heated directly on a cooktop burner, but some stovetop tea kettles can also be heated on a fire. As a general rule, stovetop kettles take longer to heat than electric tea kettles. A full stovetop kettle can sit on a burner for as much as 10–20 minutes before the water is boiled. Stovetop tea kettles have been around for centuries and to many, the stovetop brewing and whistling are a soothing and integral part of the tea drinking ritual.
GOOSENECK TEA KETTLES
If you’re someone who enjoys pour-over coffee, the gooseneck kettle, which is available in both stovetop and electric styles, can be an important tool in your kitchen arsenal. The elongated, narrow spout, named for the goose neck it resembles, gives you more control over water pouring and produces a balanced, well brewed beverage. Although these kettles are ideal for pour-over coffee, they work well for other beverages too.
Enjoy precision pouring with the KitchenAid® Precision Gooseneck Digital Kettle. It lets you select your desired brew temperature, customizable in 1-degree increments ranging from 140º-212ºF.
WHAT TYPES OF MATERIALS DO TEA KETTLES COME IN?
Electric, stovetop and gooseneck tea kettles all come in a wide range of materials, including stainless steel, ceramic, glass, copper and aluminum. Stovetop tea kettles are also available in heavy duty cast iron. Deciding between these different materials ultimately comes down to taste and how much you want to invest.
Aluminum tea kettles tend to be on the lighter side and they heat up quickly. They’re often a more affordable option, but they aren’t quite as strong as some of the other materials available so they may be more prone to denting. Copper can make a beautiful, classic statement on a kitchen cooktop but be prepared to spend a little more on one of these eye-catching kettles. Ceramic tea kettles are available in a wide range of colors to add a pop of personality to your brewing game and they often feature a stainless steel lining. And not only are cast iron tea kettles hardy and long lasting, they heat water quickly and tend to keep water warm longer.
This popular option tends to be light, durable, rust-resistant and it can add a sleek, polished look to your kitchen.
Available in a range of colors, these kettles provide the perfect opportunity to say something about your personal style.
Available in dishwasher safe options, these kettles add an elegant look to your kitchen. Plus, the clear view lets the brewer watch the water come to a boil. The durable 1.5 L Glass Tea Kettle from KitchenAid offers five specialty tea settings to preserve tea’s unique flavors and aromas.
These kettles are extremely durable and long wearing. Iron can give beverages an aftertaste which some purists actually believe enhances certain teas. This is a great option for heating evenly and retaining heat but they can rust if they’re not cleaned and cared for properly.
These kettles look beautiful on a cooktop and they’re good at heating evenly. Be prepared to polish regularly to deter tarnishing and keep in mind that they might require a little extra care to avoid denting.
This option is good at resisting stains and scratching and has the ability to heat up quickly. These kettles are lighter than other options and can be more prone to dents.
WHAT KETTLES CAN YOU USE ON DIFFERENT STOVETOPS?
Most stovetop tea kettles can be used successfully with gas or electric cooktops, however, induction cooktops require magnetic cookware to heat up. Due to their magnetic properties, stainless steel kettles are good options for induction cooktops. Cast iron has magnetic properties too, but it might scratch a glass cooktop surface. Glass electric cooktops work well with lighter materials like glass, stainless steel and aluminum. A gas cooktop’s heavy-duty grates can take on materials like cast iron, copper and ceramic.
Find a KitchenAid® cooktop for every stovetop tea kettle and start brewing your favorite beverages.
DO ALL TEA KETTLES WHISTLE?
Not all tea kettles whistle. Whistling kettles have a device built into the spout that whistles when steam tries to escape. Some electric kettles have an automatic shut off feature, or beep, to signal when water is ready for pouring.
The downside of a whistling stovetop kettle is that it only whistles when water is boiling. Because water loses oxygen when boiled, this can have an impact on the way some teas taste.
Electric kettles can be set to reach and hold a specific temperature – or turn off when your desired temperature is reached, to optimize the taste of different hot beverages. The 1.5 L Glass Tea Kettle from KitchenAid lets you achieve 5 specialty tea settings including 176º for your favorite green tea, 203º for black tea and 212º for a soothing herbal tea. The KitchenAid® Precision Gooseneck Digital Kettle also delivers a range of temperatures customizable in 1-degree increments.
HOW LONG SHOULD A KETTLE LAST?
Depending on the quality and how it’s treated, a stovetop tea kettle can last a long time.
Keeping your kettle clean is the key to helping ensure its longevity. Some stovetop kettles are dishwasher safe but other stovetop kettles and electric kettles require hand washing.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR TEA KETTLE
Fill your kettle with water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid, baking soda or vinegar. Use a dishcloth to scrub out the interior and to help loosen any deposit buildup and rinse thoroughly. If you have mineral deposits, descale by adding a white vinegar and water solution to your kettle overnight. Wash with a clean dishcloth the following morning. To help prevent deposit buildup and rust, don’t leave water in your kettle when it’s not in use.
Electric kettles shouldn’t be immersed in water. To clean the exterior, use a damp cloth. A clean, soft cloth should be used to dry and polish your kettle. Most manufacturers don’t recommend using abrasives or scouring agents of any kind. Some electric kettles, like the 1.25 L Electric Kettle from KitchenAid, have removable mesh filters to trap scale deposits for cleaner water. The filter should be cleaned periodically under hot water with a soft brush or cloth to help loosen deposits.
FIND THE BEST TEA KETTLE FOR YOUR KITCHEN TODAY
If your mornings are hectic and you’re often short on time, an electric tea kettle can provide the speed and efficiency you’re looking for. These kettles often come with temperature control features that allow you to brew different teas at the optimal temperature so you’ll be able to heat your water to a slightly cooler temperature for the perfect cup of green tea, or raise it a few degrees for a soothing oolong.
If the leisurely rhythm of bringing a kettle of water to boil is a desirable and even meditative part of your morning ritual, then stovetop kettles are the right choice for you. Narrow your choice by considering what size you need. If you like to boil multiple cups of tea at once, be sure and look for a larger kettle. If you like to multitask while you’re brewing, consider getting a tea kettle with a whistle that will break through the noise of the kitchen and let you know your hot water is ready. And, if you’re really concerned about making sure your kettle doesn’t boil dry, look for an option with an automatic shut off feature.
With so many innovative features, including ergonomic handles, beautiful finishes and built-in infusers available, you're sure to find the perfect kettle for your kitchen and cooking style. Shop KitchenAid® kettles to find the right kettle for you.
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