Saturday, October 16, 2010

When it comes to kettles, I've gone electric

I have retired my tea kettle.

My acoustic one, anyway. I've gone electric.

I'd grown weary of the stove top, particularly since I recently packed my tea cabinet with some good oolongs. The gas fire boils the water just fine, but how to reach 190 degrees? I tried it from both sides. I stuck a thermometer in the kettle's whistle-hole, and watched and watched and ... doh! I always got distracted and missed the 190 mark. Or I'd bring it to full boil, then use an iPhone app to time the cool-down. But those are always estimates, never precise.

So after reading this story in Wired a couple of months ago, I went fishing for electric kettles. Wired tested four and picked the Cuisinart PerfecTemp Cordless Programmable Kettle. After my own research, their decision sounded great. I pounced. And it's awesome.

The Cuisinart kettle is magnificent for all these reasons:
  • It's blazing fast. I've had to alter my whole teatime prep schedule around it, since I'm used to waiting and waiting for the stove.
  • It brings water to six preset temperatures: 160 (delicate), 175 (green), 185 (white), 190 (oolong), 200 (french press) and boiling (black). It seems to be remarkably accurate.
  • It holds the selected temperature for 30 minutes. This is a dream. It keeps the water hot while you do other things. Also, if you're hosting a tasting, you can move quickly from tea to tea without waiting so long for the kettle.
  • Super simple to use, with illuminated buttons and an illuminated window for measuring water amount.
  • And it's not bad looking on the countertop. Nicely designed.

Wired noted one drawback: "Tough to get your hand inside for a good scrubbing." The lid is prohibitive. But, using filtered water, I haven't had much to worry about yet.

And, of course, I do miss the music. But I can whistle my own tune.

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