What the best tea
- Heats water quickly. No
matter what your tea preferences, nobody likes sitting around waiting for water
to boil. The faster and more reliably your kettle gets the water hot, the
- Allows you to fine-tune the
temperature settings. A rolling boil will give you
good results when you brew black tea, but for more delicate teas lower
temperatures give better results. The best electric kettles or automatic tea
brewers let you easily tweak the temperature settings to match the type of tea
- Signals when the water is hot. Stovetop
kettles usually whistle to let you know the water has reached a boil; however,
some do not and you have to keep a close eye on the process. An electric kettle
should also signal you when the water's
ready, whether it's with a beep or a
- Shuts off automatically. Stovetop
tea kettles can't do this, but most
electric kettles can. This features reduces fire hazard and the risk of damage
to the appliance by shutting down automatically once the water reaches the
designated temperature or if the kettle overheats or is in danger of boiling
- Stays cool. Single-wall
kettles can get scorching hot, and even double-wall kettles will get warm to
the touch on the outside. But on the best kettles, the handle still stays cool
enough to touch, even while the contents are at a rolling boil.
- Pours easily. A
good tea kettle should feel stable and well-balanced steady in your hand, with
a sturdy handle and a pour spout that easily controls the flow of water.
Kettles used for pour-over coffee should have a spout with a high level of
control for optimal flow.
- Resists rust. The
most common complaint we found about tea kettles is that they rusted, or had to
be emptied and wiped dry after every use to avoid rust. This may not be
avoidable, but some tea kettles are better at staving off rust than others.
- Sturdy construction. Look
for sturdy-feeling kettles with stout construction around the seams and weld
points, or tea kettles with a solid, one-piece construction that don't have seams to fail in the first
place. This ensures that the kettle won't
burst or leak, letting water flow out of the places where multiple pieces join.
- Has a large lid/top opening. This
makes it easier to clean and dry the inside. Ideally, you should be able to
easily fit your hand inside to clean in the nooks and crannies and to
thoroughly dry it to keep the interior from rusting or taking on a stale or "off" taste.
Know before you go
How many people are
you brewing for? If you're
brewing tea for big groups, a large kettle comes in handy. But the more water
you use, the longer it takes to heat, so if you're
only heating water for one or two people, a small kettle often offers faster
boil times and, in the case of electric kettles, offers better temperature
accuracy than running a larger kettle only half-full.
What kind of tea
are you brewing? Water reaches a rolling boil at 212
degrees Fahrenheit, which also happens to be the perfect brewing temperature
for black tea. But correctly brewing more delicate types of tea -- especially
green tea -- requires lower water temperatures. There's more to this than tea "etiquette;" brewing delicate teas in in too-hot
water can create a bitter taste. If you frequently brew green and white teas,
investing in an electric kettle with variable temperature control saves you the
bothersome process of first boiling water, then waiting for it to cool to the
Do you live in the
mountains? The higher your elevation, the lower
the temperature at which water boils. If you're
not careful, you could find yourself boiling a kettle dry and maybe damaging it
in the process. Variable-temperature kettles come in especially handy in this
situation because you can tweak them to account for not only tea type, but
elevation as well.