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Jackie said

Electric Kettles

So I am relatively poor college student, but I desperately need a keetle that can heat water for tea faster than the one I have for my stove top. I have been looking at the UtiliTEA kettle from Adagio’s, I was wondering what the thoughts were on the product…any one have one? like it, love it, hate it? is there a better one out there for roughly the same price at $50 usd?

18 Replies
Cofftea said

I do not have one, but I’ve heard it works well. Whether you should buy it or not depends; however, on how you’ll use it. Do you care that you can’t get an exact temperature, or is just a general range fine? If just a general range is fine- go for it. If not, pay the extra for the variable temperature kettle by PINO and don’t bother spending any money on a product that isn’t what you really want. Here’s an existing thread that may give you some ideas.
http://steepster.com/discuss/264-variable-temperature-kettles

A cheaper way to get steeping parameters that are more precise would be to get a hot plate (or use a microwave) and a thermometer to measure the temperature
http://www.amazon.com/Component-Design-TT1-Digital-Thermometer/dp/B0021AEA8U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1269889929&sr=8-1
exactly. I have, and love, this one- it even doubles as a timer:)

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k_t_bug said

I almost hate to admit this, but I bought one at wal-mart for $28.00. I am very happy with it. I use it every morning. I forget what brand it is, but will check tonight and post.

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Doulton said

Mine is from Target. I know it was under $28.00. It does not have the variable temperature feature. I see that at amazon.com there are quite a few listed at reasonable prices and a couple under $15.00.

I love them. You’ll never go back to the stove-top for water again!

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I’ve had an Aroma kettle for a couple of years now, and been very happy with it. It’s not variable temp, but it’s very fast, and there’s no minimum water amount. It looks like Amazon has it for $30; with fancy tea thermometer/timers in the $20-25 range, you’d still be around $50 total, and I like knowing how hot the water in my pot or mug is, since it usually drops a few degrees just coming out of the kettle.

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Marie said

At work I use a $30 cute red Black & Decker electric tea kettle I purchased from Target. Works great! Brings the water to a rolling boil and then shuts off automatically. A great buy I thought. Have had it for a a year at least.

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Networld said

Must stress that you Must get an accurate thermometer for your water temps- don’t trust the kettle! Water temp can be really critical with certain tea types(I’m thinking green/white here)

Cofftea said

I agree w/ Networld- to a point. If you want to get a kettle that has precision (either to the degree, or specific settings), I’d test the settings w/ a thermometer the 1st time you use it just to make sure it’s accurate and then check every so often. I don’t think it’s necessary to use one every time if your kettle reads an exact temp though.

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Don’t ever EVER ever heat milk in your electric tea kettle. This is a bad thing.

Don’t ask how I know. Just trust me.

(sigh)

Cofftea said

If only you could… that’d make chai a heck of a lot easier!

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Marie said

@Networld I completely agree. I pretty much make water in my kettle for ONLY black teas – this is because I want the water to reach a rolling boil before it gets poured over the leaves. If you’re making any other tea that requires a strict temperature, you’re out of luck with the basic electric kettle. It depends on what kind of teas you mostly drink – if you’re going to spend the money on premium teas, you might as well go the distance with a high quality temperature-controlled kettle.

Will said

I use boiling or just off boiling water for almost all teas. But regardless, I don’t think there are any teas that require such a strict temperature that you need a thermometer or digital temperature control. Use your eyes, or run a little over your hand briefly. Even shrimp-eyes water should be, maybe, 185 degrees or less, so I think it should be pretty easy to tell by looking at the water and steam roughly how hot the water is.

Even if you do want to use sub-boiling water, you can bring the water to a boil, and then let the water cool to the right temperature. You can pour out into a porcelain pitcher if you want to speed the process up a little for more delicate teas.

If you want precise temperature control and don’t care about how the thing pours, just get an air pot (hot water dispenser).

Cofftea said

“I don’t think there are any teas that require such a strict temperature that you need a thermometer or digital temperature control.” is only one opinion. I find Japanese greens to be very touchy personally… in all steeping parameters, not just temp.

Will said

Of course, this is just my opinion, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t drink a lot of greens, Japanese or otherwise.

I’m not saying they’re not touchy to brew, but I think with some practice, you can (and should) brew them without using a thermometer. I’m an advocate of learning to use your senses to brew tea rather than scales, thermometers, and other gizmos. These have their purpose in certain limited applications, but I don’t like the idea of relying on them too much.

I’m inclined to agree with Will. Tea is (and should be, in my opinion) a simple pleasure, and that simplicity should extend into the preparation as well. I want it as easy as possible – a tea spoon to measure the tea, put into my smart tea brewing device (I love this thing), heat the water in my electric tea kettle and I simply eye it for the “proper” temperature. If there is a tea that is SO sensitive to the temperature that it can’t produce a good cuppa with my simplistic methods, it has no place in my kitchen.

Heck, I don’t even like getting out the chasen to whisk my matcha – that’s why I only enjoy it occasionally! Simple = Best

Cofftea said

Will, I like that idea in theory- I just don’t have that capability. lol:) I spend good money on my tea and I want to make sure I get a good cuppa every time. A method gives me that. To me winging it is actually complicating things… following steps (i.e. the tea directions or recipe if you will) is pretty mindless: read (or recall from memory) and do. I can follow directions in my sleep, winging it requires brain function lol. That being said, sometimes if I’m really out of it, I won’t go for something complicated like traditional chai (well as traditional as I can make it), but if I’m craving something bad enough- ease is not factored in the slightest. It’s funny that the “easiest” tea to steep (other than matcha, but that isn’t a steeped and decanted tea anyway) is just not my cuppa. (non chai blacks.) Every tea drinker’s tastes are different so it should be no surprise that every tea drinker’s philosphy on how to prepare it are just as different :)

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Rabs said

I own the utiliTea and so far (it’s been about a month) I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s my first electric and I’m amazed how fast it heats the water.

It’s acted funny once when boiling up to the black tea range – it didn’t shut off (or maybe I just thought that it was boiling too long). In some of the reviews I’ve seen people complain that it doesn’t have any sort of signal that it’s done. That’s a plus for me since an electric beep would annoy me – instead it makes a tiny little “ting” when the lever switches off (and the light goes off and the sound it makes ceases as well).

Someone on Steepster said in a tasting note that they used a thermometer to check the accuracy of the utiliTea and the hotter levels could be as much as 20 degrees off from one boil to the next. So I agree with Cofftea that it all depends on how accurate you want the water temp. Since I’ve fallen in love with several oolongs and would like more accuracy I’ll most likely next invest in the other kettle Cofftea mentioned: http://www.amazon.com/PINO-ST-8706-Digital-Kettle-Pro/dp/B001HC54O2/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_i

Let me know if you have any other questions regarding my kettle! :)

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Will said

I’m a fan of bare-bones Chinese-style metal electric kettles; I use one of these at work. But at home, I just use an electric or gas hot plate with a standard kettle, usually a glass or stoneware one.

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