When it comes to tea kettles, people often feel passionately about their selection. Some people honor the long tradition of heating their water on the stovetop. Others have gravitated to electric kettles and would not give up the conveniences offered by those machines. Becoming comfortable with the features and options currently available is a valuable exercise for all tea vendors and consumers.
With stovetop kettles, the biggest concern for most purchasers will be the material of which it is made. Some of this decision is cosmetic. What will look best in their kitchens? Some of the choice, though, is performance. Do they want water to heat quickly or would they rather something slower to heat, but that will retain warmth for a longer period of time?
La Creuset’s enamel on steel kettles have maintained their popularity for their performance, elegant style, and bright colors. Interest in copper has continued to grow and companies like Chantal and Simplex offer a range of styles. Simplex offers a version with an internal coil that is specially designed for gas ranges that heats water more quickly. Staub created a unique round cast-iron kettle that is intended to hold heat for long periods of time and to look as beautiful on the table as on the stove.
Electric kettles are available from nearly all teaware vendors these days. Customers most
frequently want a cordless kettle that allows for several temperature settings, a “stay-warm” option, automatic shut-off to prevent boiling dry, and a handle that stays cool. These kettles are most popular in stainless steel and glass. Some companies, such as Breville and Krups, offer kettles that also have infuser baskets for steeping tea. The Breville One-Touch Tea Maker is still the favorite among many tea drinkers for its automated tea steeping design, while Zojirushi maintains devotees for its water boiling and warming systems.