When talking about brewing coffee, some of the first things that come to mind are the coffee itself, the dripper or implement we brew it in, and the grinder. But what about the silent hero — the kettle, that makes the brewing process even possible?
The kettle, while humble in its origin, has come a really long way with its technology; and having a kettle that pours well is crucial when it comes to making pour over coffee.
We’ve waxed poetic before about why gooseneck kettles are the best thing ever, and to recap as to why they’re so important, they allow for precise and even pours which equals an even extraction (read here how to fix a not so great extraction), which equals tasty coffee.
Also if you’ve previously tried to make a pour over with a tea kettle, you know it’s a comedy of errors at best, and the resulting coffee? Not the greatest.
So read on if you’re on the hunt for a new kettle as we’re breaking down the two main types today and diving a little deeper into our current lineup.
Stovetop vs. electric
While we love electric kettles for the ease of use, we know that counter space in some households can be a premium. Stovetop kettles are lighter in weight and less bulky compared to their electric counterparts, and can be easily tucked away in a cupboard or shelf after use. And if you’re keen on taking your coffee into the wild, our first recommendation would be taking something like the Hario V60 Drip Kettle AIR with you, but we’ve also been known to take our Hario Buono Kettle out into the backcountry or while scaling a mountaintop.
But if you do have the counterspace, like convenience, and want to be able to have hot water in a flash, electric kettles may be the way to go. The electric kettles we carry allow for temperature control and can hold your desired temp for up to 60 minutes. This is important not only for brewing coffee (read this if you want the basics on why water temp matters), but also for tea as some delicate blends require a lower water temp in order for its flavours to really shine.
Did we mention electric kettles are fast? If you’ve switched over from a larger stovetop tea kettle to an electric kettle, you’ll be blown away by how fast the water heats up! It’s one of those little pleasures in life that makes mornings easier that we truly enjoy.
Pros of stovetop kettle:
- Easier to put away
- Light weight and easier to take on the go
Cons of stovetop kettle:
- Not as precise as electric (unless using a thermometer)
- Water temperature can’t be held
Pros of electric kettles:
- Precise temperature control with ability to hold temperature
- Convenient and easy to use
Cons of electric kettles:
- Needs dedicated counterspace
- More expensive than stovetop
We use electric kettles in the shop as it allows us to hold water at a certain temp so it’s always ready for pour overs on the fly, and we thought it prudent to speak to the two electric kettles we carry in the shop: the Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle and the Brewista Artisan – Gooseneck Kettle.
We’ll start off by saying that both of these kettles are amazing and they do what they need to do: boil water to a precise temperature quickly, hold said temperature, and pour well out of their gooseneck spouts. Where the differences lie between these two are the flow rates.
The Fellow kettle pours at a slower rate than the Brewista which allows for gentle pours whereas the Brewista’s faster flow rate allows for more aggressive pours that can agitate coffee at a higher rate (click here to read about pour technique). While the Brewista can do slow and gentle pours (albiet not as slow as the Fellow), the learning curve is much steeper and this kettle takes a bit more technique and practice in order to get those molasses slow pours right every time. But we’d say out of the two kettles, the Brewista has more dynamic range to allow you to play with your pour technique.
Either way, these two electric kettle options are both solid and we’re happily using them in the shop and our homes on a daily basis!