Of all the tea utensils, the tea kettle is perhaps the most common. Almost every household has a tea kettle, even if they don’t drink tea. After all, a tea kettle is just for boiling water, and that water can be used for coffee, tea, or soup.
Tea lovers, however, can appreciate a good tea kettle more than most. They can be objects of esthetic beauty and can add an extra level of enjoyment when brewing a cup of tea.
There are two basic types of tea kettles – electric or stove top. They may have lids which are removed for filling, or lidless, in which case they are filled through the spout.
Some tea kettles have whistle that sound when the water starts to boil. This is a handy feature for those who tend to forget they’ve put the kettle on.
Tea kettles can be made in a variety of materials including copper, stainless steel, glass, ceramic, cast iron, and enameled steel. There is no “best” material for tea kettles – whichever style the owner likes is fine.
Copper kettles, however, hold a special place in many people’s hearts. They have a traditional look that reminds us of bygone years, and copper is a highly conductive metal, meaning that the water will heat up faster in a copper tea kettle.
Some electric tea kettles have a function that keeps the water at a slow boil. This prevents the water from boiling away too fast if the kettle is not turned off immediately. It should be noted, however, that water that has been boiled too long may have a flat taste, since much of the oxygen will dissipate.
Boiling Water for Tea
Tea is best made with good water. Spring water is ideal, but many people don’t have access to it. Some tea lovers buy bottled spring water especially for making their tea.
Allow the water to come close to a boil, but don’t let it boil too long. As mentioned above, this will release the oxygen and make the water (and tea) taste flat.
If you have a transparent tea kettle, try taking the water off the heat just as the big bubbles are forming. This will happen when the water is about 95 degrees Celsius.
The best water temperature for making tea varies on the type of tea. Black tea can be made with boiling or near boiling water, while oolong tea should be made with water below the boiling point. Green tea can be made with water which is even cooler. Take the tea kettle off the stove when the water is about 75 degrees Celsius.
A variable tea kettle is ideal for making various types of tea. The green tea kettle shown above allows you to set the desired temperature so you always have the ideal water temperature for making tea.