The Goal: Find a stylish electric kettle that heats water to the precise temperature for pour-over coffee, steeped tea, and the occasional Cup Noodles. Master tea blenders and frequent kettle users guided us toward stainless-steel and copper options that boil quickly and retain heat.
The Verdict: While most electric kettles have wide mouths that pour out like a faucet, the Stagg EKG — released in November by the start-up Fellow — has a thin gooseneck spout allowing for the definitive pour. An elegant matte-black cover encases the stainless-steel body, which sits on a low-profile base, where there’s a scroll to set the temperature at an exact heating point (about 180 degrees Fahrenheit for green tea, and 200 degrees Fahrenheit for coffee). The kettle holds water at your temperature of choice for up to an hour, and a built-in stopwatch counts the extraction or steep time. And there’s an Easter egg: Take the kettle off of the base, toggle its switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit, and a retro-looking game called Wormy will pop up to play as you brew.
The people over at In Pursuit of Tea, New York’s premier tea-sourcing company, prefer this stainless-steel Bonavita model without all of the temperature-control bells and whistles. It still has a metal body, a perfect-for-pouring gooseneck spout, and an electric base, but no extra components that might get faulty and imprecise after a year or two. It’s also over $100 cheaper.
For a stylish, but not electric, kettle, the Japanese company Hario makes this gorgeous Buono. The great thing about it is that copper is an excellent conductor of heat, so even though it’s not electric, your water will get very hot very quickly.
Hario also makes an electric kettle in that signature beehive shape, if you prefer.
Billy Peele, the general manager and acting tea sommelier at Eleven Madison Park, stands behind this All-Clad. “This guy is super durable and reliable, and a great everyday kettle that’ll look great on any burner,” he says.”
Peele also recommends this high-tech Zojirushi kettle (yes, the same brand behind our favorite water bottle). It has multiple heat settings, so much like with the Stagg, you can set it to the precise temperature for green tea, black tea, or pour-over coffee.
This Internet of Things–connected kettle has a phone app so that you can schedule your water to start heating up when you’re almost home from work or as you wake up in the morning.
The Sage was developed by the British, science-focused chef Heston Blumenthal and came to our attention through Sebastian Michaelis, the master tea blender at Tetley. It brews the tea in the kettle itself, that little basket you see above holds your tea leaves and descends or ascends automatically from the water. It has variable temperatures and preset programs for different types of tea, so if you’re an eager beginner, but don’t know the proper heating point for oolong, the Sage has got you covered. Right now, it’s only available in the U.K., but there are a few on Amazon that’ll ship to the U.S. if you’re willing to fork over nearly $700 for it.
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*A version of this article appears in the December 25, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.