A cup of coffee is 98% water. Yes, 98%. For all the focus on selecting the right beans, and dialing in the right ratio for your brew, your final product is still going to be almost exclusively H2O. So, it makes sense that a good cup of coffee involves not only using the purest water possible but also having control over how it’s heated and passed through your coffee bean grinds. Enter the electric kettle.
The best electric kettle will enable you to control multiple variables in the brewing process, says Seb Ventura, Head Educator at Devoción, with the most important feature being a gooseneck spout and temperature settings.
A gooseneck spout is meant to control the flow of water when you’re doing a pourover coffee at home. What you’re aiming to do is pour carefully in concentric circles, “so starting in the center and working your way outwards,” explains Ventura. “What that does is it saturates all of the coffee and extracts it evenly, so you get a smoother flavor.” Ideally, you’ll want this step to take 3-4 minutes. “That’s total extraction time,” Ventura continues, including the bloom—the initial pre-pour that allows the grinds to de-gas. De-gassing is the process that allows the carbon dioxide in the beans to escape so that you avoid trapping them in your brew, which can create an unpleasant sour taste.
If the pour-over is not your brewing method of choice (hello French Pressers and Aeropressers!), a gooseneck spout and flow control won’t be important features for your kettle so you can skip that in favor of a more traditional electric kettle with a spout. However, de-gassing is still recommended.
As for temperature, Ventura recommends brewing your coffee at 195 to 205ºF. Anything cooler or hotter may cause the coffee to under-extract, resulting in a less flavorful brew. “You want a kettle that’s easily programmable with precise temperature controls” Ventura explains. And it’s not just for heating the water, look for a hold function that will keep your water at a precise temperature should you be making multiple cups.
Ventura also notes that some kettles, like the Fellow Stagg EKG, have a counterbalance that “controls the water flow for you, so you can’t over pour it and you get a consistently good tasting cup of coffee.”
A final tip? Be sure not to leave water inside your $150 kettle overnight, “because that can produce limescale,” cautions Ventura. You can clean the inside of a kettle with vinegar, if need be, or even boil a slice of lemon inside.
Here are 11 electric kettles we recommend:
The Perfect Intro Kettle
You won’t find any bells or whistles on Bodum’s Melior kettle, but you will get a 750ml capacity, a gooseneck spout, and an ergonomically-designed handle to help control your pour. Unfortunately there’s no flow control or temperature hold but the real selling point here is that you’re getting the essentials of an electric kettle for $35.
The Electric Version Of A Barista Favorite
Hario’s stovetop Buono has been the standard in coffee shops for years now, and the electric version is virtually identical. It’s slightly larger than the Bodum at an 800ml capacity, and the ergonomic handle is made from a more durable plastic (as opposed to the Bodum’s cork handle). While it has a gooseneck spout, there’s no temperature control or hold settings. However, since it’s Hario, a trusted coffee brand, you’ll have the peace of mind that it’ll stand up to use and last a long time.
Perfect For Multiple Cups
At nearly 1700ml capacity, the Bonavita is one of the larger kettles on this list. “It’s good if you want to brew a 6-cup Chemex or a French press,” says Ventura. It doesn’t have an ergonomic handle for ease of pour, but does have a gooseneck as well as a manual temperature setting with a hold feature up to one hour. As Bonavita is a brand widely used by coffee professionals, this kettle has a pour count timer to help you with your brewing process.
If You’re Tight on Space
Brim’s kettle includes a gooseneck spout and a wooden, ergonomic handle. The temperature control setting has 6 presets, a manual setting, as well as a hold feature for up to an hour. The base may be a bit bulky, but the 760ml kettle is slim. If you have a smaller kitchen space (or even a crowded one), this may be the perfect kettle.
Low-Key, Yet Solid
There are no built-in temperature presets on OXO’s kettle, but there is a 30-minute hold feature and a timer to help with your pour. The 1 liter kettle has a gooseneck spout and an ergonomic handle to keep things balanced. The OXO may not be the flashiest, but it’s a solid electric kettle, even before we get to the under-$100 price tag.
A Japanese-Style Electric Kettle
Otto’s 500ml stainless steel, Japanese-style kettle has 3 preset temperatures in addition to its manual setting. The kettle has an ergonomic handle and a classic design, making it as much a product of form as function. The kettle is rather small, and note that the temperature only displays in Celsius, not Fahrenheit.
For French Pressers
The Breville doesn’t have a gooseneck spout, so pour control is minimal. But that’s not much of a problem if you use a French Press or an Aeropress to brew your coffee. The Breville does have a 20-minute hold setting and 5 present temperatures, though no manual setting.
The Colorful, Retro Option
Just like the Breville, the SMEG does not have a gooseneck spout. However, the kettle has a 1.7 liter capacity, a limescale filter, and 7 temperature settings if no manual setting. What’s more, the SMEG’s design has stayed the same since the 1950s, meaning some retro ‘Made In Italy’-cool for your kitchen counter.
The Barista's Choice
The Stagg has everything you’d want in an electric kettle: a gooseneck spout with a flow control, 900ml capacity, a counterbalanced, ergonomic handle, temperature control settings, an hour-hold feature, all in a sleek, minimalist design. If you’re serious about your coffee and want an equally serious kettle, this one’s for you.
All The Features At A Fraction Of The Price
If you want the capabilities of the Fellow Stagg but at a fraction of the price, the Moosoo is a good choice. It has 6 preset temperatures, a manual setting, an hour-hold feature, an ergonomic handle, gooseneck spout, and an 800ml capacity. The stainless steel kettle itself has a comparable design to the Fellow, but the base is bulkier. The kicker here is that the Moosoo is less than a third of the Fellow’s price.
The Spend-Thrift Coffee Pro
Like the Moosoo, the Miroco is another of the Fellow Stagg copycats, except that it has a 900ml capacity which matches the Stagg’s. It also has the same ergonomic handle and gooseneck spout, as well as the 60-minute temperature hold, but doesn’t have any preset temperature settings. You’ll also find an LED display and a timer to help with the brew process.
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