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Last Updated on December 23, 2022 by Scott
Tea is a popular drink enjoyed by many people all over the world. However, to make delicious teas you need to know how to use a tea kettle correctly. You could also be wondering whether you need a strainer in your kettle. This is because tea kettles are designed to boil water.
Whether you choose to put the strainer in the kettle rather than in the teapot will depend on how you plan to use your tea kettle. In this article, we’ll tell you the most efficient way of using your tea kettle, how to clean it, and the different types of kettle available.
How to Use a Tea Kettle
Most tea enthusiasts like preparing a teacup using their kettle. However, a tea kettle is designed to heat water and not to brew tea. Using your kettle will make cleaning it difficult. Tea tends to create a residue that builds up if not removed after every use.
If you are using a whistling tea kettle, the residue can clog the whistle. Because of this, it’s advisable to heat water in a tea kettle. Do this before pouring it in a cup or a teapot over your tea leaves. Using a whistling kettle is a good choice as it will alert you when your water is ready. You won’t have to keep monitoring it.
This will allow your loose tea leaves to steep well. It also makes it easy to clean your kettle. While pouring the hot water over your tea leaves, it ensures balanced aeration to release strong flavors of your tea.
That said, most kettles have a strainer. This offers tea drinkers the convenience of boiling their water and brewing their tea using the same kettle. A tea kettle with a strainer is ideal if you intend to put your tea leaves in the kettle after the water has boiled to allow them to steep.
A good whistling kettle that can be used as a teapot should be equipped with a built-in infuser. This prevents the tiniest tea leaf particles from entering your teacup. It’s advisable to get a kettle with a strainer than shopping for one separately. They are supposed to work together. After you’ve bought your new tea kettle, use it correctly to ensure it lasts for an extended period.
How to Use a Kettle on the Stove
If this is your first time to prepare a cup of tea using a stove, here are the steps to help you:
- Fill your tea kettle with filtered water as it does not contain the minerals present in tap water. Avoid heating water in a kettle that is half full because it can melt, burn, or overheat.
- Put your kettle on the stove, then turn the stove on. In case you’re using an electric tea kettle, plug it in, and turn on the kettle.
- Bring your water to the right temperature. When the water is ready, the kettle will signal you (if using a whistling kettle) to remove it from the stove. Whistling kettles are a perfect choice for people who multitask a lot or tend to forget easily.
- Use a potholder if the kettle handle lacks a heat-resistant covering to avoid burning your fingers. Remember to turn off the stove. An electric tea kettle will automatically shut-off.
- When you start pouring the water over your tea leaves, ensure your face and hands are away from the sprout to prevent getting burns from the steam.
- Steep your tea according to the instructions given on the tea package.
- Add a sweetener or enjoy it plain.
- Bonus: Learn about using a cast iron tea kettle on the stove
Whistling Tea Kettles
The whistling kettle is a household staple as it alerts you after your water has boiled. These types of kettles are perfect for busy tea drinkers. Unlike electric kettles that will make you forget about your boiling water, you won’t miss out on your tea break with a whistling kettle.
Moreover, the whistle itself is also a safety feature. It ensures you don’t boil your kettle dry. This is dangerous because it can damage the finish of certain metals. The whistle occurs when the small device that is fitted in the kettles produces a high-pitched sound immediately after the steam escapes from the spout.
Do All Tea Kettles Whistle?
Well, not all tea kettles whistle. Whistling kettles have a built-in device located on the spout. The device produces the whistling sound when steam from the boiling water blows through it as it tries to find a way of escaping.
The only way the steam can escape is through the spout especially if the lid is tight with the whistling device attached.
Tips for Boiling Water Using a Kettle
- Fill your kettle with the correct amount of water. Remember you can save electricity and time if you heat water below the boiling point.
- Keep an eye on your kettle as your water boils. Avoid boiling it more than necessary to prevent the water from evaporating. If using an electric kettle, it will turn off automatically after your water boils.
- Take your teapot and pour the hot water in it over your tea leaves.
- Use your tea strainer while pouring tea to prevent broken leaves from getting into your teacup.
- Add milk or sugar or any other sweetener of your choice before drinking your tea.
Pouring from the Stovetop
Some people find pouring a kettle of boiling water intimidating. This is due to the risk of sustaining injuries. For this reason, you should be careful when pouring hot water over your leaves. When removing your tea kettle from the stove, be sure to use a potholder especially if your kettle is not equipped with a stay-cool handle. Handles can become too hot to touch.
Ensure you pour the boiled water into your cup of tea away from your hands and face to avoid getting burns from the steam. Also, if you’re concerned about the water splattering, pour the hot water into your cup at a lower angle. Pouring at a high angle is dangerous because it can cause splattering and result in burns.
How to Use an Electric Tea Kettle
- Fill your kettle halfway full with water as overfilling or underfilling it can damage it. Also, ensure the water isn’t above the fill line. Boiling more water can affect the performance of your kettle. It will have to work for a longer period and extra hard to heat water.
- If your kettle has a temperature setting, make use of the feature to set the temperature you want before turning on your kettle.
- Plug your kettle into a power socket then turn it on. Avoid turning on an empty kettle because it can decrease its lifespan. It could also damage the heating element. This helps avoid accidents while protecting the heating element.
- Wait for some minutes, usually two to four minutes, before your water boils. Once your water is ready, the kettle will automatically switch off.
- Unplug the kettle from the power socket.
- Handle your kettle with care while pouring hot water to avoid burning yourself.
How Electric Tea Kettles Work
Tea kettles are equipped with a heating element (metal coil) that is built into the base. Electric current travels through the base immediately after plugging in the kettle and begins to warm the heating element.
The heat is then transferred into the cold water to bring it to a boiling point. The inbuilt thermostat turns off the kettle automatically after the water has reached its boiling point. Here is a breakdown of how kettles work:
- When you switch on your kettle, electric current travels through the metal coil.
- The coil is equipped with an electrical resistance that converts electrical energy into heat while passing through the coil.
- The heat warms the water inside the kettle to bring it to a boiling point.
- The built-in thermostat prompts the kettle to turn off after it has reached the correct temperature.
Should You Use a Traditional Tea Kettle or an Electric One?
Stove kettles are a traditional way of preparing tea and functions well in various conditions. On the other hand, electrical kettles are portable, work quickly, and are convenient. We’ll highlight the benefits of using both.
Stove kettles can heat water above the boiling point. They can enable you to extract strong flavors of your tea leaves after steeping your tea. These kettles can be placed on electric stoves or gas. Here are the benefits of using stove kettles:
Bring Water to a Boiling Point
- If your only requirement is the temperature of your water, then a stove kettle is the perfect option because it can heat water above the boiling point. That’s why most people like using the kettles for boiling water to steep their tea.
Works in Different Conditions
- Electrical kettles only work after being plugged into a power socket and rely on electricity. They can’t work during your outdoor events like picnics or power cuts. A stove kettle is not limited to such conditions as you can place it on a campfire.
- Electric kettles also come in a range of beautiful colors and designs however stove kettles have more when it comes to color, shapes, and designs. You can even select one that matches your kitchen’s interior. Many designs of stove kettles are available and work well.
- Stove kettles are sold at an affordable price. This makes them ideal for people on a tight budget who may not have extra money to spend on electric kettles.
Although electric kettles use electricity, they’re more convenient compared to stove kettles. The kettles have several features that make them a favorite choice for many tea aficionados. Advantages of these kettles include:
Auto Shutoff System
Electric kettles have a built-in auto-shutoff system. This helps the kettle shut off after the water has reached the correct temperature. The system also saves energy and prevents the kettle from overheating. Stove top kettles whistle to notify you when water is ready. However, they can’t shut off automatically.
Temperature Control Feature
This feature makes electrical kettles smarter than their traditional counterparts. Heating water is not just enough. Some teas are very sensitive to high heat. Their taste and real flavor can be destroyed as a result of over boiling.
On the other hand, some beverages like coffee require water above the boiling point. With an electric kettle, you’ll get an accurate temperature control. You can boil water based on your required temperature and extract real flavors of tea or coffee.
Electric kettles take a few minutes to boil water before bringing it to a boiling point whereas stove kettles take long to heat water. Though stove kettles can heat water to higher temperatures, electric kettles boil water faster, saving time.
The heating element heats water quickly. However, it’s important to mention that electric kettles with higher wattages will warm water faster compared to kettles with lower wattages. A low wattage kettle may heat water slower than a stove kettle. However, an electric kettle will still be faster.
Stove kettles are less energy-efficient than electric kettles. The heating element beneath electric kettles heat water directly while ensuring no power is lost. With stove kettles, the flames surround the kettle while heating the water inside and the air around. This way, a lot of energy is wasted.
Safe to Use
With a stove kettle, the handle for pouring is at the top which tends to result in burns due to the steam that’s usually let out while pouring hot water. However, the handle for pouring in electric kettles is located at the side to ensure your hands are safe from any steam or heat.
Unlike their traditional counterparts, electric kettles do not rely on the stove that can only be found in the kitchen. The good thing about an electric kettle is that it can be used anywhere.
You only need a power socket to plug in your electric kettle. This makes them more portable and suitable for people with an electrical outlet.
The Difference Between a Teapot and a Tea Kettle
Not many people know the difference between a teapot and a tea kettle. It is easy to confuse them. They both have a lid and a spout and contain boiling water when making tea. However, confusing the two can badly impact your teapot and tea.
While preparing your cup of tea, you should have both the tea kettle and the teapot. You will need to use your kettle to boil your water and the teapot to pour the boiled water. The tea leaves should be placed in the teapot and not in the tea kettle. The tea pot is used for brewing tea. Additionally, the teapot should not be put on the stove.
Here are the differences between the two:
The most crucial factor to consider when looking for a teapot is the material used in the design and whether your intended use is to pour already steeped teas or to steep tea. Teapots have a lid and an opening where you can add your tea leaves and hot water.
They also have a spout you can use to serve the steeped tea. Some come with a built-in strainer. Currently, ceramic, porcelain, and glass designs are available on the market. They come in different sizes.
Tea kettles feature copper, aluminum and stainless steel designs that are efficient for heating water. The kettles also have a safe plastic grip or silicon for convenient use. They can help you make hot drinks like tea.
Besides, tea kettles are also equipped with removable lids to make cleaning a breeze. They have drip-free spouts to prevent spills. The kettles are easy to clean in the dishwasher or by hand. The good thing about the stain-resistant metals is that they do not affect the taste of your water.
Can You Put a Tea Kettle in the Microwave?
No, it is not the healthiest nor the tastiest way to prepare tea. Green tea prepared in the microwave will be stronger due to the high concentrations of catechins. It will be more astringent and bitter than when made as directed by the producers.
Most green tea drinkers may not like the taste as the addition of other flavors like apple, jasmine, or lemon may be required. It will also increase the caffeine content by 15% while the theanine compound will only increase by a small margin.
Therefore, if you want to get the most theanine, caffeine, and catechins out of your tea using the right way, re-steep your tea leaves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you boil other liquids in a stove kettle or an electric kettle?
A: No, you should only boil plain water in both stove kettles and electric kettles. No other liquids should be heated in either of these devices. That includes milk, teas of any kind, herb-infused waters, waters with essential oils, and more. None of these liquids belong in a kettle and adding them may prevent you from using the kettle again, because they could permanently affect the flavor of liquids boiled in there.
Q: Are plastic electric kettles safe?
A: Many more people are moving toward using non-plastic electric kettles, because of concerns about the plastic leaching chemicals into the water when it is heated repeatedly. Choose a kettle with a glass or metal barrel for safety and to avoid this risk.
Q: How do you clean electric and stove kettles?
A: Stove kettles are easy to clean. They can be submerged in water and cleaned like any other pot. Don’t use abrasive cleaners on your kettle unless the manufacturer says this is okay. Electric kettles are harder to clean because they can’t be submerged. You can rinse out the inside of the kettle or even scrub it with soap, but the outside must be wiped with a clean, damp cloth. Don’t put the whole kettle in water.
Q: Can electric kettles be repaired?
A: Although it depends on the fault, it isn’t usually economical to repair an electric kettle, as getting an expert to look at one could be very expensive. They aren’t designed to be taken apart and fixed.
In general, when an electric kettle breaks, it needs to be scrapped. This is quite frustrating, which is one reason that some people have reverted to using stove kettles. These don’t have any elements or switches, so there’s very little to break on them, and they should last almost indefinitely.
We hope you now know how to use a tea kettle correctly and are aware of the differences between a tea kettle and a teapot. Electric kettles and stove kettles are quite different items and knowing the differences between them will help you select the one that best suits your needs.
If you want to keep things simple, a stove kettle may be the best option, but it is less efficient than an electric one – so bear this in mind when making a decision. Get a kettle that suits you, use our tips for boiling water, and you will enjoy a delicious cup of tea anytime you want.
Scott is the founder of TeaMinded. He enjoys tasting and discovering teas from across the globe, with green teas and ceremonial matcha from Japan being among his favorites. He’s grateful to be immersed in the tea community, always learning and sharing along the journey.