Tea kettles: No longer only in Canada

electric-teakettlesWhen I started working in the test kitchen of Canadian Living magazine in the early nineties, I remember being surprised to learn that tea kettles, although common kitchen items in Canada, were relatively scarce is US kitchens. The rationale at the time was that Americans were more likely to drink coffee than tea so they didn’t give up counter space to an appliance they would use only rarely.

According to this poll and lengthy list of responses in popular New York City blog thekitchn, it looks like tea kettles are now popular on both sides of the border.

What about you? Do you plug in a kettle or put one on the stove top when you need a cuppa? And, are your current kettle habits new or rooted in long standing practice?

Edited to add:  I just saw this post on Not Martha which features a supremo kettle that has temperature settings for different kinds of hot drinks. So, if a kettle is on your shopping list, you might want to check this baby out!

16 Responses to Tea kettles: No longer only in Canada

  1. Sheryl says:

    I sat here for a minute or two going, “Buuuuttt, what do they heat the water for coffee in???” This is what happens when you use a French press for 20 years.

  2. danamccauley says:

    Ha! Yes, Sheryl, the French press is kinda special – just like you!

  3. Kathryn says:

    Kettles for sure. I have a small kettle (great for my four cup Melitta drip and small tea pot), and a larger kettle. I also inherited a beauty from my Mom: a chrome Russell-Hobbes.

  4. Rosa says:

    I heat water on the stove (in a pan) and drink tea on a regular basis (everyday).



  5. I’ve never lived without a kettle. I just assumed they were part of a kitchen — like a sink or a stove.

    When our last kettle died I replaced it with an inexpensive one from PC grabbed from the shelf without much thought. When I got it home, I found it had a temperature gauge. Turns out this is very handy for making green tea, which will taste bitter if you use boiling water.


  6. adrian says:

    I agree with Charmaine – a kitchen without a kettle is unthinkable. Mine has a window in the sides for measuring the water, but it’s also useful for making tea – I watch for the first bubbles to form, then turn it off. At that point, it’s just the right temperature for green tea and all the free oxygen hasn’t been boiled off. A temperature gauge sounds like a good idea, but the window does the job too.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Until fairly recently, most American tea-drinkers I knew heated the water in the microwave. But with more of us learning about tea and enjoying the ritual, I’m seeing more kettles popping up in homes and offices. It also helps that the kettles come in more fashionable designs now.

    I have a stovetop kettle, but it’s been a recent change.

  8. Elra says:

    Nope, I do the old fashion way. Boil water on top of the stove, love to hear that wistle noise when the water start to boil.

  9. Rebecca, you should NEVER heat water in a microwave. It can explode in your face. This is not an urban legend.

    Snopes says it’s rare, but I had a measuring cup of water bubble up unexpectedly and burn my hand once. Since then I heat water in a kettle, even if it takes more time.

  10. Diva says:

    Being of Irish extraction, a tea kettle has been part of my life for my whole life. I prefer the stove top kettle … with a whistle so I don’t forget it! … at home, but have an electric one in the office. I’m also really fond of my Joyce Chen teapot … its gorgeous and brews a beautiful pot of tea.

  11. Cheryl says:

    I use a Chantal stove top kettle but secretly wish I had the cabinet space to justify an old fashioned teapot. I have a fantasy that if I just took more time in the morning to pour myself a proper cup of tea from a proper teapot, and savor it for a good 20 minutes, that I’d morph into a completely zenlike person instead of the high-strung, stress-exuding individual I somewhat sheepishly call me.

  12. Low tech but jealous: I have a stove top teapot, but I usually wind up using a pan. I’m jealous of those electric plug in jobbies, but dont’ have enough counter real estate to justify it. :–(

  13. Martin Kouprie says:

    I have more than twenty-five loose-leaf teas available on our menu (such as the hand rolled green needle teas and our Ceylon white teas) and peoples interest in them has never been greater. We have two water towers set at different temperatures 170 F for our green and white teas, 190 F for our black teas. Temperature control is vital to the outcome of a well brewed pot. Water above 200 F is lethal to the greens and it releases its liqueur too quickly and leaves a bitter finish. I’ve had a love for tea Oolong time!

  14. Kevin says:

    I have a hot water dispenser that allows me to have green tea at the perfect temperature whenever I like.

  15. Cheryl A says:

    I do not drink coffee, but Hubby does. So the kettle and the coffee maker vie for the limited space we have. I used to have a stove top one, but that space is more valuable most of the time. With two little ones I need my Murchies first thing in the morning.

  16. Heather says:

    I don’t drink tea much, or coffee for that matter. I love Hot Iced Tea though. We have aplug in kettle with an automatic shut off in case we forget it. We only have the kettle because it made life easier when our boys needed bottles.

    Charmain thanks for the info on microwaves and water…my home ec teacher always told us to keep a small container of water in the microwave in case someone turned it on “empty”, not that I do…there’s no space.

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