Pour-Over Coffee Kettles
For most brewing methods, you will need a kettle to heat the water. A kettle is a common thing in the kitchen, so you probably already have at least one. If so, your regular kettle will be sufficient for most of the methods described in this section, especially immersion ones.
But for pour-over methods where speed and control are important, such as the Chemex and the V60 funnel, consider purchasing a kettle with a long, thin, curved spout (sometimes referred to as slow flow and gooseneck kettle).
Let's look at the features of both an ordinary kettle and a special one.
Standard Coffee Kettle
Typical stovetop kettles can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 or more. They are usually made from the following metals:
- Aluminum kettles. These are usually the cheapest kettles, but they get dents easily and tarnish quickly.
- Copper kettles. They are visually striking, and copper is also an excellent conductor of heat. However, these kettles are not cheap, and due to the softness of the metal, they are highly susceptible to defects. Copper also tarnishes quickly, but it is easy to re-polish to a shine.
- Cast iron kettles. Cast iron kettles are usually enameled. Cast iron heats up evenly and retains heat very well. This kettle requires maintenance to prevent rusting, but if handled properly, it will last a very long time. Be sure you are okay with how much it weighs before purchasing one.
- Stainless steel kettles. This is an excellent, durable material. Kettles made with it are less prone to chips and dents and are easy to clean.
- Glass kettles. Kettles can also be made of glass.
Make sure not to choose a kettle based on appearance alone. We recommend that you pay attention to the following criteria:
Important Criteria for Choosing A Kettle
- How easy it is to pour water into the kettle. Many kettles have a handle that stretches across the opening, making it inconvenient to fill the kettle with water.
- How heat-resistant the kettle handle is. Make sure the handle is made of heat-insulating material.
- How much water it holds. Capacity can be an issue with a kettle with a narrow, long spout, but any model should hold as much water as the funnel you intend to use.
- How easy it is to pour water with it. This is more important for kettles with a narrow spout; however, with any kettle, you must ensure that the water can be poured evenly and easily. The problem with many standard models is that water starts trickling down the side of the kettle when you try to pour it slowly in a thin stream.
Kettles also differ in how fast they heat water, and in how long they are able to retain heat. No one wants to spend a lot of time waiting for the water to finally boil. If you are a really impatient person, perhaps you should consider an electric kettle.
Because pour-over brewing methods require a controlled, slow flow of water, a special kettle has been created that helps you control the flow of water when pouring.
The Gooseneck kettle reflects its appearance: Its spout is long, thin, and curved, like a gooseneck, and is usually attached at the close to the base of the body.
This spout allows for a slow, even, and continuous flow, and lets you direct the stream of water exactly where you want.
If you want to master pour-over brewing methods, then you should get just such a kettle.
Without it, it will be difficult for you to control the flow, because it is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve a slow and even stream from an ordinary kettle: the water either pours out too quickly, causing unnecessary stirring of the coffee, or pours too slowly, flowing down the side of the kettle.
Is it impossible to brew a pour-over coffee without such a kettle? Not at all. It's a matter of convenience.
In terms of cost, gooseneck kettles are quite comparable to conventional ones and range from about $50 to over $100 and more.
How to Choose a Gooseneck Kettle
When choosing a gooseneck kettle, the same considerations apply as when purchasing a regular kettle. However, there are a few important details to keep in mind:
- Size. Some of these kettles have a smaller capacity than conventional ones. On average, they hold between 33 and 40 fl oz (1-1.2 liters). In addition, some are not so easy to handle when filled to the brim, although because pour-over is usually used to prepare small portions of coffee, this doesn't often matter. Since the spout is attached to the very bottom of the kettle, boiling water can sometimes splash out. To avoid such a problem, you should remove it from the stove at the first sign of boiling water. But that brings us to the next point.
- No whistle. Most stove kettles have a whistle that tells you that the water is boiling and that prevents an empty kettle from heating up too much. Most teapots with a narrow spout do not have a whistle, so you have to pay more careful attention. Make sure to remove as soon as you can hear water boiling, as it's very harmful to let all the water boil away.
- Water flow control. Not all gooseneck kettles are the same; some control the pour much better than others. Many kettles can be equipped with flow-limiting nozzles. This can be a good alternative to buying a more expensive kettle.
The first electric kettles appeared at the end of the 19th century. They have a built-in heating element, so you don't need a stove. Modern electric kettles heat water almost instantly, turn off by themselves in order to avoid boiling over, and are able to maintain a certain temperature. They are very convenient.
Electric kettles come in both standard and goose-neck form.
Electric kettles are great because you can program them to maintain the desired temperature. This function is very useful since it is customary to brew pour-over coffee with slightly cooled water.
Choosing an Electric Kettle
When choosing an electric kettle, pay attention to the following:
- Minimum and maximum volume. Most electric kettles can heat a larger volume of water than standard stove models, and this will greatly help those who are going to brew large portions of coffee (especially if the kettle has a function to maintain the temperature). However, most also have a minimum volume of heated water—for example, the Melitta kettle has a 17 fl oz (0.5 l) minimum, which is too much for a standard serving of coffee.
- Limescale formation. In electric kettles, limescale builds up as they are used, which gradually reduces the performance of the appliance. To prevent this, the kettle needs proper care.
Just like a stovetop kettle, an electric kettle does not have to have a long, thin spout if you prefer immersion methods of brewing to pour-over methods.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important ingredients in good coffee is hot water. Without it, you will not be able to enjoy the full flavors or aromas of your coffee beans. With any of the kettle types presented, you can quickly heat water to the ideal temperature.
A gooseneck kettle is simply an indispensable item in the kitchen of a true coffee fan. The purchase of such a kettle is an important step towards making truly delicious pour-over coffee.