OK, it’s question time. Tell me, do you use a coffee pot or a tea kettle more often? If you answered a tea kettle, is it one you heat on the stove or an electric one? I’m a coffee drinker through and through, so before moving to France, my answer to that question was 100% a coffee pot. I’d brew up a fresh pot of coffee every morning and take my sweet, sweet time savoring every sip. Then I moved to France and was introduced to la bouilloire and oh, how I love it. Is the electric tea kettle the best kitchen invention ever? I’d argue oui. Let’s talk about them.
Let’s talk about electric tea kettles
Now for all of you non-Americans, you’re probably puzzled as to why I’d find an electric tea kettle interesting or even a subject of conversation. For many countries, they’re as commonplace in a kitchen as a microwave or wooden spoon, so I admit some of you reading might find this post odd. But let me point out that these are NOT commonplace in American kitchens! Really! I didn’t have an electric kettle growing up, and even now thinking about it, I don’t know anyone know who does in the USA.
I think they’re becoming more popular these days in the USA and people are catching on to their practicality (especially tea drinkers), but coffee pots are still more popular in American homes, as well as old school teapots that heat on the stove.
Anyway, back in the US, if I wanted to make tea, I’d boil water on the stove in a stovetop kettle or in a regular pot with a handle for cooking when I had a tiny kitchen in NYC and no teapot of any kind (the horror I know. English folks are probably horrified reading this).
That’s not to say that Americans don’t drink tea. We do, but I’d say coffee is more popular overall and tea drinking isn’t as popular as it is in the UK. Growing up, I think I’d heat up my teapot once or twice a year whenever I wanted a soothing cup of tea because I was sick or needed to heat up water for hot chocolate. It was a regular one that you heat up on the stove and would whistle when the water was boiling.
But these days, I use my electric kettle… and it’s not because I’ve turned into a tea fanatic. But I have taken a liking to tea. I use my bouilloire daily because I’m the only morning coffee drinker in the house and I make it by the cup in my little Melitta coffee filter cone. To get the water ready to pour over the coffee grinds, I first heat it up in, yup, you guessed it, my trusty electric kettle. I can have boiling water in less than a minute and voilà, my coffee about a minute later. Easy and convenient.
If you don’t know what an electric tea kettle is, it’s a handy kitchen appliance that boils water for you in a matter of minutes. It’s a plastic or stainless steel pitcher type of container that sits on a base, which gets plugged into the wall. Then all you have to do is fill it with water and press a button on the side of the kettle. A few moments later, you’ll have boiling water.
Some have special features like temperature buttons or an especially quiet electric kettle model. Some are fancy colors and look extra modern and sleek and some are more traditional in shape. The best electric tea kettle is the one that you’re going to actually use.
No matter where you live, I highly recommend using an electric tea kettle over a regular old teapot. These newfangled electric ones are absolutely awesome and only cost about 20 euros max. I say newfangled like it’s some major technological invention, but that’s how I felt when I arrived in France and started using one.
I think my mother-in-law thought I was nuts — non, c’est juste moi ! — and must have thought we were all neanderthals back in the US since for her, an electric kettle was completely normal. They are incredibly common in French kitchens and I was happy to discover all their uses.
Electric kettle uses
They’re not just for tea! Use them to heat up water for a variety of uses — drinks, soups, whatever. In my case, it’s what I use to boil water for my coffee, but they’re also great if you’re trying to boil water for pasta. The electric tea kettle heats up water much more quickly than waiting for your water to boil on the stove. Just heat it up in the kettle first, and when boiling, pour the water into the pot. It’s ready to go in half the time. That’s probably the main advantage and one of my favorite electric kettle uses. They’re fast!
Electric kettles also seem safer. They turn off a few seconds after the water boils so there’s no risk of an exploding kettle like the stovetop ones. Or an annoying whistle if you’re stuck doing something elsewhere in the house for a while. The handle doesn’t heat up like metal stovetop kettles sometimes do so you’re probably not going to burn yourself on an electric tea kettle. If you’re a little clumsy like me, this is all a win-win.
My favorite teas
Now let’st talk about tea for a minute. I am far from a tea expert, but the best way to learn about something is to try it. If you’re in need of some tea, head over to Adagio Teas for an excellent selection. They sent me some samples that I’m loving and I may just be a tea convert. Here are my favorites.
Matcha blueberry tea: This was my first time ever having matcha and I messed up my first bowl of it by putting too much matcha and not whisking it enough. Also, I had it on and empty stomach and I felt nauseous. When I prepared it correctly and added a little milk, it was delicious with my breakfast.
Honeybush pumpkin chai tea: My favorite flavor is pumpkin/cinnamon anything, so this tea is the automatic winner. It’s perfect for fall and decaf.
Chocolate chip tea: If you have a sweet tooth and don’t want the calories, sip a warm cup of this instead. The smell is to die for!
Finally, let’s talk about some dos and don’ts for your electric kettle:
Do remember to clean the inside of the kettle. It can get some sediment buildup around the heating mechanism that needs to be descaled regularly — especially if you have hard water. My pack of coffee filters comes with a good product for cleaning the kettle or just use regular water with white vinegar to do the trick.
Do pour carefully. I rarely fill the whole thing up but when I do, I make sure to take it easy and not spill water everywhere. Kids should not be using these things because it gets heavy.
Don’t leave the on button in the on position when it’s empty. Mine clicks off automatically but sometimes it stays on and you can burn out the mechanism inside if it’s on and there’s no water to heat up. Not speaking from experience or anything….
Do only use it to heat up water. You pour the water into your teacup and don’t put the tea into the kettle directly.
Do you use an electric tea kettle in France and do you love it as much as I do?
Some of the best electric tea kettle models I’ve come across: