I was always scared of geese. My mom told me when I was young they can break a man’s arm. I wasn’t sure how a bird would use its wings or beak to break a human arm but 6-year-old wasn’t prepared to take chances.
That was then, and this is now. And I’ve become very fond of geese in a roundabout kind of way. Let me introduce the gooseneck kettle. A way of pouring boiling water onto coffee with high precision. You’ll see from this picture what an appropriate name that is.
It’s exceptionally useful for mastering your Pour Over brew but comes in handy in any method of making coffee. And it looks super cool, too.
Do I need a gooseneck kettle?
The main advantage of a gooseneck kettle (or coffee kettle or pour over kettle) is that it pours water in a thin and easily directable stream. As shown here.
They are intertwined with Pour Over coffee makers because it gives you excellent control of where your water goes, and hence how even your extraction is.
I’m a fan of great coffee and this helps you make great coffee. With that being said, it’s perfectly simple to not use one and make decent coffee.
Even if you’re not using a Pour Over, gooseneck kettles are just easier to work with, look beautiful and can come with features like super quick electric heating or temperature control.
And if you’re really serious about your coffee, that last one is important. How hot your water is is a big factor in how well your coffee extracts.
A lot will depend on what you use at present. If you’re pouring hot water straight from a wide brimmed pan then you need to take a hard look at yourself. Yes you do. Go to your mirror before you continue reading this article.
Here are the main advantages.
- Control of water flow. Important for Pour Over to control the evennes of the extraction. It’s also easier to follow recipes that call for 180g of water because you can finely increment the amount you put in and watch it go up on the scale. It helps you avoid a weak tasting brew when you accidentally spill half a pint into your french press.
- Convenience. Even simpler pours like Aeropress or French Press are made a little bit easier with one of these.
- Temperature control. If you’re looking to make really great coffee, then controlling all factors including temperature is a must. Not one for the beginner, but if you want to make the kind of coffee that makes you glad you’re alive every morning then this is an important piece of kit.
- Electric heating. Another one for convenience, but my is it convenient. You’d be amazed how fast these things boil. We’re talking 20-30 seconds of checking your Instagram and you’re good to go.
|Lautechco||Coffee Gator||Osaka Tokyo Tower||Bonavita BV382510V|
|Best Stovetop||Best Stovetop with Thermometer||Best Electric||Best Electric with Thermometer|
|Capacity||12oz (350ml)||1L (34oz) OR 1.2L (41oz)||1L (34oz) OR 1.5L (51oz)||1L (34oz)|
|Material||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
A few things you should know
Do I need an electric kettle?
If you’ve not ventured much outside of the USA, you’d be pretty surprised how popular electric kettles are. In the tea-drinking climes of the UK they’re as common in a kitchen as a refrigerator! Click the button and in a minute or two you’ll hear it click off and your water is boiled.
Electric kettles are convenient, but they are a luxury. If you just want something cheap that gets the job done then don’t bother. The Tautechco fits those criteria.
Do I need a thermometer?
If you want to make really GREAT coffee, you need to control things. Measures, times, temperatures. It’s a lot like chemistry.
If your water is too hot it will overextract resulting in bitter and burnt flavors. If your water is too cool then it will underextract resulting in weak and acidic flavors.
And there is no optimal temperature for every person or method. It’s why the SCAA certified coffee makers must produce water between 195degF and 205degF but the inventor of the Aeropress suggest a temperature as low as 175degF.
With a thermometer kettle, you can take the step to really perfecting your coffee. It’s not necessary for a beginner, although with the Coffee Gator coming in at such a low price it’s nice to keep that option open.
Spend my money on this or something else?
If you use Pour Over as your main way of making coffee then you should get one. It’ll make your life SO much easier. And the cheapest option is only $10-15.
Otherwise the answer is more complex. Your first priority should always be to get a decent automatic or hand grinder. That’s the biggest reason most people make bad coffee in their own homes. I would also recommend having more than one method available. If you use French Press, get a Pour Over you like. If you have Aeropress, try a Moka Pot.
If you’re getting to the point where you’re looking at coffee recipes and trying to nail your coffee. Then yes, you need one with a thermometer. The Bonavita is a fantastic kettle for those looking to nail the 182F temp with 87 second brew time and 1:13 coffee:water ratio that tastes like Zeus has personally come down from the heavens and blessed it.
Best Budget: Lautechco
Important note on this kettle before I start: you’ll need to boil your water somewhere else. These are not designed to be used on a stovetop. You heat your water, put your water in this kettle and then use it to pour.
With that out the way, this is a nice option. It’s very cheap, making it suitable for the occasional Pour Over drinker. Or just anyone who wants to get an inexpensive setup.
The Lautechco is a pretty black stainless steel kettle with a solid build quality. It’s smaller than you might think, only 12oz or 350ml but you can just fill it up again. It has a nice pour and looks pretty. If you’re not bothered about extra features then this ticks all the boxes. You’ll be mastering the art of the spiral pour in no time!
Best Stovetop Thermometer: Coffee Gator
|Capacity||1L (34oz) OR 1.2L (41oz)|
You may have heard of Coffee Gator. An up-and-coming brand in the coffee world who make a decent Pour Over device, among other things. And they’ve really hit it out the park with this one.
It’s a well made device and functions well. The Coffee Gator is easy to make sure you get a precise and reliable temperature each time. The temperature gauge is on the top it’s easy to read off a precise temperature that’s going to make you some kickass coffee.
It’s a stovetop kettle so you’ll need to watch the kettle as it nears your temperature to make sure you stop it at the right point. If you’re looking for something programmable that you can ‘set and forget’ then check out the more expensive Bonavita.
There are two options for capacity, 1 litre (about 34oz) and 1.2 litres (about 41oz). Coffee Gator recommends you only fill up to 60% to avoid overspilling. I think this is a suggestion made with extreme caution in mind, you’ll be fine filling it up all the way.
The greatest thing about this kettle is the tiny dent it takes out of your pocket for a kettle with temperature control. Throw in fantastic customer service and it gets a big thumbs up from me.
Best Electric: Osaka Tokyo Tower
|Capacity||1L (34oz) OR 1.5L (51oz)|
The Osaka is a pretty looking design and a nicely made kettle. The handle is sturdy and the whole production is good. Also the capacity of 1.5L is about as big as you’re going to get – that’s enough for four decent sized (12oz) coffees.
Its notable feature outside of the gooseneck pouring is electric heating. Click the switch and your water will be boiled. You can wander off and do your morning routine and come back with your coffee ready to be made!
It works out about the same price as the Coffee Gator thermometer kettle. So if this is your budget, you decide which feature is most important for you.
Best Electric with Thermometer: Bonavita BV382510V
The Bonavita is the most expensive option on this list and also the best. If you’re looking for something with everything you need in a kettle, get this. It’s ‘buy-it-for-life’ material and I’ll explain why.
As you can see in the photo, the kettle itself rests on an electric heating component that has buttons and an LED display. You manually set the temperature you want. With the Coffee Gator, the thermometer tells you what temperature your water has boiled to. It’s on a stovetop so you have to regulate it. The Bonavita lets you choose the temperature you want. Plug it in, get the kids dressed, do your hair then come back to your perfectly heated water, ready to be poured.
It actually gives you a real time temperature display, so you can watch the temperature going up. It can hold it for 60 minutes. You shouldn’t need that long but it’s nice if you want to take a quick shower as it’s heating up. Or a shower that ends up being 45 minutes because it’s so nice and warm in the middle of winter…
Bonavita say their kettle is accurate to 1-2degF or 1degC. This is a very precise figure and a lot more than you need, for example the SCAA gives a temperature range of up to 10 degrees as being acceptable. Oh yea, the LED screen can show in degC or degF.
It heats up quickly and is a pleasure to pour from. I can’t recommend this one enough.
– I still am a bit afraid of geese, despite never seeing any evidence of them being aggressive. Funny what sticks with you from childhood.
– With your shiny new kettle in hand, do yourself a favor and pick the Pour Over device that is just right for you, will you?