Are you curious about gooseneck kettles?
Wanna know if it’s worth the purchase?
I remember looking at these weird kettles with their curvy spouts and thinking…
Those are pretentious.
It took me a long time to understand exactly why they are useful.
And why they help you make amazing coffee.
Ever heard of ‘agitation’ when it comes to coffee?
It’s kind of a buzzword. It means that your ground coffee is getting mixed fully and consistently with the water to give you a good extraction.
Good extraction = kickass coffee.
If you’re making coffee with a Pour Over, a gooseneck is key to getting the right agitation.
It also helps with anything you pour yourself. Like a French Press or Aeropress.
I’ve always recommended this model by Bonavita. It’s the one I own and use regularly to make awesome coffee. Here’s a pic of mine next to my dear Kalita Wave.
It’s electric powered so it heats up fast and you waste no time waiting around for it.
It’s even got a temperature set on it so you know how hot the water is, perfect for getting consistent brews, time after time.
And of course, the gooseneck spout that gives you perfect control of flow rate and direction.
The best part? As of updating this article, the price has come down loads! You’ll have to check Amazon yourself to see its current price (I’m not allowed to give that info), but I paid about $100 for mine.
That’s not the only option I’ve got in this article however…
If you want to save a couple bucks, you can still get the important gooseneck spout for your coffee without a feature or two.
I’ll get to the other gooseneck kettles in a minute, but I just want to address something important…
Why the gooseneck is so useful for making excellent coffee.
(Feel free to skip if you’re already clued in.)
Do I Need A Gooseneck Kettle?
The draw of a gooseneck kettle is that it pours water in a thin and easily directable stream. As shown here.
So, why is this so useful?
Well, coffee is all about extraction. It’s not like tea where you throw a teabag and some hot water together and BAM! you’ve got some tea.
Coffee is a capricious mistress that dissolves all its different compounds – called dissolved solids – at different rates and different times in the brew.
Early on in the brew, the dissolved solids that extract into your drink are the more acidic compounds and much of the caffeine. Finish your brew too early and it will end up tasting weak, sour, thin, vegetal, overly acidic.
Later on in the brew, the dissolved solids that extract are sugars and more bitter compounds. Overdo it and your coffee will be overly bitter or strong.
Finish your extraction at the right time on the other hand, and the taste will be wonderful. You’ll simply notice the smooth taste of the coffee with none of the undesirable acidic or bitter flavors. It will also bring out the delicate notes of your coffee.
So how does a gooseneck kettle fit into all this?
The big issue with Pour Over coffee makers is that it’s easy for some of the coffee to be over-extracted and some of the coffee to barely be extracted at all.
Look at this photo of a finished brew. Do you see how some of the grounds are raised on the side of the device (high and dry, as some say)? That coffee will be underextracted and will negatively affect your taste.
Here is a Pour Over brew where there are minimal grounds left on the side. Most of the coffee is in a compact coffee bed at the bottom of the filter. This is where you get an even extraction and a better-tasting coffee.
Now, look at this gif of a spiral pour. The fine control of the gooseneck helps to bring all the coffee grounds into a nice bed at the bottom of the Pour Over, giving you a better extraction and a better cup of coffee.
And that’s not all…
Another issue with making Pour Over coffee is channeling. This is where the water you pour in takes the path of least resistance through the grounds – the already wet ones. This will leave dry clumps in your coffee bed that the water misses and so doesn’t extract.
To avoid this you do a quick preinfusion – or prewetting – where you pour a small amount of water over your coffee and try to saturate the grounds as much as possible.
Again, having a gooseneck really helps here as you want to use as little water as possible. Here’s me doing a preinfusion. I’m aiming to get the coffee full saturated. I’ll follow this with a quick stir with a spoon to get any remaining clumps wet.
It’s also useful for prewetting your filter. Paper filters will impart a mild ‘papery’ taste into your coffee. Some don’t notice it, some hate it. This can easily be taken care of with a quick rinse of the filter with hot water like in the next gif. Again, it’s LOADS easier with the fine precision of a gooseneck.
The photos you are seeing is of my Bonavita BV382510V which I’m going to talk about more in the next section. I’m not going to hide the fact that I think this one is the best gooseneck kettle for coffee.
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 for making coffee, 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 and it remains at that temperature until you are ready. Plug it in, get the kids dressed, do your hair then come back to your perfectly heated water, ready to be poured.
It gives you a real-time temperature display, so you can watch the temperature going up and once boiled, it can hold it for 60 minutes.
Bonavita say their kettle is accurate to 1-2°F or 1°C. The Bonavita can show either Celsius or Fahrenheit.
This is a very precise figure and useful for dialing in your brew. If you can make the conditions the same each time, you can make awesome coffee consistently. It’s debatable you need this much precision. The SCAA gives a temperature range of up to 10 degrees as being acceptable. But it’s nice to have.
It heats up quickly and is a pleasure to pour from. I can’t recommend this one enough. As an added bonus, the price seems to have come down considerably since I bought one.
Best Stovetop Thermometer: Coffee Gator
The Coffee Gator offers gooseneck control and temperature readings while coming in at a reasonable price point.
The Coffee Gator makes it easy to get a precise and reliable temperature each time. The temperature gauge is on the top of the kettle and it’s easy to read off a precise temperature.
Measuring temperature is more of advanced move in the world of coffee. I’ll talk more about whether it’s useful later. Basically, if you’re looking to knock it out of the park with your morning coffee, you should measure as much as you can.
It’s a stovetop kettle so you’ll need to watch or at least be around 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.
|Capacity||1L (34oz) |
/ 1.2L (41oz)
There are two options for capacity, 1 litre (about 34 fl.oz) and 1.2 litres (about 41 fl.oz). Coffee Gator recommends you only fill up to 60% to avoid overspilling. This is a suggestion made with caution in mind. You’ll probably 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. It’s very cheap for what it offers. Throw in fantastic customer service and it gets a big thumbs up from me.
Best Electric: Aicok Gooseneck
The Aicok is a simple design that offers gooseneck control along with electric heating. Rather than fiddling about with the stove you simply flick a switch and your water will be boiled a minute or two later. Saves a lot of time and hassle.
Electric kettles that you plug into outlets are pretty rare here in the States but are normal elsewhere. Ask a Brit how they make a cuppa and they’ll tell you all about their electric powered kettle. Ask them if they’d consider using a stovetop kettle and they’ll look at you like you were mad. Seriously.
|Capacity||1L (34fl. oz)|
The design is solid with a handle that is sturdy and large – good for safe pouring. All plastic is BPA-free too.
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. Temperature control or electric heating.
Best Budget: Chefbar Gooseneck
The Chefbar is a new addition to this article and one I’m very happy to include. It’s a real bargain to find a stovetop gooseneck at this price point.
It’s nicely designed. The construction is stainless steel, an excellent material for kitchen appliances that last and not something you always see on cheaper things.
|Capacity||1.2L (28fl. oz)|
The disadvantage of this kettle is its lack of other features. Electric heating is great for time-saving and convenience, a thermometer is great for fine-tuning your coffee. If you can live without those things then grab yourself a Chefbar!
It has a nice pour and looks pretty. It will heat up on gas, electric or induction stovetops, too. If you’re not bothered about extra features then this ticks all the boxes.
Do I Need An Electric Kettle?
If you’ve not ventured much outside of the USA, you’d be amazed how popular electric kettles are. In the tea-drinking climes of the UK, they’re as common in a kitchen as a refrigerator! Like, seriously… everyone has one!
Plug it into the wall, click the button and wait. It takes no time at all. For a typical amount of water you might boil for a coffee, 14 fl.oz say, it will be heated in 30 seconds!
Electric kettles are convenient, but they are a luxury. If you just want something cheap that gets the job done then it’s an area where you can cut back a little.
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. When you can use the same temperature every time, you can get closer to making awesome 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.
Other Uses For Goosenecks
One thing I will say is these are not all that suitable for cooking pasta or other times where you need a lot of boiling water… The water comes out so slowly it takes like 5 minutes to pour the whole thing out!
On the other hand, anything that requires a fine pout could benefit from a gooseneck. I know one lady who is really into tea. She loves her gooseneck because she can pour hot water into tiny cups for the latest Oolong tea she wants to try!