O happy day when I unwrapped a large Christmas present from my wife to find this tea kettle. Actually if you search amazon.com for “tea kettle”, this thing won’t show up, because it’s official title is “electric dispensing pot”?.
So how did I know this product even existed? One of my Indian co-workers visited a Teavana and told me about this expensive tea kettle they sold that made hot water at three different temperatures.
And of course any tea connoisseur who has scrutinized the labels on tea tins has wondered if there really is much of a difference if one follows the brewing directions exactly – using very hot water for herbal teas, medium hot for black teas, and hot for green & white teas.
So once I visited the Teavana and saw the contraption myself, I added it to my amazon wishlist. Oh I wanted it, but I couldn’t justify dropping >$100 for something that just boils water, and so hoped that someone else might do it for me. 😉
And so fast-forward a couple years & my wife actually surprises me with one for Christmas! Stoke-a-rama!
The first thing about the tea kettle … uh, electric dispensing pot… that I noticed is that it didn’t work like I assumed. I thought you’d select the temperature you want, flip the switch, then wait for the water to reach the specified temperature. Non. Nein. Iie.
This kettle is designed to one time boil but then keep water at a certain temperature, so that you don’t have to wait for it to heat when you’re teahirsty (thought of that one myself). So, you set it on either 208 degrees (F), 195, or 175, depending upon what you plan to drink. If you’ve just filled it up, it takes about 15 minutes to initially heat fresh water, but after that it indefinitely maintains the water at your temperature.
What’s more, it also (I assume through boiling) dechlorinates the water you fill it up with. Might not be so important in other parts of the country, but I live in Florida where the city water tastes slightly swampish. So this is a great feature.
There are different sized versions of this product. When I added it to my with list, I made a comment to “get a model smaller than the 4.0 liter if possible” because I thought that would be too big. Luckily my wife ignored me and got the 4.0 as we just happen to go through about 4.0 liters each day. Never knew we used that much water…
Another nice feature is the sleep timer, where you can fill the pot with fresh water, but tell it to wait 7 hrs before bringing it up to the proper temperature. So most evenings end with us refilling the pot and setting the 7 hr timer so that the device doesn’t unnecessarily keep the water hot all night long.
Regarding the three different temperatures – there is not really a huge difference between 175 and 195. On both settings the tea is hot but not so hot that you can’t immediately start sipping. We tend to keep it on 175 when the weather is warm, and 195 when its colder. We never really use 208 but the instructions say that you can also use this setting for noodles. 🙂
In conclusion, I don’t know how I lived without this device before. Is there a big difference in taste? I still don’t think I can really say. I’m someone who loves the bitterness of tea. I’ll put a white tea bag into boiling hot water and leave it in until I finish the extremely bitter remnants 30 minutes later. The different temperatures are not so important; I just love the convenience of having hot water always ready, and at a temperature that you can immediately start enjoying.
The only caveat I can possibly think of is if this thing turns out to use a lot of power keeping water warm when I’m out of the house for hours. Eventually I hope to buy a kill-a-watt monitor and report what I find. Until then, ignorance is bliss…
UPDATE! I got a Kill-a-Watt meter today and checked out the energy use. Because I’m mostly interested in how much power is used just to keep water warm, I let the pot sit for 6 hours without use (just maintaining the water at 175 F).
The results? About 0.20 kilowatt-hours for 6 hours. At our local rate of about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, this means 8 cents a day – or $29 a year.