Tea is an essential beverage in countries around the world. From ancient to modern times, from one continent to the next, tea is prized for its stimulating, soothing, or just plain delicious and aromatic qualities.
We all have probably seen one of those movies where someone comes over to someone’s house and the welcoming friend or family member pats them on the back, and then says the magic words, “I’ll put some water on for tea.” Well, I can tell you that that’s not just a line for the movies. Even as a broke university student living in a shoebox-sized room, the fact that among my scant possessions I had an electric water heater and tea at the ready to offer visitors made many a tough conversation or emotional breakdown just a bit more bearable.
Regardless of why you want to make tea, or with whom you’ll share it, having an electric tea kettle is an essential tool to be able to treat yourself to a cuppa’ anytime you’d like.
What is hard water?
If this was a riddle, you would probably say “ice,” but hard water is actually a term used to describe water with high mineral content – as opposed to soft water, which has low mineral content. Hard water generally has high concentrations of calcium and magnesium carbonates, absorbed when water passes through limestone or chalk deposits.
Hard water= hard times for appliances
Though generally not immediately harmful to people when consumed, hard water does have seriously negative effects on appliances, boilers, coolers, and any other containers or equipment used in the transport and storage of water. Hard water can leave deposits, called “scale,” or “limescale,” of calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, and calcium sulfate. This scale can build up over time, eventually clogging pipes and causing issues with plumbing, or causing boilers to overheat and break down.
Hard water, when mixed with soap, also results in soap producing a white precipitate rather than the normal soapy lather. This precipitate can then remain on metals and other materials, building up over time and causing the equipment to corrode, deteriorate, or become unusable.
For tea kettles, those made of stainless steel, glass, or ceramic tend to hold up best against the effects of hard water.
The best on the market
So you want to invest in an electric tea kettle that will withstand the hardest of hard waters. Lucky for you, there are numerous options on the market that will power through and give you cup after steaming cup of tea and stay sleek, shiny, and fully functional for years.
KRUPS BW3140 SAVOY Adjustable Temperature LCD Display Electronic Kettle
If you want durability and versatility, the KRUPS BW3140 SAVOY Adjustable Temperature LCD Display Electronic Kettle is a great choice. Made to withstand the wear and tear of hard water with stainless steel housing, the kettle contains 1.7 liters of water and has 5 different temperature settings – ideal for tea lovers accustomed to adjusting the temperature of the water according to the type of tea leaf. The auto-shut off feature ensures that you’re free to wander off, (perhaps to prepare some scones to go with your tea?) until your water is ready.
BELLA 1.2L Electric Ceramic Tea Kettle
Do you want an electric tea kettle that doesn’t scream “electric,” and looks a little more at home with porcelain cups and saucers when you have guests over? Then the BELLA 1.2L Electric Ceramic Tea Kettle with detachable base and boil dry protection might just be your cup of tea.
The elegant design and 1200 watt heating power means that this tea kettle gets the job done with both efficiency and style. The detachable base and a streamlined spout allow you to boil water and serve tea to your guests easily and elegantly in no time at all!
Secura Original Stainless Steel Double Wall Electric Water Kettle
The Secura Original Stainless Steel Double Wall Electric Water Kettle is a classic. With a standard, commercial-grade stainless steel interior, rim, lid, and pot, easy-to-use controls, and a great price, the Secura The Original Stainless Steel Double Wall Electric Water Kettle is a great bet for a durable, useful electric tea kettle that will fulfill all of your hot water needs without fuss for years to come.
A brief history of tea kettles
The first tea kettle was, of course, not electric. For centuries, humans around the world have boiled water to remove bacteria and other harmful agents.
Legend has it that tea was first “discovered” around 2737 B.C., one day when the Chinese emperor Shennong was happily drinking a cup of boiled water outdoors, enjoying the view and soaking up some sun. A wind suddenly blew some leaves from a nearby tree into his cup. The Emperor liked the taste and the rest, as they say history.
The first kettles used primarily for boiling water for tea were cast from iron to withstand direct flame from the fire. As time went on, the design of the tea kettle was perfected and other materials – including copper, porcelain, and eventually steel – were used.
It wasn’t until 1891 that the first electric tea kettle was invented by the Carpenter Electric Company in the United States, and in 1922 the Swan Company improved upon the design, making the boil rate much faster. In 1956 Russell Hobbs came out with the first fully automatic electric tea kettle, a model which is still in use today.
The right electric tea kettle is everyone’s cup of tea, so be sure to invest in one that will outlast the effects of hard water and the wear and tear of daily use.
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Your Best Digs
- Tea Chat – The search for the nontoxic and functional kettle
- Consumer Reports – Best Electric Tea Kettle