Friday, February 15, 2013

Electric Kettle Woes

I've been tea miserable at work.   After days of research,  I paradoxically ended up with what turned out to be the worst kind of electric kettle.  I exaggerate as the worst kind of kettle probably would have caused an electrical fire and burned down the building. The boiled water from this Hario Buono merely ruins the taste of any tea I try to brew. Otherwise, it's solid and the gooseneck provides superior control  and I'll be more than happy to use it as a watering can for my plants.

This tea kettle had no Amazon reviews at all when I sprang for it.  I was lured by the stellar reputation of it's stovetop counterpart.

This Hario Buono has a plastic cap on top of the vertical heating element and although the water does not touch this plastic part, the steam condenses on it, drips down and causes the water to taste quite toxic.   The burnt plastic taste and smell to the water outright kills any tea even the lapsang souchongs.  For pathological reasons unknown to me, I've been soldiering on with this terrible travesty of a kettle.  Two+ months of use has not yet lessened the smell.

Last night in final frustration, I was determined to start life anew with a superior kettle. After rereading every kind of complaint ever recorded against electric tea kettles on Amazon, I was at a loss to order yet another faulty specimen. What do these unhappy consumers of inferior kettles complain about?

  • overall chintzy parts that don't last or become a safety hazard (stopped working, it leaks,  melted plastic base,  handle fell off with boiling water in it)
  • rust spots form in the interior 
  • water tastes awful - complaint of metallic taste for steel pots and  plastic taste for kettles with plastic components
  • takes too long to boil
  • sounds like a jet engine taking off

I can't seem to find a quality durable electrical tea kettle without plastic parts. I think Sir Dyson should set his attention to this most grievous problem. At home, I have a trusty Russell Hobbes that I've been using for ten years but the new versions are no longer any good. In a fit of bleary eyed fatigue, I sent away for a Kamjove from birdpick.  If I'm going to buy some cheap Chinese made kettle, I might as well get a kamjove. Although I really wanted the titanium-plated golden hued Kamjove, 200V is a no-go for me at work.  My husband in a fit of generosity offered to hook up a 200V outlet for me although he said after a single glance at the bell shaped kamjove- "It's not going to change your life."


  1. Ouch, one large teapot I had did cause that nasty burnt plastic smell too. And it did not really go away with use (well, I gave it away rather soon). I can not imagine anyone using such a pot. In the case of kettle, it's even worse.

    Good luck with the Kamjove! (I did not have such luck).

  2. A friend just got that Kamjove and seemed to like it OK during the trial runs. I haven't heard any updates. I hope it works out for you.

    Woes like yours and scores of Amazon complaints have kept me using office cooler hot water. I sprung for a Bonavita yesterday. We'll see. Coffee drinkers seem to like them, which is not necessarily promising. I guess I don't have too many expectations. I just need something hot. I hope it doesn't taste like melted wires.

    1. Did you get a gooseneck Bonavita? I'm really curious how the water will taste. That was my second choice and no shortage of people love their Bonavita on Amazon. Also I think coffee tasters may not notice a burnt flavor as much as a tea drinker.

    2. Well, I've scrubbed out the Bonavita and run two rounds of water though it. The water doesn't taste burnt at all. It tastes like glue. Didn't seem to make a difference when brewing old oolong, but I'm getting a terrible pastey aftertaste with young shengpu. Maybe it will disperse with time. Maybe I'll have to get a Kam Jovi.

    3. Oh no! Don't let it pass the 30 day return cutoff. Is there any plastic part inside? You may have to soak it overnight with baking soda. If it still is bad the next few days, I'd seriously consider returning it. Don't subject your self to bad brews.

    4. The glue scent is coming from where the handle anchors to the inside of the kettle. (Bad design) This is the only visible piece of plastic inside. You can see the glue or sealant they used around the plastic handle anchor. Even though it is high up the kettle wall and doesn't have contact with the boiling water, its smell infuses the steam and inside of the kettle. Damn. I'll give it a day or two and will send it back if it doesn't clear up. So there's none of this with the Kamjove?

    5. Dear Israel,

      I read various complaints on Amazon against your BonaVita. I think glue taste is a deal breaker offense for a kettle. My Kamjove has no plastic parts inside. There is a plastic knob on the lid but they managed to keep it external.

      I have to say- after the Hario Buono fiasco, it's a complete pleasure not to even have to think about off tastes. However, my model is kind of wobbly when not entirely full as mentioned in the post and there might be better bigger models out there. Nonetheless I'm still pretty happy.


  3. Yep, it's the gooseneck. I agree, coffee is far more robust and may therefore overpower any off flavors lent by a kettle. Still, the way people are into their pourovers these days and in getting the more delicate nuances out of their beans gives me some hope. I'll let you know how it goes.

    I saw my buddy with the Kamjove (which I can't help reading as "Kamjovi")last night. He has no complaints so far. I hope your kettle rocks far more than the "Bad Medicine" produced by Jon and his New Jersey band mates.

    1. The kamjove thankfully has no off taste so I'm exceedingly happy. We'll see how we'll it performs at work today!

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  4. Anonymous7:03 PM

    *shrug* I just use something like this:
    Woks great, no weird taste to water, etc.

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