Electric Kettle?
September 28, 2004 8:52 AM   Subscribe

I want to start making an afternoon cup of tea at work. Other than a water cooler and a bathroom sink there are no kitchen facilities here. I need some sort of small electric kettle, and a pot or a cup to brew the (preferably real, not bag) tea in. Clean up should be easy and everything should be unbreakable. I don't add anything but water. Is there an all-in-one device out there? What's your system? Links to specific products appreciated.
posted by bondcliff to Food & Drink (21 answers total)
i use a kettle, a mug and a teabag.
you can find electric kettles at most large electrical stores. if you want a small one, it's may be worth lining them up, so you can compare them easily, and then buying the one that looks smallest. a ruler or tape measure might be helpful. mugs and teabags are available in supermarkets. i have a white mug, but a brown one would be more practical. the teabags have little strings and a tag - when the tea is ready you lift the teabag out using the tag and drop it in a waste bin. it's best to have the mug above the bin before you remove the teabag, so that drops go into the bin. i'm not sure what you mean by "real" tea? i think bags contain tea - that's why they're called teabags, as far as i know. and, at least here, there's much more variety in bags than not.
it's not that tricky - one i tried putting the mug on top of the teabag, but that was obviously wrong. you should be able to get the idea pretty quickly.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:02 AM on September 28, 2004

I just use a generic 1-cup coffee maker at work. Makes perfectly nice hot water if you forego the coffee grounds.
posted by RavinDave at 9:03 AM on September 28, 2004

I use the Aria teapot at work, but I have access to boiling water all day. What leads me to recommend it anyway is your preference for loose ("real") tea. It has a nifty release system - you set it on your cup, tea filters out the bottom, leaves left behind. Cleanup is simple, I just knock leaves into my trash at the end of the day when they have dried out a bit - the pot is unbreakable, can take a firm rapping. It's from the fabulous Adagio Tea - you may find other things there to your liking.
posted by donnagirl at 9:05 AM on September 28, 2004

Thanks for the snark, Andrew Cooke, I'm certainly due for it, but my question isn't as dumb as it sounds. Donnagirl's link is exactly what I'm looking for. I suppose I should have used the term "loose" instead of "real." Now come here, I have a special teabag just for you...
posted by bondcliff at 9:55 AM on September 28, 2004

Way to be helpful, andrew cooke.

bondcliff, you might like the Sunbeam HotShot. All it does is boil water, and quickly.
posted by Tubes at 9:58 AM on September 28, 2004

I had a Sunbeam HotShot in college, and it was a life saver at 3:00 am when you just needed to have a Cup O' Noodles. One problem was that you couldn't boil more than two servings in a row because the unit would get too hot to run through another cycle (I guess the sensors detected that it was already hot enough?). Of course, this was *cough*ten*cough* years ago, so perhaps the technology has gotten better.

Sounds perfect for your needs. I'd highly recommend it.
posted by MsVader at 10:11 AM on September 28, 2004

I use something like this for boiling water, and put my loose tea in these filters. For cleanup, I just put the used filter in a ziploc bag and throw it in the trash.

This mug looks pretty cool, but it's expensive and it seems that cleanup wouldn't be as easy with it.
posted by nixxon at 10:21 AM on September 28, 2004

My mom's addicted to tea, and is totally obsessed with having really hot water to make it with--she's been using the HotShot for years, and loves it.
posted by LairBob at 10:27 AM on September 28, 2004

Amazing bit of synchronicity; I've been researching a convenient way to heat water and have an infuser with loose tea all in one. From my hours of googling, I don't think there's any product that will do that. Like others have stated, you'll need an electric device of some sort along with a tea pot with a built in filter. I'm keeping my eye on this tea press; very nice design and sounds like a good deal.
posted by lychee at 11:15 AM on September 28, 2004

You could always use a Swan (née Goblin) Teasmade. Designed to wake you up to a nice fresh pot of tea, it is a self contained, timer driven tea making device, making the tea in a two cup china pot, so you can use any kind of tea you desire and have a second cup. I have no idea if they come in anything but 240V models though.

To worry about using loose tea and consider using anything but boiling water (HotShots need not apply) seems to me to be a confusion of priorities. We discussed the making of tea in this thread earlier this year in the blue.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 11:35 AM on September 28, 2004

Quinbus, my mom is from Ireland, she'd kill me if I used anything but boiling water, which is why I'm looking for a kettle.

Great suggestions so far. Keep 'em coming.
posted by bondcliff at 11:46 AM on September 28, 2004

If you have access to a microwave, you can boil water (1-2 min/cup). If you don't, you need an electric kettle.

I see you're in Boston. Can you get electric kettles in the States? If not, a quick trip to a Halifax Canadian Tire would set you up. There are dozens of differnt kinds to choose from, many more than listed on the site. They start at around $10 CAD. I'm not sure if you can web-order from Boston but it's worth a try.

Bodum makes some really nice tea products. As well as the teapot mentioned above, the mugs are very nice. I have the Yo-yo set which works very well for loose tea.

Your local chinatown will also have a vast selection of infuser china mugs like the ones mentioned by nixxon. They're a cheaper alternative to the Bodum stuff. All of my Chinese collegues have one, which they make tea in in the morning then refill with boilling water several times over the day, reusing the tea in the cup.
posted by bonehead at 11:48 AM on September 28, 2004

Heck, if you find a kettle you like, but can't get it from where you are, drop me a line and I'll get you one.
posted by bonehead at 11:51 AM on September 28, 2004

I've got this little element thing that does the job a treat. It's basically a bit of metal (like the element in a kettle) that plugs in and gets hot. You stick it in the cup and -presto- the water boils.

Got it at an army surplus store, if that's any use.
posted by bonaldi at 12:00 PM on September 28, 2004

I have the Bodum Assam 4-cup tea press and it works a treat for multiple cups of tea, but not so well for single cups because the water doesn't reach high enough on the infuser basket to properly steep the tea.

For single cups, I prefer to use Bodum's The de Chine Infuser and Cup. You put the infuser into the cup, add the loose tea then add the water, then the lid. When the tea is steeped to your preference, you can use the lid as a coaster for the infuser insert once it is removed from the cup.

As for electric kettles, I kept this one (or its lookalike predecessor) in my office for years, and was very pleased with its performance. It brings the water to a boil quickly and shuts off if you forget that it's plugged in and the water boils out. Nice price, too, especially compared with larger kettles which are much more than what you need just for a solo afternoon cuppa.
posted by Dreama at 1:48 PM on September 28, 2004

Please note that if you use a microwave to boil water, you should put a wooden dowel in it, or, if you drink sugar with your tea, put the tea in the water first.

Microwaved plain water can superheat and cause serious burns if you mange to put the teabag in and start it flash boiling.

No, that isn't an urban legend. You can demonstrate it yourself, if you're foolhardy enough. :-D
posted by shepd at 2:14 PM on September 28, 2004

>put the tea in the water first.

Whoops, meant to say sugar in the water first.
posted by shepd at 2:15 PM on September 28, 2004

there are a lot of tea makers like coffee makers (from coffee maker makers) but i find the process is part of the tea for me
and i go by the hickhiker's guide version (always on the look for a good brown betty) but i don't like very tannin-ed tea.

i use to just make before and have it in a good large thermos
tea ball, self blends (medicinal and otherwise), classic UK brewing, etc. type when i have the time.
and a woman who makes custom fresh herb teas is worth mentioning (haven't a link but bet martha's site does)

when i first saw it i thot it was about setting up a tea alternative for ur office

hmm, could use a green tea at the mo, thanks for giving me the thot
posted by ethylene at 3:15 PM on September 28, 2004

This is the coolest looking tea pot I have ever seen...I haven't tested it, sure, but it's German! Plus, as an added feature, it tilts. Anyway...enough silliness. I would suggest a press, or the cool German tilter. And an electric kettle. And, if you can't be around to pull the bag out, try this.
posted by Richat at 6:55 PM on September 28, 2004

I've got this little element thing that does the job a treat. It's basically a bit of metal (like the element in a kettle) that plugs in and gets hot. You stick it in the cup and -presto- the water boils.
An immersifier! I love those--had one with a plastic clip for the side of the mug--just don't ever touch the metal part. (google doesn't know the term tho)
posted by amberglow at 7:23 PM on September 28, 2004

here's one--they're not that cheap anymore
posted by amberglow at 7:34 PM on September 28, 2004

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