Updated: May 16
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So, you’ve dipped your toes into the lake of specialty coffee and maybe you are ready to take a little swim and buy your first kettle. Everyone you see on instagram says you need a gooseneck kettle to brew a pourover, and you are presented with a couple options: Stovetop or electric kettles?
Now if you are like me you want to buy once and not have to repurchase. Maybe you are also like me and can’t decide which is a better value.
Luckily for you, I’ve already bought and used both. Now I can help you make the buying decision easier by going over two of the main options. The two kettles I’m going to go over are both Fellow Products “Fellow Stagg Kettle”: the EKG and stove top versions. The Electric (EKG) comes with its own base and digital display for temperature, the Stove Top version uses an analog thermometer and works on a variety of stoves.
Price Starting at $135 CAD this is the more approachable option.
Portability Not having an electric base lets you easily bring it to a friends house or cottage.
Counter space No electric base means less clutter in your kitchen if counter space is an issue. The kettle easily fits on your stove, and when not in use can be stored in a drawer or cupboard.
No electronics It’s a metal stove top kettle with an analog thermometer. Unless you burn this kettle down by leaving it on the stove for an hour (this did happen to a friend on the first generation of this kettle. They now use metal instead of plastic for the lid) this kettle will last a lifetime.
Analog thermometer When you first start brewing this won’t be an issue, whether you brew at 210° or 200°. As you gain more experience brewing, you might want to dial that temperature in to a more exact degree.
Heating time Something you might not consider when buying it for the first time is how long it can take to heat up. Depending on the element used and how much water is in the kettle, you are looking at around 10-12 mins to heat up.
No auto shut off Keeping a close eye while it’s on the stove top is important. Not only to get to your desired temperature or keep from boiling constantly, but also for safety reasons.
Heat retention Once your water is up to temperature it will begin dropping in temperature once removed from the heating element. As your brewing experience continues, you might want to have a more consistent brew temperature.
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Temperature to the degree Being able to dial that temperature into exactly 210°or 205° on the display is a huge bonus when experimenting with your brewing.
Almost instant heat It’s no surprise that electric kettles are faster at warming up then a stove top kettle. It might not seem like a big deal, but having your kettle ready to go in about 3-4 minutes after you’ve weighed and ground your coffee is a huge bonus.
Holding a temperature The kettle automatically heats up to your desired temperature when turned on and holds that temperature for 5 minutes. Flick the switch on the back and your kettle will stay hot for up to 60 minutes.
Heat retention Having the heating element built into the kettle allows it to maintain its heat while you pour, and to keep a more stable temperature while off the base. When brewing for higher extraction (which is a whole new post) high heat temperatures are important.
You can play wormy They included a secret game of snake into the display, using the knob to collect all the bow ties. That right there sells the kettle for most people.
Price Starting at $210 CAD this is definitely the more expensive model and will set you back a little more money. Maybe you are starting out and don’t need to spend $210 on a kettle that heats up water.
Electric components As good as any company makes a kettle, having electrical components always means more to worry about. Things can go wrong and you don’t get the reliability you get over its standard stove top counterpart.
One more thing on the counter If you live in a small space, like I know many people do, the last thing you need is another piece of equipment sitting on the counter. You lose a little versatility, but that’s where the stovetop can suit you better as it’s more easily stored away.
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There is definitely a lot to think about when trying to choose between the two; but there is no wrong option. Both kettles have served me well and have some great features over the competition. Fellow kettles have a flow restrictor for easier pouring with more control and precision. They also have weighted handles to help balance it in the hand and make pouring a breeze. Whether you choose the Electric or Stove Top version you’ll be pleased with your choice and brewing great coffee in no time. I hope this helps you decide which to buy and answers some questions!
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