We were asked recently by a follower over on our Facebook page whether a pour over kettle was needed; here’s what we’ve got to say! The pour over kettle or Gooseneck Kettle as they are often named is an essential part of any barista’s coffee kit. However, that doesn’t mean that you should run out and buy one just because the “big boys” are using them, here’s why.
At the end of the day, a kettle is a kettle, and it has one primary purpose, to boil water. The only difference with the pour over kettle is the shape of the pouring spout, which funnily enough is shaped just like a Gooseneck (hence the name). This unique shape is intended to give you much more control over your pour, which is essential if you want an even coffee extraction and an unwanted disturbance of the coffee bed.
When using a regular kettle, it is tough to control the pour, unless you have hands like a surgeon. This more aggressive flow rate can affect how your coffee blooms as well as the overall coffee extraction, as I mentioned before all of which can lead to very subtle differences to the final brew. For many of you reading this those subtle changes are going to be hardly detectable but for the real coffee enthusiast, it can mean the difference between a great tasting cup or an excellent cup!
Do You Need A Pour Over Kettle?
So does that mean you need to buy a Gooseneck Kettle? Well no not really it’s not an essential piece of brewing kit if you’re just starting out on your home barista journey but it’s sure nice to have.
The Gooseneck Kettle would fall under “other coffee hardware.” It’s not essential, elements such as the quality of your coffee beans combined with timing and technique are far more important than whether your kettle has the correct pour spout.
I would recommend prioritizing your coffee brewing equipment to the basics when just starting out. Make sure you have fresh whole coffee beans, a good quality burr grinder, nail your timing and technique, and get your water to coffee ratios spot on! Once you’ve mastered those, it’s time to get yourself the best pour over kettle to then improve on your technique. If you’re on a budget of under $100 take a look at my basic coffee kit.
What To Look For In A Great Gooseneck Kettle?
Given that these funky, modern looking metal kettles are the tools of a true coffee connoisseur and often are not cheap, it’s worthwhile to be a little picky. So I’m going to touch on some of the finer details to take into consideration when shopping for your pour over kettle.
Material And Design
If you don’t have a craving for the cringe taste of rust, it’s probably a good idea to stay clear of pour over kettles built with cheap inferior metals. Many manufacturers use metals that simply don’t last. Whether this is to keep cost to a minimum or just poor planning, unfortunately, it is the case, even with some of the top brands.
Often it’s hard to tell the quality of the kettle by just looking at it. However, the thickness of the metal and the quality of the seam welds is a good indicator of the durability. You can check the quality of welds by running your finger over them, typically the smoother and more seamless the weld, the stronger it is – seamless in most cases equals quality.
Flow Rate (Pouring Speed)
Not all kettles pour at the same speed, some are slower than others, and there are even some that are more responsive to slight shifts in your pour over technique.
The best gooseneck kettle is going to be one that doesn’t pour water too fast. However, the flow rate is a minor issue in comparison to pour consistency. Although a relatively quick pouring kettle may take some practice to get used to the flow, its purpose is wasted if it can’t pour evenly over your coffee grounds.
The primary goal when brewing coffee using the pour-over technique is an even extraction of your ground coffee. This is likely the reason way you’re looking to but a gooseneck kettle in the first place, so a kettle that gushes out of the spout offering very little control is going to ruin all of that.
You’ll find that many of the best pour over kettles stick within the same size range of somewhere between 1 to 1.5-liter capacity. With that being said, there are exceptions to the rule and a few decimal places to the right and left can make a big impact depending on how much coffee you brew at home.
Obviously, a larger kettle is going to allow you to keep on pouring without always running back and forth for refills.
A Comfortable Kettle
As silly as it sounds just how comfortable the kettle is will have an impact on your pouring technique. Keep in mind that you’re going to be holding the kettle for minutes at a time, which when full can be pretty heavy. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that the kettle you purchase has a good handle and is comfortable to hold.
Ironically, some of the best pour over kettles have handles that feel more like an afterthought than anything else.
Sort After Features
Most pour over kettles will get the job done, but there are some that will come with extra features to aid in your coffee brewing. Some of the best electric gooseneck kettles come with “variable temperature control,” this allows you to preset a temperature and the kettle will either turn off or hold that temperature for a period of time of time.
Another popular feature that many of the new gooseneck kettles are now coming with is a built-in temperature gauge. These typically take the form of a probe thermometer that’s attached to the lid. With the built-in thermometer, you can get your water temperature in the “sweet spot” without the need for post-boil countdowns.
Best Pour Over Kettles 2018 (Take Your Brewing To Another Level!)
If you simply can’t live without getting your hands on a pour over kettle and you think you’re ready to brew coffee with the “big boys.” Below, I have handpicked a few of the best pour over kettles that are used by the professionals. I have purposely chosen kettles for all budgets so there should be one for you no matter how deep your pockets are.
Any aspiring home barista knows that water temperature is one of the key components to a great tasting cup of coffee and getting that temperature just right can be a challenge in any regular kettle.
This is where the Bonavita Electric Pour Over Kettle shines, due to its ability to control the water temperature and keep that perfect temperature locked in place. The Bonavita lets you choose between six temperature settings, or you can simply add your preferred temp. Once your temperature has been set, the Bonavita Pour over kettle heats to the entered temperature and then holds that set temperature for up to one hour.
When the temperature starts to drop the Bonavita will then boil up again and will constantly keep the temperature where it should be, pretty neat!
This is the pour over kettle that’s used by World Champion Baristas if you ever go to any coffee trade shows or have seen Baristas battle it out, this is typically the pour over kettle of choice. If the professionals are using it, that must mean it’s going to be the best pour over kettle for everyday use, even if you’re just starting out!
The Bonavita Pour Over Kettle should be readily available in almost any well known high street store, but if you are having trouble pinning it down, you can always find it over at Amazon. This kettle isn’t cheap, so don’t expect much change out of a hundred dollar bill.
Hario Buono Gooseneck Kettle
My second recommendation is the more budget friendly Hario Buono Pouring Kettle. Prices start at just under forty dollars (at the time of writing), so you really can’t go wrong with this. To be honest, at that price there is no reason not to buy a pour over kettle over a regular one if you’re serious about brewing coffee at home.
The Hario Buono Pouring Kettle is as basic as is gets, it’s not an electric pour over kettle like the above Bonavita, so it does require a heat source such as a stove top gas burner or an induction heat source (and no it doesn’t whistle when it boils, are you looking for the best whistling kettle?).
The Hario Buono holds enough water (40 ounces) to make a full pot of coffee when using a 40oz Chemex coffee maker. The pour control with the Hario is excellent, and the long distance the water has to travel through the pour spout gives you a consistent, small, smooth stream of water to pour over your coffee grounds.
You can find the Hario Buono Gooseneck Kettle at Amazon if you cannot source it elsewhere.
Fellow Stagg Pour Over Kettle
This is my personal favorite, the Fellow Stagg Pour Over Kettle is a classic looking Gooseneck Kettle with a sleek modern Matt black finish. A neat feature of this Gooseneck Kettle is the integrated thermometer on top that helps you to keep track of your water temperature, ensuring the best temp at all times.
Just like the above Hario, the Fellow Stag requires no electrical socket and can simply be placed on a heat source such as a gas burner, electric, or induction stovetop. The Gooseneck spout allows you to pour at a slow, even pace and the counterbalanced handle provides excellent pouring control which is essential when using any pour over kettle.
The Fellow Stagg Pour Over Kettle isn’t cheap, and at the time of writing, you won’t get much change out of eighty dollars. However, the build quality of the Fellow Stagg is excellent, and as the old saying goes, you do get what you pay for. You can find this kettle at Amazon if you can’t find it elsewhere.
Kalita Kettle Wave Drip Kettle
This kettle closely resembles the above Hario Buono, girded with a classic looking wooden handle and wooden top, the Kalita Wave Pour Over Kettle is a sturdy vessel that looks like it will last for years.
Out of all the above Gooseneck kettles, the Kalita Wave pour over has among one of the steadiest and slowest pour rates of the lot, making it perfect for those of you looking to upgrade from a regular kettle and want to practice your pour over and timing.
The Kalita is priced just a smidgen over the Hario, but that few extra dollars are worth spending in my opinion because I think the Kalita is a far superior Gooseneck Kettle. I have yet to find the Kalita in any high street stores so if you are struggling to find one Amazon often has stock and you can also read through some reviews left by other buyers.
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