Maybe you’ve just bought an electric kettle and are looking forward to making lots of tea for yourself or for the entire family. But can you brew tea in an electric kettle? The short answer is don’t unless it is absolutely necessary and you have no other alternative to brew tea. As you might already know, all types of kettles are ideally made to heat water and bring it to the right temperature or to a boil, and they are not designed to heat anything else except water.
Essentially, if you add anything else into them, let’s say tea leaves, even if you successfully make tea, it probably won’t taste as good as it should, you may end up damaging the kettle’s interior because of built-up residue, and you’ll find it a pain to clean afterward. This is why you should have a kettle and a teapot to brew tea. We’ll explain in more detail but it’s also a good idea to brush up on the difference between a teapot vs kettle.
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Brewing Tea in An Electric Kettle: Why it’s Not a Good Idea
Brewing tea in an electric kettle is not a good idea because they aren’t meant to be exposed to any sediment of organic substances. You will also have to clean the electric kettle after every brew, and that might result in you damaging the electric kettle’s heat pad along with its hardware. It can also result in permanent stains of tea in your kettle, which can ruin the taste of the water you boil in it in the future, thus ruining whichever drink you use the hot water to make.
Another reason is that if you live in a hard water area and don’t filter the water before adding it to the kettle, there will be a build up of hard water scales that mix with the tea and can ruin your tea. Most electric kettles come with a hard water filter in the spout so that if you use it only for heating water, the scales are prevented from being poured out into your teapot or mug.
Can You Put Tea Bags in a Tea Kettle?
You can put tea bags in your kettle, but it wouldn’t be a good idea. Ideally, tea bags should be placed in a teapot or mug, and hot water from the kettle should be poured into it. If you dip the tea bag directly in the kettle it can leave stains will make the process of cleaning the kettle even harder than it already is.
The teabag could also fall into the boiling water easily, making it difficult to fish it out.
How to Use an Electric Kettle for Tea Brewing
Since you are already aware of the purpose of an electric kettle, now we’ll talk about how to use it. First, we’ll talk about the steps to use it and then the steps to make a few particular types of tea in it.
The steps to use an electric brewing kettle are:
- Make sure your kettle is clean.
- Plugin the base of the kettle at a place where it can rest and work without any interruption.
- Fill up the kettle to the right limit. Many electric kettles have measurements marked on them which also determine the minimum and maximum limit of water that you can fill them with. Make sure not to overfill the kettle since boiling water expands and can bubble out, which is dangerous and can damage the kettle’s heating pad and control panel or switches.
- Set the kettle to heat the water. Some electric kettles heat water directly to a complete boil, and some kettles have temperature controls with sensors that permit you to set the water to the temperature you want. Depending on the type of tea, you can choose an ideal setting.
- Once the water reaches your desired temperature, you can infuse your tea leaves. To do this, pour the hot water into the mug or the teapot with the infuser filled with tea leaves.
- Let the tea steep for a little while and it will soon be ready to drink!
Now, we come to the process of making different types of tea.
Following the same steps given above, you just have to get the water to a boil. Don’t let it boil too long or it will ruin the taste of your tea. After you add your tea leaves to the infuser sitting in the teapot or mug and pour the hot water in, steep it for not more than four minutes, otherwise, your tea will get bitter.
Depending on the type of Oolong tea you have, you should brew the leaves at 185-205° F and steep them for 3-4 minutes. One additional tip is to infuse oolong tea 2-3 times, which will bring out its best taste.
While making green tea, you have to be especially careful about the temperature of the water. If the water is too hot, it can cook the green tea leaves and make them bitter. Ideally, you should bring the temperature to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and steep for 3 minutes.
White tea can be brewed in different ways but it needs a similar approach to green tea. The most common way is to brew it for 5 minutes at a temperature of 180° F.
Get the water to a rolling boil here. Most herbal teas like peppermint and chamomile should be brewed at a temperature of 212° F and steeped for 5-7 minutes.
How to Make Tea in a Kettle
Even though it is strongly suggested not to brew tea directly in a kettle, it can still be done if you are in situations where there is no other way to make tea, like having to make a lot of tea for sudden guests but not having a teapot or going camping and only having a fire and a gas stovetop kettle.
Normally, tea is made by heating the water at the right temperature and then poured over the tea leaves in the tea infuser. With a stovetop tea kettle, the water is boiled over the fire, whereas in an electric kettle, water is heated with the help of electricity through a heating pad. This is the main difference between an electric and stovetop kettle.
If you are brewing tea directly in the kettle, you have to keep in mind a few things. You have to make sure that there are no exposed heating elements in the kettle. Another important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t directly drop loose leaves into the kettle. Instead, you should use a tea bag or infuser. Otherwise, the leaves will leave permanent stains in the kettle, which will damage the inside. Even better, get yourself an electric kettle with an inbuilt infuser. These are designed to brew tea well without ruining the inside of the kettle.
How to Make Tea Without a Kettle
Using a kettle is not the only way to make tea. There are many other ways to do so. You can make it using different types of kitchen equipment such as a coffee maker, microwave, and saucepan. You don’t necessarily have to buy fancy tea-making tools to enjoy a hot cup of tea, although it is more convenient and easier to get a really good cup of brew. Here are some of those alternative ways to make tea.
Saucepan: To make tea, the main thing you need is a pot of hot water. You can boil water in a saucepan or a pot. After heating or boiling the water, you can either pour it over a tea bag or over the tea leaves housed in an infuser in a cup or teapot. If you’re making Oolong, white or green tea, it’s best that you have a food thermometer that you can insert into the hot water in the saucepan to make sure you’ve heated the water to the right temperature. If it’s too hot, wait for a few minutes and check again.
Microwave: You can heat water in a microwave as well but you must stir the water and then take its temperature with a food thermometer to ensure that it’s the right temperature. The reason is that heating anything in a microwave is uneven and the thermometer might record a temperature that’s too high or too low for brewing your tea if you don’t stir it first.
Coffee maker: Yes, you read that right! You can brew tea in a coffee maker as well. The only difference is you just fill the water in its reservoir and start brewing. You leave the filter section empty. Once the coffee maker has finished brewing the water, it’ll be close to the perfect temperature for adding it to most tea leaves or bags.
However, black and herbal teas may not have the benefit of full flavor because they need to be steeped at boiling point (212° F), which is rare with automatic coffee makers. The best you can hope for is if your coffee maker brews at about 200° F. You could also use a coffee maker with a hot water dispenser.
Teapots and kettles are two different kitchen tools to use for making tea even though they look similar. They complement each other in the process of making tea. A tea kettle is used to heat the water to the right temperature to pour it over the tea bags or tea infuser, whereas the tea leaves in an infuser or tea bags are placed in the teapot and then hot water is poured into it for steeping. A teapot can not be heated directly and tea kettles are not meant for brewing tea in them.
Even though it is possible to heat water for tea in a microwave, it is not the best way. A kettle evenly heats the water and an electric kettle can even heat it to the right temperature to bring out the best taste in specific teas. However, the microwave might unevenly heat the water and overheat it, which is terrible for tea such as white, green, and oolong tea, which require water to be at a lower temperature than boiling. Too high, and your tea will taste bitter.