Electric kettles -- long popular in Europe -- have recently surged to popularity in the United States. These don't require a stove at all. Just plug the kettle in, push the on button, and wait for the water to boil. The best electric kettles add not just convenience but safety too, automatically shutting themselves off when they reach the desired temperature or if the water level gets too low. Because the electric kettle's base doesn't get hot, you can also set it directly on your countertop or table. Some electric kettles even whistle to let you know the water is boiling, just like a stovetop kettle. Electric kettles with adjustable temperature controls are great for reaching the perfect brewing temperature for certain types of tea: In general, delicate green teas will taste best when brewed between 150 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit. White teas are best at temps up to 185 degrees, oolong teas up to 195 degrees, and black tea and most herbal teas do well at 212 degrees -- a rolling boil.Stovetop Kettles
For many people, a kettle that simply boils water is all they want; and even your basic kettle is more versatile than you might think. College students, office workers and busy parents all appreciate a good kettle's ability to quickly, safely heat water for ramen noodles, instant oatmeal or hot cocoa. You'll find stovetop kettles made of everything from cast iron (avoid this type of kettle unless you're willing to wipe it dry after every single use) to steel, aluminum, tempered glass and, on the high end, copper. Because stovetop kettles can't shut off automatically, a good, loud whistle alerts you that the water has boiled; some kettles offer harmonic whistles to make this necessity a little more pleasant. And, of course, a stovetop kettle should still pour easily and stay cool enough to pick up without steaming or cooking your own hand, even when the contents are boiling.Automatic Tea Makers
Finally, there's the tea machine. This electric gadget may be fully automated -- immersing the tea leaves in hot water and agitating them for you -- or act as a coach, prompting you through the brew process for a perfect cup of tea. One of the biggest perks of a fully automated tea machine is being able to set its start timer, water temperature and brew time so you wake up to a freshly brewed cup of tea every morning.
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