“Coffee or tea?” is a question at every family gathering, friends get-together or an evening with your significant other. Regardless of the answer, an important component of both offered options is transparent, odorless solvent for many substances – water. Not just any water: warm, boiling, hot water, and that is exactly what an electric kettle can provide.
Pour me water and I’ll bear fruit
In addition to the undeniably important role of the grinder, of which Marcin Rzońca once wrote, water is also important. From its quality and the amount of minerals to the temperature and appropriate pouring it over the brewed coffee. Water is where the compounds from ground coffee beans will dissolve. It is said that water is life, and since coffee is water (for the most part), coffee is life.
While brewing the black beverage, temperature control is extremely important – it allows you to get the best out of the beans. And if you have high-quality beans, classified high on the SCA (Specialty Coffee Assocation) scale, it would be shameful not to treat them right. So, it’s good to take good care of the results of farmers, middlemen, roasting houses and shops work. Having a kettle with temperature control, we can precisely adjust its value to the brewing method, the cultivation region, the coffee roasting profile or the type of tea. Yes, yes, that’s right – this kettle is also perfect for your favorite tea leaves. The so-called gooseneck, a long spout for precise, circular pouring coffee in various drippers, is also important.
This is where the winner of the Red Dot Design Award 2018, Fellow Stagg EKG kettle, comes to the rescue. The kettle body with a capacity of 900 ml, is made of stainless steel, finished with plastic elements. Nothing creaks, there is no loose fit. The base is stable and the lid comes in lightly, but not so lightly that it falls out by itself. It’s obvious that you are dealing with a premium product. The whole fits neatly into your hand, also thanks to the counterweight built into the kettle handle. Oh, it speeds up the heartbeat of many coffee aficionados!
Show me, kettle, what you keep inside
The Stagg EKG kettle stands out with minimalist design and the minimum number of buttons necessary to handle all the functions you need. Switches, the screen and the main knob are placed symmetrically on the kettle’s body. The whole looks visually coherent and will certainly satisfy those who like minimalism in a modern form. The round screen displays the current and set water temperature. Adjustments are made with the knob on the other side of the base. Temperature can be regulated in the range from 40 to 100°C (40°C is perfect for the so-called lukewarm water – useful when you want to drink water not as cold as straight from the tap, or pour over some medicine – flu season in full bloom…). Temperature setting triggers sounds that remind you of the rumble of a cart coming up the hill in an amusement park! This is already a foretaste of lots of coffee fun – hello, the world of childhood!
The same knob is also a button that can be pressed to turn the electric base on and off, and when you hold it for 2 seconds, the kettle goes into a timer mode. Big numbers appear on the screen – the countdown begins. Three-two-one-GO! Like in a racing computer game, we can start pouring over our coffee. The timer counts down to 10 minutes, then starts the countdown again, this is due to the small display – four digits would not fit on a round LCD screen. However, with most classic recipes, even half of this time is enough. On the back of the kettle there are two switches: one is responsible for changing between Celsius and Farenheit scale, the other controls the temperature holding mode. When the HOLD function is off, the kettle maintains the temperature for 3 minutes, then stops and after 15 minutes of inactivity it turns off to save energy. When the HOLD function is on, the kettle maintains a constant temperature for up to 60 minutes – a very useful function for cafes and home baristas at a family party – 15 drips will not brew by themselves, right?
Testing, or kettle, kettle, shoot out your horn
Time for testing – weighing, grinding, brewing. Wow! The coffee came out tastier than usual. Repeat. First, second, third, each of the coffees came out very similar to one another. While using the kettle, it’s easy to notice the limited rate at which you pour water – a large portion of water cannot be poured out of this kettle at once. Is that good or bad? After many attempts, I have decided that not only it does not bother me, but it also makes pouring your coffee more repeatable. I had no problems pouring over the large Chemex, so the slow stream does not limit or prevent the brewing in the required time. Unless… you want to pour over the morning tea bag at once, quickly and efficiently. Well, this is the one thing that Stagg EKG will not allow you to do. On the other hand, pouring water over coffee slowly helped me be more mindful about the process of preparing the black beverage – it is hard to express, but it gave the coffee brewing a greater sense of a ritual. Differences between using an electric vs regular kettle with a spout are colossal. The electric one makes life a lot easier. Most cafes cannot imagine giving out alternative coffees without this type of device.
Time for a practical test:
0.5 liters of water, 19°C indoors, altitude: 250 m a.s.l.
Boiling water to 96°C took 2 min 50 sec.
The result is very decent. This will allow you to grind coffee in the meantime, fix the dripper or other device and insert the filter. Time: check.
After 30 minutes the water was 67°C (temperature holding mode off).
After 1 hour, the water was 52°C (temperature holding mode off).
- Compared with “regular” kettles, it turns out that Fellow EKG better insulates water from the environment better, maintaining its temperature longer. Isolation: check.
- The kettle is clearly quieter than classic devices. We hear the boiling noise between 60 –90°C, sooner and later the device is practically noiseless or hardly audible. Volume: check.
- The temperature holding mode works very well – the kettle does not turn on every few minutes when the temperature drops by a few degrees, but constantly maintains the selected temperature value, which makes it ready for use at any time. Temperature fluctuations have never exceeded 2°C. Temperature: check.
- The built-in stopwatch function is very useful – no more using your phone as a timer! The kettle is always on hand, so from now on you have a stopwatch included. An all-inclusive kettle. Timer: check.
- Pouring coffee over with the kettle is a great pleasure. Balancing and slow pouring of water from the device makes it easier to control the brewing process of the coffee alternative. Pouring: check.
This kettle has worms!
Exactly! If you search carefully, you’ll find a worm in the Stagg EKG kettle. Relax, you don’t have to call the disinfestation team and unscrew the kettle. Wormy is a game hidden in the device software, straight from the 90s (you know the game Snake, right?). You play as a worm that eats eggs that look like the Fellow logo – creative! You control the game with the main knob: turning right – you turn right, turning left – you turn left. Simple. At least it seems so, and practice… well, practice makes perfect, doesn’t it?
How do you find the Wormy? I don’t want to spoil your surprise at discovering this Easter Egg, so just follow instructions from Fellow Stagg:
1. The hen must leave the nest.
2. Travel the farm back and forth to find the egg.
Admit it – they must drink great coffee at Fellow to invent such things.
Oh! If anyone asked, my record is 1:32. The current world record is 0:46, so I still need some practice. What score will you get?
Who is it for?
Who will like Fellow Stagg EKG? All fans of design and order in the kitchen (greasy handles will not like the matte EKG finish) and people seeking repeatable brewing with various types of alternative methods. “Intended for domestic and commercial use” confirms the kettle’s resistance to daily use. If you are looking for a kettle with a spout for brewing, e.g. black drip coffee or good quality tea – bingo, that’s your choice! However, if you are looking for a universal kettle that will boil water for noodles to cook in a 2-litre pot, and to pour the morning teabag in 1 second – look for something else. I fell in love with EKG! Together we have spent many pleasant moments brewing good grain…