I think I might have been the last person to get this memo:
Hot Water + Plastic = Bad
Why is this bad? There are at least two reasons:
- Imparts bad taste to beverages
I’m going to confess that I’ve never tasted any plastic-like qualities in the tea or French press coffees I’ve made using my trusty plastic electric kettle. However, I’ve learned that the best tasters in both tea and coffee can taste the plastic. They use stainless steel electric kettles to heat their water. If it were just a taste issue and I was happy with the taste of my beverages, I would still be using a plastic kettle. Estrogens are a different story – they motivated me to research stainless steel kettle options.
In the book The Warrior Diet, author Ori Hofmekler lays out the case against dietary and environmental estrogens. I’m not going to cover his book here; you can find my review Revisiting The Warrior Diet on my personal site. What Ori said about plastics grabbed my attention. He stated that compounds in plastic called plasticizers can be estrogenic and carcinogenic (EX: bisphenol A). When I started going through all the different types of plastic, and which ones were bad and which ones were less bad, my head started to spin. I didn’t understand the chemistry, but I knew what I had to do to minimize estrogenic exposure – I decided to replace my plastic kettle with a stainless steel one.
I did some research and found 3 stainless steel electric kettles that were affordable. Each had its own benefits.
The 30 ounce Adagio Teas 3 UtiliTEA runs about $50. It has 3 different temperature settings and is ideal for a tea drinker. Black teas require a hotter brew temperature than oolongs. Green and white teas require even lower temperatures. I e-mailed the company and asked if the hot water made any contact with plastic. They responded:
There is a plastic view window in the utiliTEA; otherwise the rest of the kettle is made of brushed stainless steel.
The Breville SK500XL runs about $70 and can heat almost 58 ounces of water. I also e-mailed them to see if the hot water and plastic made contact. They responded:
There is a plastic volume gauge that is exposed to hot water on the kettle.
The Hamilton Beach 40898 Cool Touch Tea Kettle runs about $60 and can heat 64 ounces. The hot water and plastic do not make contact with this kettle. The reason is that this model does not have a plastic window for the user to see the water level.
And The Winner Is?
It was tough deciding between the 3 models. I really liked the 3 temperature settings of the Adagio, because I am a tea drinker who favors oolong and green tea. The Breville had some great comments and a stable base. In the end, I went with the Hamilton Beach Cool Touch. It has the largest capacity, and has no plastic contact. Having a plastic window gauge is not important to me.
My full review review of the Hamilton Beach Cool Touch Tea Kettle.
Adagio Teas 3 UtiliTEA Variable-Temperature 30-Ounce Electric Kettle – Product page on Amazon.com.
Breville SK500XL Ikon Stainless-Steel Electric Kettle – Product page on Amazon.com.
Hamilton Beach 40898 Cool Touch Tea Kettle – Product page on Amazon.com
Revisiting the Warrior Diet – My review of Ori Hofmekler’s book.
In 2007, Michael moved to America's coffee capitol Seattle, Washington. He has visited close to two hundred different coffee places in Seattle, Portland and Vancouver and met many of the top roasters and baristas in the country. Since 2009, Michael has been the Organizer of the Coffee Club of Seattle, which is a Meetup group of over 600 coffee enthusiasts. Besides the social aspect of the group, the Coffee Club of Seattle partners with local coffee professionals for educational events such as coffee cuppings, brewing demonstrations and roasting tours.
Unrelated to coffee, Michael has a personal blog at CriticalMAS.com which covers several topics including fitness, cooking and economics.