Monday, March 19, 2018

Cuppa Tea?

We're in Portland for a few days, staying in a hotel where my husband has full days of meetings scheduled. I've packed my writing, my reading, my knitting, a sketchbook, a mini-paintbox . . . a full slate of restful activities to enjoy when I'm not out wandering the city, window-shopping, enjoying the heritage architecture, or even indulging in some retail therapy at one of the most enticing book stores I know: Powell's Books.

And to accompany those restful activities, back in the hotel room, I also packed a beautiful fine bone china mug (made by Dunoon, the Scattered Flowers pattern by Claire Winteringham), just the (large) size I like for my tea breaks. I bought it last week at Murchie's after dropping a longtime favourite on our ceramic tile floor. . .

I made room for it in my case, and even filled a small jar with the Ceylon Extra Superior loose tea that I've been drinking lately, thinking that bringing my own tea fixings along would make the hotel room a bit more homey. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and tea-drinkers. . .

Because, as I should have remembered, I've bumped annoyingly yet again into the ubiquitous presence of horrid coffee-makers, the complete absence of electric tea kettles. This morning's cuppa was made by heating water to just-above-tepid in a plastic chamber that dripped its way through old coffee-oil trails into my mug, hopefully filled with its precious but doomed tea leaves. So different from the way I make it at home, first scalding the teapot so that the boiling water that opens the tightly furled tea stays as hot as possible.

I shouldn't be surprised not to find an electric kettle in my hotel room, but I did think I might have been able to request one -- often, this is a possibility, at least in Canada where tea-drinking is still part of the culture, if a quickly waning part. But nope, no such kettle to be found in the hotel.

Grumbling to myself this morning, I remembered this Instagram post by David Lebovitz a few months ago. David has lived in France since 2006, as far as I can glean from his blog, but only this past February has he added a bouilloire (electric kettle) to his kitchen. Doing so, he declares on IG, means that he's "finally European."

As a non-European who has had an electric kettle (which I tend to call a "tea kettle) since Uncle Bernie gave me one as a wedding gift -- so for almost 44 years, although that original one has been replaced a few times -- this was a surprising revelation. And since then, I've been a bit curious. How many of you have electric kettles in your kitchens? And I'd be curious also to know how this breaks down, nationality-wise, if you don't mind indicating? As well, if you have an electric kettle, do you primarily use it for making tea? or do you do a pour-over coffee? Or do you use your electric kettle, as does Anna Jones (do you know her wonderful cookbook, A Modern Way to Cook?), i.e. to speed up your cooking prep?

And if you know where I could buy an electric kettle -- preferably a small, travel one -- in downtown Portland, please tell me! (although I imagine I'll survive the week without one ;-) Seriously, though, we tea-drinkers need to start a movement: Bring back the Hotel-room Cuppa! (and a nice little packet of biscuits would not go amiss)

107 comments:

  1. Electric kettle - yes, since our trip to Paris! I always used a stovetop whistling version before that, even for my tea-drinking spouse, but our rented apartment in Paris (no microwave, seven floors up, perfectly delightful) showed me the wonder of the electric kettle, and it was the first thing I bought when we returned home. I was just thinking that if your hotel had been smart, they would have run out and bought one for you and brought it to your room . . . . People still ooh and aah over mine, as though it were something very exotic.

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    1. I wish they'd been that smart at the hotel -- I like your vision! ;-)

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  2. My husband had an electric kettle years before we got married three decades ago. We'd never be without it. My husband has travelled with an electric kettle for many years--nothing can get in the way of a fresh brewed cup of tea! I am a pour over girl and use the kettle daily for my morning coffee. My husband was born and raised in Scotland and I think that plays a role in his life long devotion to a perfectly (and correctly) brewed pot of tea.

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    1. Ha! My dad was born and raised in northeast Yorkshire, and was also devoted to the correct brewing of tea -- and passed his devotion along to me ;-)

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  3. Welcome to Portland. I just checked and there are some smaller electric tea kettles available at the City Target downtown at the Galleria. You might check them out and see if one fits your travel needs. We became addicted to the electric tea kettle through our new British Son-in-law! Enjoy your visit. The weather is supposed to be fairly nice for the next few days and the cherry blossoms are spectacular.

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    1. You are my hero -- thank you! Found one and using it now.

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  4. In my sweetheart's vocabulary, a non-electric tea kettle is a swear word. He insists, whereas,I think, "what's the big deal"?
    Have to admit I miss the whistle on the standard American kettle, but now I DO notice a typical tea kettle does take an age to boil.
    I got over-excited when our electric kettle here broke and I got to buy the design-tactic glass electric kettle with blue LED light on the outside for a bit of flash!
    It strikes me that Sharper Image would be the kind of company that would sell a travel-size electric tea kettle.
    A.in London

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    1. We had a flashing one for a while, that sexy blue LED light (;-)
      I'll have a peek at Sharper Image's website -- thanks!
      And I agree the whistle's entertaining but the electric is more efficient.

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  5. Whistling kettle here but I do have a Hobbs electric kettle in the cupboard. Nasty not having a boiling vessel in your room...hasten to the Target that Beth Shia has mentioned....it's worth the walk for the pleasure of a cuppa!

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    1. You know it! And I'm all set now with a kettle in my room ;-)

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  6. Everyone I know in the U.K. has as electric kettle . We don’t take tea but visitors do . Hubby likes ground coffee made in a little pot on the stove but me , I love instant coffee . I’m a simple soul :) I always boil water in the kettle for cooking veg , soup etc & sometimes it’s handy when you just need a hot water bottle . That’s a lovely mug , I have some Dunoon mugs too . Enjoy your little holiday .
    Wendy in York

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    1. So much quicker to bring water to boil in the kettle, isn't it?
      The Dunoon mugs have just the right "lip" for me, and the weight is ideal, plus the lovely designs. . .

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  7. That's a beautiful mug. My morning cup of tea brings me an inordinate amount of pleasure so it's electric kettle all the way. Living in India I'm never far away from a good cup of tea. Now if only they'd go easy on the sugar :)
    Karen in Goa

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    1. A reader in India -- I had no idea! Hello! and thank you for reading. It's surprising how much pleasure we take from the morning cup of tea, isn't it? And my Yorkshire relatives were the same -- one cousin used to heap four teaspoons of sugar into his cup!

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  8. This is a fun topic. I'm from the US, born and raised in the Great Lakes area. We never had an electric kettle, nor had I ever seen or heard of one (although my parents did have an electric coffee percolator and we had an electric can-opener/knife-sharpener combo :D). My dad did have one of those cheap little aluminum cylindrical water boilers that have an electric element in the bottom (he traveled for business), but it was not a kettle, technically.

    We also always had regular non-electric kettles. One pretty much always sat on top of the wood stove, humidifying and of course providing hot water.

    I spent a year on a British boat and there it was: My first electric kettle sighting. Kind of funny as we only even had mains electricity occasionally. I also then discovered the phenomenon wherein a cup of tea is the solution for everything from actual thirst, to worries, to celebrations, to thinking, to passing time. And it is!

    However I never have bought my own electric kettle. I don't often have mains electricity, but even if I did, I prefer to just the gas stove I normally cook on. I dislike appliances sitting on the counter (ha, having grown up with them on practically every counter surface!).

    I love regional type questions.

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    1. Oh my. Great Lakes girl here too and we must have lived in similar houses growing up. I use an electric tea kettle at work, but it's a very inexpensive one. At home, I enjoy a kettle on my stove top that whistles.

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    2. So interesting, the regional differences, which I'd never thought of extending to kettles. "a year on a British boat" -- there are good stories there, I imagine.
      And Betty, another whistling-kettle, hello ;-)

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  9. Canadian here and I have used electric kettles all my life. They heat up so much faster than on the stovetop. Plus, I can say in my best Coronation Street accent: "I'll just put kettle on." Brenda

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    1. Ha! Yes, exactly. Now I want to pop over to your place for a cuppa!

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    2. Frances I see above that your father is from Yorkshire. I have just read about a new tea available in Britain: Yorkshire biscuit flavoured tea. Now I rather like the Yorkshire tea brand but I am not certain if I want the digestive biscuit flavour in the tea. You're supposed to dunk the biscuit in the tea. I shall have to try it when I am in England. Brenda.

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  10. I have several Dunoon mugs from Murchies (and I'm currently eyeing another one -- I can't resist a good (big) china mug). I have always had an electric kettle and still do; yes, it takes up a bit of counter space, but I like that it will auto shut-off after boiling, unlike the stove top (which is easy to forget and then run dry). I've not got a travel kettle, but I have used an immersion heater when travelling where necessary -- I do need my cup of tea in the morning, travelling or not. Lyn

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    1. My mom used to let the pot run dry on the stove -- to the point where my dad got her a cast-iron kettle, thinking at least it would resist destruction longer, but nope, she cracked then one as well. The whistle's are all very well if you stay in the room and/or have good hearing . . .

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  11. I'll sign up to your movement! I think I could give up any food or drink if I had to but I would hate to give up tea. I never drink coffee and when we travel outside the UK it is hard to find a decent cuppa. The first thing I do when we get home is switch on the kettle. I've only ever owned electric kettles and we recently bought a new one in a lovely pale blue, simple things make me happy. I've been cooking from Anna Jones books constantly for the past couple of years, her recipes are tasty and interesting. Her latest is my new favourite 'The Modern Cook's Year' - full of seasonal cooking. Enjoy your break and buy the travel kettle! Wilma D

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    1. It's so hard most places now to get a good cup of tea, and I really have to quell my temptation to lecture a bit. So sad to have a high-quality tea bag delivered on the saucer of a mugful of not-even-close-to-boiled water. . . .I don't have that Anna Jones book -- will have to see if I can find a copy to look through in Powell's Books today.

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  12. An electric kettle is an essential part of the fabric of life in Britain. It's as unthinkable to have a home without one as it it without a roof. And hotels and B&Bs will have one in the bedroom. Interesting that David Lebovitz feels that having an electric kettle makes him truly European. They are a comparatively recent introduction to continental Europe. When I lived in France in the late 70s/early 80s electric kettles were unknown. Water for tea was boiled in a saucepan on the stove. Even today coffee in Norway and Sweden tends to be cooked in a pan on the stove.
    Sadly kettles aren't what they were in my childhood. They were indestructible then, and if the element did ever give out you simple took it to the local electrical repair shop for a new one. Now we seem to replace a kettle every few years, and they are non-reparable.
    Love Anna Jones recipes.

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    1. Completely agree with you on the limited life of today's kettles. Perhaps at the upper stratosphere of price points, that changes, but my first kettle was the best model of a reliable, everyday brand (GE?) and it lasted perhaps 20 or 25 years. . . .These recent ones with the fancy LED lights might get through five years, tops.

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  13. In Australia and New Zealand everyone has an electric kettle (also known as a jug). I couldn't believe it the first time I went to the US and there wasn't one in my hotel room. Here, even the ghastliest motel room has a kettle :)

    I use mine for tea, instant coffee (not me, but anyone else who drinks the stuff) and lots of cooking stuff (soaking porcini or shiitake mushrooms, making saffron water, all those sorts of things).

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    1. Thank you for that new use of the word "jug" -- I'll be ready if I ever get to drink tea in Australia or New Zealand. Or to soak porcini mushrooms -- because you're right, the electric kettle is so useful for all kinds of cooking prep as well as making tea.

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    2. Also for Asian noodles. No, not those horrible instant ramen (though it would do those too), but soba and many kinds of rice noodles, bean thread and even the fine Chinese egg noodles.

      I used to have a Russel Hobbs, but it finally died. Now I just have a cheap Proctor Silex picked up at a garage sale, but I'd like a nicer one - though who knows whether better ones actually last longer nowadays?

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    3. I use mine for soaking dried shiitakes too!

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  14. Lovely mug!
    I have an electric kettle- but in my pantry-, I use nonelectric kettle every day,I'm the only one who regulary drinks tea in my house (although I would miss electric one in a hotel room indeed). But,there is always place for an espresso machine :-) in my kitchen
    I hope you'll find a little electric kettle ASAP-one feels much better with a proper cup of tea
    A couple of months ago,in Vienna,we had an electric kettle and Julius Meinl (love their coffee!) Capsule Espresso Machine in the hotel room and this was really great
    I haven't stay in any of croatian hotels for a while,but 10 years ago,in one of the best hotels in Dubrovnik,there was none.I really hope that it has changed and that we learn fast,because it is a small investment but a big impact and difference.
    Dottoressa

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    1. We won't be staying in any of the best hotels, but I'll let you know whether we find tea kettles in any of our accommodation this visit. . .

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  15. We've always had an electric ketttle - for tea and French Press coffee (have never liked coffee-makers as the water is never hot enough and really dislike single-use coffee makers). Growing up, I was always told that for a proper cup of tea the water should be boiling with bubbles the size of plovers' eggs; however, no-one in our family knew how big plover eggs were!
    Frances in Sidney

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    1. I've never heard that description of a "full rolling boil" but I love it!

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  16. I have a whistling kettle. Last visit to Paris, I marvelled at the beautiful and fast fast fast (voltage being what it is) electric kettle in the rental. When I confessed this to my daughter she said she felt the same. We learned to get the tea or coffee measured out first, THEN turn on the kettle. We laughed at ourselves, two simple Canadians, awestruck by technology.

    I saw on Instagram you found a kettle...enjoy your morning cup tomorrow!

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    1. Yes, that European voltage gets you there in a hurry!
      And I did, and my morning cup was good ;-)

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  17. As an Aussie it seems so strange for hotel rooms not to have a kettle - so useful for all sorts of hot beverages not just coffee and hot water bottles (I always travel with one). Have you seen these travel elements https://www.amazon.com/Lewis-N-Clark-Portable-Immersion/dp/B001U0PA7M/ref=cts_ap_1_vtp?dpID=418SSuZOCgL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=detail It would work well with one of those metal travel cups ?

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    1. Thank you for helping me find a replacement for my ancient one. I could not remember what these units are called!

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    2. I've resolved to get myself one of these before our next trip. So simple and portable. Thanks!

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  18. Stove top whistling tea kettle here for all boiling water needs, but my elderly parents always have an electric kettle mainly for tea. We are in Virginia in the US. I loath hotel coffee makers - we were staying in a Wyndam Suites place in Michigan last summer and when I griped about no kettle they offered either electric or an extra saucepan to heat water on the little stove - I attributed the civilized approach to the proximity of Canada.

    And I too love a pretty mug - those little thimble size cups in hotel rooms are ghastly.

    ceci

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    1. We do have a reputation, we Canadians, although we might not always live up to it. It was good of your Wyndam Suites to offer that -- wish the Embassy Suites here would have. . .

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  19. We have a spigot on our kitchen sink (next to the faucet) that has a "hot" and a "cold" lever for filtered water. The "instant hot" side is wonderful for my pour-over morning coffee and Japanese green tea in the afternoon. We used to have kettles but the installation of this device nine years ago during a mini-remodel of our kitchen was a revelation!
    Enjoy Portland! My sister and I spent three days there last summer and loved the Pearl District! Andino's Peruvian restaurant was marvelous for dinner. Deschutes Brewery was also delicious. And I think it was "25th" or "23rd" street some blocks away that was a darling area of shops, cafes, and ice cream!
    Charlene H

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    1. Green tea doesn't need the full boil, does it? How hot does that spigot get the water? Does it go to a full 212F/100C? If so, it's very convenient (although dangerous when the Grands are around. So much more efficient to heat close to the source -- would make so much more sense in hotels rather than running water from wherever the heating tank is.
      Thanks for the recommendations. We've been to Deschutes before, and are thinking of going there tonight. I really like that Nob Hill neighbourhood, and wandering it today in the sunshine was a delight (and I had ice cream, as you might have noticed on IG)

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    2. Not at boiling point but hot! Out of reach for the grands (good point!) but perfect for coffee, tea, and cooking. Saw your yummy cone from Salt and Straw! Continue to enjoy your Portland visit...especially now that you've found your kettle!
      Charlene H

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  20. I like your pretty tea mug. As a tea drinker, I sympathize with your dilemma...hotel not providing an electric kettle for your tea. I'm here in the US (Utah) and have had an electric tea kettle in my kitchen for the last twenty or so years. I hope one of your wonderful readers will clue you in where to find a small tea kettle in Portland. I hope you won't be deprived of your favorite cup of tea for too long. Yes, it can be made with some hotel room tepid water but in this day and age, who needs that...:) Have a good week stay in Portland.

    AM

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    1. I've got my new kettle, thanks to a reader.
      Thanks for your concern, AM ;-)

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  21. Enjoy Portland! Jealous of your Powell's visit. I'm a US midwesterner, and we always had a whistling stovetop kettle growing up. The spouse and I just bought an electric kettle as part of a hot beverage apparatus upgrade, and really like it! We use it for daily herbal tea (hers) and occasional pourover coffee (mine).

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    1. The aesthetics of the whistling stovetop, lovely. Efficiency, not so much, although they work well with a woodstove when you want some ongoing humidity. . . I like your beverage apparatus upgrade -- cute! ;-)

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  22. Have always used an electric kettle. It seemed such a waste to turn the stove on to heat water. When cooking pasta, I usually boil the water first in the kettle because it’s faster, even though I’ve got an induction stove.

    I never realized it was a regional thing.
    Ali

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    1. So much faster to boil in the kettle. This is Anna Jones' point as well in so many of her recipes.
      Neither did I guess it was regional. So interesting to find out.

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  23. When my mom moved into an assisted living facility in New England, there was no kitchen in her studio apartment, all meals being served in the dining room. However, there was an under-counter refrigerator and space on the counter for an appliance or two. She wanted to be able to offer tea to visitors, so had a favorite pair of mugs, and a matching cream and sugar set. I bought her an electric kettle and she was all set. The electric kettle created a sensation, with residents and staff dropping by to wonder at it, as if it were a marvel from another planet. And of course, my sociable mother was happy to have the opportunity to show it off, and to meet everyone in short order!

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    1. This is such a delightful contribution, Elle. I'm so tickled to hear how well an electric kettle served your mom in her new social environment. Very sweet.

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  24. Canadian. Had a stove-top kettle until the kitchen renovation and the instant hot water dispenser, which is perfect for my morning tea. I ALWAYS take loose tea and a mug when I travel, and usually ask for a kettle if I am staying in a hotel (used to bring one with me). Morning tea is a ritual that makes me at home where ever I am.
    My favourite tea? Murchie's Paris Afternoon. Lovely.

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    1. You know, I keep meaning to try that Paris Afternoon. Making a note once again. And you're right, it's such a grounding ritual that makes a home out of wherever we're sipping it.

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  25. Electric kettle for the last 45 yeaes and even longer if I think back to my parents' house. I use my kettle for tea only.....though it also comes in handy for boiling water to pour over stubbon weeds.

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    1. also ants

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    2. Ha! Two merciless gardeners unite via an electric kettle ;-)

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  26. American. Electric kettle for tea, and drip and filter coffee, since 1989 when I met my British ex. I have had the same Russell Hobbs ever since. They don't make my beloved model anymore, so I am especially protective of it. I used to use a stove-top tea kettle, as my mom did, but my ex pointed out it was wasteful in comparison to an electric kettle, and I slowly became a convert. My beautiful stove-top tea kettle is packed away. I don't miss it. My Russell Hobbs is so central to my day, it made the cut to come with me when I stored the majority of my possessions. It's on my house-hosts counter as I type.

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    1. I'm impressed that your kettle has lasted so long -- even longer, I'd guess, than my first kettle. The new ones die much more quickly, and I'm not sure how well they're recycled. . .

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  27. As an Englishwoman, a kettle comes as part of the territory. We always have an electric kettle and have got through a few in 28
    years of marriage, currently using a jaunty red model. However, I yearn for a kettle that goes on the hob, preferably a whistler. I use the kettle every day at least 10 times and it is always filled when I am cooking, just in case. Like you, I have suffered in hotel rooms and had just recently decided to pack my own mug and my own tea when travelling because it just isn't the same - tiny cup, weird tea. In UK it is generally not a problem finding a kettle in travel accommodation (and biscuits...) but often tricky abroad. In Rome, where we rented an apartment, I hunted high and low in the kitchen before realising that it would be the tiny egg pan that would be helping me brew up each day. It is only really in the last few years that I have become a real tea fan and that is probably due to giving up all instant coffee. Jasmine and green tea...how I love these. And, of course, Yorkshire tea which is my daily brew. Double strength, this. I took it to China with me years ago and it was a daily delight to uncork the huge thermos filled with scalding water that was a feature of every Chinese hotel room and pour it over the fragrant tea bags. And now, if you will excuse me, I will go and put the kettle on. Again.

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    1. I bet I use mine that often as well -- I'll have to count when I'm back home.
      Chuckling at you in Rome boiling up six or eight ounces at a time!
      The Chinese, of course, have a longstanding appreciation of tea -- I love that you had a thermos of really hot water at the ready. . .

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    2. We realised at my former university that we were getting consistently negative feedback from Chinese students in the category of 'study environment'. Much jumping to conclusions about the need for IT upgrades, but then a bit of delving uncovered that they wanted ready access to electric kettles so that they could top up the thermos flasks they all carried for brewing tea when on campus. Student satisfaction problem solved with the purchase of kettles.

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    3. What a great tea-kettle anecdote, Linda! It's the little things, right?

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  28. No electric kettle? How does the world keep turning? I am always astounded when we go to a rental property somewhere abroad (ie not the UK) and there is no kettle. Surely it is so much easier, quicker, safer and all the rest of it to switch on an electric device, go away and get on with your life, and then come back when it has turned itself off having reached boiling point? Tea, instant coffee (which is what we call pour over coffee, I think), and all the rest on pretty much tap.
    Makes me wonder - what do other friends find they miss when they come to the UK (or elsewhere) which they regard as non negotiable at home? I'm thinking that iced water may be one such thing.

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    1. Hello Ceri in Bristol...I'm not a coffee connoisseur but my understanding of "pour-over coffee" in Southern California refers to freshly ground coffee beans (in a burr grinder) measured into a cone with a filter. This helps my husband and I limit our coffee intake as we make one cup at a time. The full flavor of this method converted us... ...I sound like a coffee snob. Sorry! :)
      Charlene H

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    2. Isn't it astonishing the way something we consider indispensable is not even thought of by others? And yes, what do friends miss when they visit us?
      I'm SO not a fan of ice water, and it's obvious that it's thought of as absolutely "comme il faut" in many places. I grit my teeth and brace for the ice-cream headache.
      And yes, Charlene, this is what pour-over coffee means here as well. What we used to call drip coffee or Melitta drip. . . At least, I think those are the same. . .

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    3. Aha, thank you Charlene for the explanation. I think we would call that filter coffee. Love it that despite the homogenisation of language throughout the English speaking world there are still some local differences.

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  29. I can just about remember my parents using a stove kettle but they switched as soon as electric kettles arrived here in the UK. I can only imagine the waste of energy used by boiling a kettle on the hob. We use our electric kettle for tea, coffee and cooking - far quicker to add a pre-boiled kettle of water to the pan for pasta than waiting for it to come to the boil on the hob. My next kitchen will have one of the new taps that dispenses "ordinary" hot and cold water, filtered water and boiling water and my electric kettle will gather dust in a cupboard.

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    1. I wonder if there will be a widespread acquisition of electric kettles as we all become more aware of our consumption of energy. But then there'll be the energy and materials consumed in making the kettles. It's all so complicated! Sigh. . .

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  30. No electric kettle for me. I do not like tea and I do not like coffee (nor does my husband). I like hot chocolate made with ready made mix and hot water which I heat in a cup in the microwave (one of the very few things I use the microwave for). Your new cup is beautiful.

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    1. Oops, forgot - I live in the United States.

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    2. The microwave is all you need, then, until you get one of those Instant Hot spigots some of the commenters mention above. . .

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  31. Goodness...lots of people have an opinion about kettles!:) Downeaster here... must have kettle. Feel deprived without mt cup of tea. Growing up the kettle was always filled and gently steaming on the side of the old woodstove in the kitchen. I've always made tea with an electric kettle.
    Travelling through England and Scotland was wonderful partly because there is always a lovely tea tray in the room with a kettle, an assortment of teas, and a couple of treats. Sometimes here in North America we miss out. No kettle, must use the coffee maker to make tea, and often only two tea bags provided. With coffee whitener...yuk!
    New Zealand and Australia had the best set-up. In many accommodations in NZ, at check-in, we were given a small picture of milk to put in our mini-fridge. So civilized. One place in Tasmania even sold quality loose tea at the reception desk.
    Stu says: "Only you, Suz, would remember so clearly the tea situation in every place we've travelled."

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    1. When you're next in the UK - always ask for a fresh jug of milk, you're unlikely to be refused. We stay at a wonderful place in Leicestershire a couple of years ago - there was always a giant homemade cake left for guests to help themselves with all manner of soft drinks, teas and coffee in the dining room downstairs as well as homemade biscuits, teas, instant coffee and filter coffee in our bedrooms.

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    2. So true that the UK, even in places at our modest budget, offer a hospitality that includes breakfast as well as the makings of a very basic afternoon tea (often just biscuits in a package, sure, but it helps when you're feeling "just a bit peckish."

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    3. There are very nice biscuits for coffee or tea in the Netherlands as well. Well, the US word "cookie" comes from the Dutch for "little cake", but the good Dutch one's I've had are hard and not too sweet, like the UK ones for tea.

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  32. I can't imagine a kitchen without an electric kettle. I start all boiling on the stove with a boiled kettle full of water, unless it is a root vegetable, in which case it starts in cold.And how do you fill a hot water bottle without one? Still very much in need of one of those here in the UK as we reach Spring equinox.

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    1. Another vote for using the electric kettle to expedite cooking. I'm with you.

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  33. Hi Frances, happy to see that you bought a kettle! I would have done the same :) I’ve noticed hotels are removing kettles in favour of coffee makers. Plus, I wish more hotels would provide fresh milk. I must admit tea is one of the few things I really dislike... both the taste and the smell! Although I do drink various fruit and herb teas.
    At home, I can’t imagine being without a kettle. I have an electric one that I use when I’m cooking, tea for guests, cafetière or French press coffee etc. In fact my husband has recently bought one that heats water to various specific temperatures, so he can get the exact temperature( not boiling!) when he’s making coffee in the cafetière ... I’ve not actually used it :) but he’s pleased with it!
    I hope you’re having fun in Portland...
    Rosie

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    1. A dislike for tea! Horrors! ;-)
      Your husband's new kettle sounds very high-tech. Something A in London (above) might like . . . flashing LED lights?

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    2. Something we have in common there Rosie . I thought I was the only English woman who can’t bear tea ! Who’d have thought there’d be so many comments about kettles :)
      Wendy in York

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  34. Oh, your new mug is the essence of spring! As for electric kettles in Portland, there are two Walmarts Supercenters near Portland, at 4200 Se 82nd Ave
    Portland, OR 97266 the online listing shows this in stock:
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-1-7L-White-Color-Plastic-Kettle/55397217 or try a hardware store downtown.

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  35. Oops, cut myself off. $15; there is also a Krupps stainless one, more expensive.

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    1. Thanks very much, K. Isn't it a cheery mug (would make a sweet scarf, that print).
      I scooted out soon after I posted yesterday, when Beth told me (on Instagram, I think) where I could find one at Target, only half a kilometre or so from where I'm staying. You readers are so very helpful.

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  36. I totally do have an electric kettle - it is important to make sure there is no plastic on the inside of the kettle, all stainless is best for health (says the Californian). So I have great hot water, and then I commit the heresy of using teabags!!! See, that way each cup is super hot, which I like.

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    1. We always used teabags, growing up, and as far as I can remember, my Yorkshire granny probably used them as well. I just like the whole ritual of the leaves unfurling, etc.(don't mind the floaters that escape the strainer either). You could get a super hot cup if you used a teaball for your loose tea (or those T-Sac Tea Filter Bags that you fill yourself -- I tried them once, too much hassle ;-) Don't we have way too many choices?!😂

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  37. I come from a tea drinking familiy though Germany is mostly coffee country. My mother taught me to brew tea the proper way from loose tea leaves (which were completely exotic at the time and had to be purchased via mail order). I saw my first electric kettle in the UK in 1970. But I had to use a kettle on the stove for many more years before electric kettles became available here. Unfortunately, they seem to be a case of planned obsolescence, none of my kettles has served me for more than about four years. My present model heats water at different temperatures, very useful for preparing green tea, too. And next to my kettle on my kitchen counter there sits a tiny, old-fashioned Gaggia for my afternoon cappuccino.

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    1. Sounds as if you have the same model as Rosie's husband is enjoying, the precisely heated water.
      Oh, that Gaggia! It's all in the details, right?

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  38. American- North Carolina & Virginia. I have never heard of an electric kettle. Oh, I can hear your gasps now! It's been a fun education for me to read all of your comments. I have a British friend so I know the importance of a good cuppa.

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    1. Gasping! (#kiddingnotkidding) -- isn't interesting how pronounced are these regional differences we weren't aware of!

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  39. We just don’t use the electric tea kettle for the most part. As someone who doesn’t like a lot of kitchen things, I wouldn’t get one, I use the stove and a stainless steel kettle with a thermometer. Maybe carry a travel-size electric kettle with you? You can’t make good tea without the right temperature water.

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    1. I'm not keen on an abundance of kitchen gadgets either, but the energy-saving efficiency (not to mention speed) of the electric kettle makes it a Must-Have for me. And yes, from now on, I'm "Have Electric Kettle, Will Travel". . .

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  40. Wendy and Rosie,
    Think you should prepare yourselves for the official letter asking you to turn your British passports in...don't like tea?!
    Unheard of. Next you'll be telling us you don't drink British beer. What IS the world coming to?!
    A.in London

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  41. Born in Toronto, living in Atlanta, Georgia for almost 40 years with no electric kettle. First time my parents visited they had to boil water in a sauce pan on the stove! I don't drink tea or coffee so I never missed having a kettle. They bought a kettle and a tea pot on the second day of their visit and I still have both in my kitchen.

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    1. What a great story! I hope they used it many times since that first visit. I have to admit I would probably have done the same thing. . .

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  42. Just have to say, not only have I recently had a British stainless tea pot sent to me that will hereafter go in my suitcase - a proper cuppa in new cities is vital to my well being! but when the crisis of broken kettle struck a few weeks ago, a trip to Target to replace it instantly became the urgent errand of the day. Proper tea does "ground" me, wherever I am in the world. American, daughter of British mum and Canadian dad, I drink Murchies which I buy on-line and have sent to me. "Nectar of the gods" my father would say.

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    1. It is really grounding, isn't it, that proper cup of tea. The whole ritual of making it seems to reassure and it's such a comforting drink, especially when it carries memories of our parents, as for you and me.

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  43. Oh, I feel your pain! As a life long tea (only- no coffee) drinker I am driven to madness by one who suggests a satisfactory cup of tea can be made from a COFFEE MAKER. (Pardon me, I had to shout!!) I have had an electric kettle for 30+ years. Although I do not travel with it, I do scope out the area near my hotel for a decent tea shop. No shop- no checking in! Thanks for letting me vent over one of my top 5 pet peeves!!

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  44. I am a Virginia girl. Moved to Tasmania in 1981 and was introduced to loose tea and electric jugs. Moved to Devon in 1997, electric kettle.
    I'm thinking they didn't catch on in the US as most Americans seem to prefer iced tea and iced anything. I prefer English and European pastries because they aren't overly sweet, perhaps because they use sugar instead of corn syrup, and less of it.

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    1. It's true -- I was served more ice water in five days than I would be in a whole summer month here (exaggerating, but not too much).
      You've made some interesting moves, and I expect you have a number of fascinating small regional differences about food/beverage preparation and serving.

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  45. Growing up with a Canadian mother and her 8 sisters (in a family of 16 from northern Alberta) there was always a tea kettle and a tea caddy at our house. All my married life I’ve had an electric tea pot. Living in Texas, all I could get when I asked for tea was sweet ice tea �� It is better now, but when traveling, I always take my Gourmia collapsing tea kettle, a little teapot, a china cup, and a container with an assortment of tea. It fits into a special carrier that goes with me whenever I travel anywhere.
    In my middle school library, I created a tea room out of an unused conference area. For almost 20 years I had tea parties for my students and faculty. It was welcoming place for all. I also taught students to knit. Now that I am retired, I do miss those days.

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    1. That's a big family!
      I'm thinking I need one of those Gourmia kettles for travel, but also thinking an immersion heater might do the trick.
      Picturing those tea parties and smiling -- and how sweet that you taught students to knit. You'll be remembered through sweaters, scarves, hats, and socks.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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