The 8 Best Copper Kettles
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in January of 2016. Why boil water in just any old saucepan when you can prepare your hot drinks in style by using one of these attractive copper kettles. In addition to being elegant, they are more efficient than stainless steel or aluminum, and a high-quality model can last for 20 years or longer. They are lined with nonreactive nickel or tin to keep heavy metals out of your beverages. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 04, 2020:
In today’s update, we added in the Simplex Kensington, an elegant, tried-and-true model that’s made in England by a company that’s been around for more than a century. It was named in honor of Queen Victoria’s birthplace of Kensington Palace. It’s made of solid copper with a safe, nonreactive tin liner and a stable, flat bottom. It’s also available in a shiny chrome option, and both feature a handsome bird’s beak-style spout for an optimum pour. While it is a bit of an investment, it’s capable of lasting for the long haul, and does come backed by a one-year warranty. The Old Dutch Teakettle also joins the list today as an attractive option with a modern touch, thanks to its brass handle, knob, and spout. It’s good for both gas and electric stoves, and a four-piece matching canister set is available.
For a large option that’s good for serving a crowd, look to the Demmex 2019, which we kept in a prominent spot on the list. It’s made by hand by artisans in Turkey, and its intricate engravings are sure to impress your guests while you’re pouring their tea. Like the Simplex model, it’s lined with tin. For a similar selection from the same manufacturer, yet one that’s smaller with a different shape, look to the Demmex Heavy Gauge, which can hold up to 1-3/4 quarts of water. It features elegant engravings on its spout, and the manufacturer’s name is engraved on bottom. An attractive kettle for a coffee lover is the Barista Warrior Drip Kettle, which actually is only copper plated, but this makes it usable on almost any kind of cooktop, including induction ones. It offers a gooseneck spout for precise water flow, so it's great for making pour-over coffee. The lid is equipped with an integrated thermometer, and included is an e-book with handy usage instructions and tips.
July 30, 2019:
When cooking with copper, safety is important so that the copper doesn't leach into your water or other foods. All the choices on this list, whether all-copper or not, are lined with either a thin coating of tin, or a stainless or nickel layer for food safety reasons. So even the most expensive, hand-made pieces will not be copper on the inside.
While the Old Dutch Ganymeade offers an durable, easy to clean choice with its bonded copper/stainless steel material, while retaining excellent heat conductivity, we had to remove the brand's older Old Dutch 2.5 Quart and the Old Dutch Solid choices from this list because these similar all-copper models both suffered from numerous reports of their spouts falling off with time.
Although not all users have a burner small enough to heat the tiny Copperbull Hammered, we decided to include it because many people decorate with copper cookware that they don't really use because they don't want it to tarnish. Plus even if you don't want to heat it on the stove it still makes a great serving piece because copper retains heat so well.
Richmond Heritage Since 1893, the Richmond Kettle Company has offered hand-made copper kettles using traditional Edwardian techniques. Aside from the excellent craftsmanship of the kettle itself, they are also known for their notorious whistling lids. Aside from the original Heritage style, the company offers several distinctive lines, and some that are crafted just for use on gas, electric or even induction stoves. richmondkettlecompany.com
A Brief History Of Kettles
In actuality, kettle usage dates at least back to 3500 B.C.E., in Mesopotamia.
It's easy to calculate the exact moment kettles were first invented. All you have to do is find out how old England is, subtract one day, and there's your answer.
In actuality, kettle usage dates at least back to 3500 B.C.E., in Mesopotamia. The Chinese used kettles as early as 2700 B.C.E., around the same time they discovered that tea leaves could make boiled water delicious. Soldiers and travelers would also boil water to make it potable whenever they were in unfamiliar locations.
Meanwhile, in Europe, people discovered that you could add wheat grain to your boiling water and make malt beer. They also heated the water to remove impurities, but the main benefit was getting drunk.
Eventually, kettles began to be made of iron instead of brass, and were designed to be placed directly into fires. This came in very handy for cowboys on cattle drives, as they could have their morning coffee even when lacking all the accouterments of home.
The basic design stayed the same for hundreds of years. While their construction is very simple, they're actually capable of some pretty complicated thermodynamics, and the reason why kettles whistle when the water boils has only recently been discovered.
A big breakthrough in kettle technology came in 1891, when the Carpenter Electrical Company released an electric model. It had all of the components arranged in separate compartments, which meant the water took a while to boil, around 20 minutes or so.
Inventors continued to tinker with the design, and by the mid-20th century they'd created a truly awe-inspiring creation: a kettle that was capable of killing you. Many electric models would catch fire if they were left on too long and all the water boiled off, so manufacturers installed a fail-safe that would turn the machine off after the water was gone.
There was one problem with this design: people would become curious as to why their kettle had mysteriously stopped working, and would poke around inside the kettle to try to find the source of the problem. Instead, they'd find only death by electrocution.
This tended to not sit well with the general public, and so a new safety device was needed. The improved version would shut the machine off once the water boiled, rather than after it had all evaporated. At long last, humanity had tamed the wild kettle.
Kettles are now found in homes across the world, but like many other devices, many people have drifted away from the latest technology in favor of tried-and-true methods from the past. As a result, copper kettles have enjoyed a big resurgence in popularity, for reasons we'll get into in the next section.
Benefits Of Using A Copper Kettle
If you're truly serious about making the best tea possible, then you need a copper kettle.
Assuming you're thorough in your scrubbing, it won't retain any flavors from old teas.
Copper is one of the best metals at conducting heat, which is why it's also used in high-end pots and pans. This means your water will boil faster than you're used to if you've been working with other materials, which is fantastic if you need a cuppa in a hurry (and when do you not need your caffeine fix as soon as possible?).
Your water boiling faster means you'll use less gas or electricity, so it's better for the environment, as well. Of course, if you're making enough tea that it actually harms the environment, it may be time to cut back a little.
Copper won't rust, so even if you leave your kettle in the sink for days on end it will still be ready to go the next time you need it (wash it out first though, please).
Assuming you're thorough in your scrubbing, it won't retain any flavors from old teas. If you're the type who likes to experiment with a new brew every single day, it's nice to be able to taste the untainted flavor, rather than a hodgepodge of every tea you've ever made.
Beyond that, a copper kettle will make a classy addition to your kitchen. They're extremely elegant, so you can pretend you're serving tea to the queen every time your friends come over.
Copper Isn't All Sunshine And Rainbows, However
While copper is definitely one of the best materials that cookware can be made out of, it isn't without its drawbacks.
The biggest is that, unless it's lined with another metal like nickel or stainless steel, the copper can leach out into your tea. That's fine in small doses, but over time it can be toxic. This is really only a problem with much older, antique models, though, so if you buy a newer one you should be fine.
Oh, and hand dry it thoroughly, or else you'll have to deal with spotting.
They're also difficult to keep bright and shiny. While it won't rust, the metal tarnishes easily, so expect to spend a lot of time polishing it. You'll also likely need to wash it by hand, so don't expect to just toss it in the dishwasher when you're done. Oh, and hand dry it thoroughly, or else you'll have to deal with spotting.
It's also a relatively soft metal, so don't think you can bang it around like you do your stainless steel gadgets. It can dent or scratch easily.
Copper isn't cheap, either, so expect to pay a little more than you would for one made of stainless steel or other materials. You'll definitely get plenty of value for that money, but if you only drink tea every now and then, it might not be worth it for you.
Ultimately, though, we believe that you'll be so impressed by your new kettle that you might want to trade in all of your cookware in for copper versions.