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For a long time, I didn’t understand much about the process of making coffee. I knew that coffee from a café tasted better, but I didn’t know why. The more I learned, the more I realized how important every little detail is.
When I advanced from a basic drip coffee maker to pour-over, I was just using a regular kettle. It did the job, right?
No, not really. For pour-over coffee, it’s best to use a gooseneck kettle. These are designed to slow down the flow of water. On top of that, the spout is designed to give you more control over where the water goes. This review of the Soulhand Gooseneck Kettle 51oz/1500ML will talk about why that’s important and how this kettle fits the bill.
When using a regular tea kettle to make pour-over coffee, the water comes out very fast. The force of the water pushes the coffee grinds up on the sides of the filter. Since the grounds are high and dry, the rich flavor and aroma are trapped in the ground beans and don't make it into the cup. The portion of grinds that are on the lower half of the filter get over-extracted, and your coffee will likely taste bitter.
With a gooseneck kettle, you control the rate of flow. The slow pour means that the grounds stay as a flat bed. Ideally, you want the flow rate into the dripper about the same as the drip rate into your cup. This gives the most even extraction.
Not all gooseneck kettles give the same flow rate. The Soulhand Gooseneck has two bends in the neck instead of long, continuous curves. That, combined with the narrow spout, gives an especially slow pour. This helps keep the water at the same level throughout the brewing process.
The kettle is suitable for use on electric, induction, halogen, and radiant stoves. It is not for use on gas stoves. While Soulhand does offer kettles with a built-in thermometer, this particular kettle does not.
The first impression when taking this out of the box was, “it’s adorable!” The wooden handle has an elegant curve and the wood pull-knob on the lid stays cool. The lid fits snug to help speed the heating time.
Make sure you follow the instructions for preparation before use. The printed directions may seem a bit much. But unless you want to consume glue or whatever else is leftover from the manufacturing process, follow them completely.
First, wash two or three times with a gentle detergent. Usually, that’s enough, but not for this kettle. Next, you must boil and throw away water once or twice. There is a sticky residue in the kettle that does not come off with just washing or using hot water. Only after boiling was the residue completely removed.
The kettle lists a 1.5-liter full capacity, with a 1.0-liter practical capacity. That is plenty to wet the filter, preheat the dripper, and brew two good-sized mugs of coffee. And the water was nowhere near boiling over.
The kettle fits perfectly over the small burner of an electric stove. That maximizes energy efficiency and helps keep the handle cool. This kettle does not have a thermometer. So, after the boil, we let it set to cool for about 30 seconds.
The kettle itself is relatively lightweight. It has impressive control for flow rate and accuracy. We used an Ecuador single-origin coffee from Atlas Coffee Club. The consistent pour produced a rich, flavorful cup of pour-over coffee.
After the kettle cools, it’s important to dry the inside. That will prevent rust and leakage. The lid opening was wide enough to get my hand completely inside the kettle. But I have relatively small hands. If you have large hands, you might want a kettle with a larger opening.
This kettle has several features that make it a good choice for brewing pour-over coffee. Here are those features and why they’re important.
The wood handle extends a decent distance from the kettle. We were able to grasp the handle without our fingers getting near the kettle. The curve of the handle not only looks nice but is functional too. It was comfortable to hold and pour.
While most gooseneck kettles have a continuous s-curve, the neck of this Soulhand kettle has two bends. These more abrupt bends slow the flow rate even further. That, combined with the narrowness of the spout, gives a very slow pour. It was easy to minutely adjust the flow rate and keep a steady stream. While great for coffee, it might be slightly annoying to make tea, oatmeal, or other foods and drinks that use hot water.
With the angled cut on the spout, the water makes a 90-degree angle from the spout to the coffee grinds. This makes it more comfortable and allows precision control of where the water goes. It’s easy to keep the grounds completely saturated without accidentally pouring directly on the filter. If you pour directly on the filter, the water goes straight into the cup and dilutes your coffee.
The inner layer of the kettle is surgical-grade stainless steel. This helps with longevity. The outer layer is magnetic stainless steel. This allows better heat transfer and is corrosion resistant. The layer in-between is pure aluminum. That gives fast conduction and distributes heat evenly. The only concern is that the seam may be prone to leaking. To prevent that, be sure to dry the kettle after every use.
This kettle comes with a rubber cover for the spout. This may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes it’s the little things that matter. The tip of the spout is actually quite sharp. Keeping this cap on the spout when not in use spares you from gouging your hand when you bump it into the kettle. Believe me. It can happen.
The pour-over brew method can create exceptional coffee that highlights the flavor nuances of the bean. If you are making pour-over, you’ll get a consistently better result by using a gooseneck kettle. While most gooseneck kettles serve the same basic function, there are a few things to consider before making your purchase.
This compact, lightweight kettle is perfect for kitchens that don’t have a ton of storage space. The controlled flow rate can elevate your coffee from ordinary to extraordinary. But not everyone wants a super-slow flow. If you often make tea or other foods and drinks, you might consider a kettle with gentle curves and a wider spout.
Another main decision is if you want a stovetop or electric kettle. The stovetop gooseneck kettles are usually much less expensive than electric. They don’t have any electric or electronic components that may go bad, and you’ll never lose the cord. It’s also easier to store. Also, if you already have a regular-spout electric kettle, you can then pour the hot water into this kettle to perfect the pour-over.
On the other hand, electric kettles can be more convenient. They often heat up faster than the stovetop models. Also, some electric kettles can keep consistent heat for a long period of time. Some have precise temperature settings for different types of drinks such as black tea, herb tea, and coffee.
Speaking of temperature, some stovetop kettles have a built-in thermometer in the lid. While this particular kettle does not have one, you can pay a little more and get one with a built-in thermometer. While not absolutely necessary, it could be helpful, especially if you make a variety of hot drinks.
While we enjoyed this particular gooseneck kettle, we realize that everyone has different needs and preferences. If the Soulhand kettle is not for you, here are a few other gooseneck kettles to consider.
If money is no object and convenience is everything, consider this Fellow Stagg EKG+ kettle. Its 1200-watt heating element can boil water in a couple of minutes. It can then hold that temperature for 60 minutes. You can select a temperature anywhere between 135 and 212 degrees. It's also Bluetooth-enabled. With the app for either iPhone or Android, you can turn the kettle on from anywhere, even from your bed.
This stovetop kettle has many of the same features and benefits as the kettle reviewed here. It's slightly smaller, but the main difference is the built-in thermometer in the lid. The thermometer goes up to 230 degrees. For convenience, there are red lines to precisely mark between 190 and 210 degrees.
This mid-range electric kettle is built to be easy to use. It has five temperature settings. Each one is labeled by the type of brewing it's best for. For example, there's a setting for white tea, which brews best at 170 degrees. And of course, there's a setting for 205 degrees to brew pour-over coffee. It takes three to five minutes for the water to come to a boil. A simple press of the Hold Temp button will keep the water at your chosen temperature for an hour.
With this gooseneck kettle from Soulhand, you can make perfectly brewed pour-over coffee at home. The shape of the spout maintains a gentle water flow, and the angled tip provides for precision pouring. To take your brewing to the next level, click here to check out this Soulhand Gooseneck Kettle.