This is my Sage smart kettle review, after just over a week of use. My family and I have been using the kettle for the past week or so, and I now feel suitably qualified to write this honest user review.
Since I’m asking the question in the post title “best kettle in UK?” I think it’s going to be obvious from the outset that I’m impressed by this kettle, but best is a subjective word. So rather than to just rave about the smart kettle, I’m going to try to do my best to share my experience of using this kettle with you, so you can make your mind up whether or not this is the best kettle for you.
So without any further waffle:
Sage Smart Kettle Review – is this the Best Kettle in the UK?
A couple of years back when coffeeblog was in it’s infancy, Sage by Heston Blumenthal sent me their benchmark bean to cup espresso machine Sage the Oracle, so I could use it for a week and create a review. This was very trusting of Sage Appliances, they didn’t know me from Adam (who’s Adam?). The blog was a few months old, and they were sending me a machine worth nearly two thousand pounds. I did actually plan to leave the country with it, but it’s a bit on the heavy side, so I let them have it back ;-).
I was very impressed with the oracle, such a clever machine! So when I was deciding on which grinder to go for, I didn’t need to spend long on the decision to go for the smart grinder pro. This proved to be a very good decision, and over a year later I’m still loving this grinder. It’s so simple to use, does its job brilliantly, has all of the features I could need, and it looks great.
So when I heard that Sage Appliances make a kettle, I knew without even seeing it that it wasn’t going to be just a bog standard kettle. Judging by their other appliances, I would expect it to be one of the best kettles in the UK – well the world actually, since they’re a worldwide brand (although they’re only called Sage by Heston Blumenthal in the UK, because they couldn’t use their usual brand name “Breville” here.). I was very keen on trying it, so I decided I would do what I did with the oracle, use it for a week and then decide what I think.
What They Say
I’ll share all the manufacturers features and blurb first, and then I’ll get into my review.
- Five variable temperature settings from 80 degrees Celsius to boiling for optimal tea and coffee
- Soft open cushioned control lid prevents splash back from hot condensed water
- Keep warm function keeps the kettle ready for 20 minutes for another cuppa
- Clear, easy-view, dual-sided water windows make it easy to see water levels
- Wide opening lid offers easy access for cleaning
The Smart Kettle: with Five Temperature Settings for Optimal Tea Flavour
“Coffee and tea release lots of bitter compounds if they’re put into water that’s too hot.”
So it seems obvious to make a kettle that gives you the right temperature for the right ingredients.
The five temperature settings on this kettle are ideal for green, white, oolong and black tea as well as for coffee. These settings take the guesswork out of making the optimal cup. It also has a rapid boil function and a ‘keep warm’ setting to hold the temperature of the water for up to 20 minutes.
Heston’s Tip: When it comes to brewing, the less oxidised teas like green and white teas release their tannins at a lower temperature. If you brew too hot, the bitter flavours overpower the tea. Conversely, if you brew too cold you don’t release enough flavour from the leaf. The right balance is all about the right temperature.
Because Different Teas Require Different Temperatures
To extract the most delicate flavours, different teas need to be steeped at different temperatures. But how do you get it right without using a thermometer?
Five pre-programmed temperature buttons tell you which temperature to select for which type of tea. It heats to the selected temperature, turns itself off and, if selected, will even keep warm for 20 minutes after heating. It features a push button, soft opening lid to prevent hot water splatter, 1.7 L cordfree jug, concealed element and a scale filter.
Different teas brew best at different temperatures. Choose from variable temperature settings. The kettle automatically turns off and also has a keep warm feature.
Slow Release Lid
A push button, slow release lid prevents hot water splashes when opening and staggers steam release.
Dual High Visibility Windows
Highly transparent water windows make filling fast and easy. Positioned on both sides for maximum versatility.
The kettle senses pressure and turns off once boiled or when there is no water in the kettle.
What I say – My Sage Smart Kettle Review
Love it. It’s without a doubt the best kettle I’ve ever used, and I’ll break it down below into the features I’m impressed with:
Pre-Set Temperature settings
The first thing that grabbed my attention about the smart kettle when I saw it online, was the way it looks, very pretty. But the second thing that got my attention, was the pre-set water temperatures.
When I’m brewing for V60, Aeropress / Oomph etc., I tend to just boil the kettle and then leave it a couple of minutes to cool off a bit depending on the brew method, which isn’t exactly an exact science! I know some people wait with thermometer for the water to cool down to the desired temp, and I’ve done that myself in the past but most of the time I’m just not patient enough for that, especially in the day when I need to get back to work, or to at least pretending that I’m working ;-).
I have thought in the past that it would be handy to have a kettle which will not actually boil the water, but instead will heat it to an exact temperature, and the smart kettle does a lot more than this!
It has five pre-set temperature buttons, 80, 85, 90, 95 & 100 C. You just press whichever temp you want to use, and it will stay on that setting until you choose another one.
I do appreciate that people have different desired brew temperatures, which might not be covered exactly by these pre-sets, but they’re going to be much closer than the standard 100C. Aerobie recommend 80C for Aeropress for medium and dark roasts, and 85C for light roasts. They spent a lot of time taste testing and found that these were the temperatures which provided the optimum brews.
At the last World Aeropress Championships, the winner Lukas Zahradnik from Slovakia, used 79C water, Nick Hatch from Canada in second place used 85C, Kaye Joy Ong in third place from Philippines used 79C, so it does seem that heating the water to 80C and then either using straight away or leaving to cool slightly, isn’t a bad plan.
V60 optimum brew temperatures vary depending on who you speak to, but generally between 91 – 96, so again these pre-set buttons get you much closer to an optimum brew temp for v60 than a standard 100C boiling kettle. Temperatures are similar for cafetiere, so again you can get close to the optimum temperature for brewing with cafetiere with the pre-set temps.
Keep Warm Function
There’s a keep warm button, so you press it and it keeps the water warm for 20 minutes at the desired pre-set temp, from 95 and below. In other words it won’t keep it at 100C as it would need to keep continually boiling, but it will keep it at 95, 90, 85, or 80 for you for 20 minutes if you like. I’m not sure of the economical and environmental impact of the keep warm function, maybe it uses less energy keeping the water warm for 20 mins than it would to let the water cool and then heat the water again? I don’t have one of them smart energy meter things, but if I did I’d check that.
I see this as a handy feature when it comes to keeping the water at the desired temp if your brew temp you prefer happens to be exactly as per one of the pre-set buttons. For instance if you’re brewing for Aeropress and you’re going for 80C, if you’re not ready for the water yet when it beeps at you to tell you it’s ready, you can press the keep warm button and keep it exactly at 80 until you’re ready to use the water. If you’re wanting a temp a couple of c below one of the pre-set temps though then you’ll probably want to leave it for a minute or two without the keep warm function on, to cool down to the desired temp.
Filled to 1.7L, it took 3 minutes 49 seconds, and with 1L of water it took 2 minutes 16 seconds to reach boiling temp. This is faster than our regular kettle, and it’s more than quick enough for me. I tried to find a table of average kettle boiling times, but couldn’t find much, although I found some people saying their kettle took 4 minutes or more when full.
To get to 80C with .5L of water, enough for one or two cups, took one minute 12 minutes. 1.2 minutes to reach 80C at 750ml, and 1.45 to heat one litre of water to 80c.
A very satisfying slow opening lid from the push of a button. OK maybe small things amuse small minds, but I like this! 😉
Cleary see the water volume.
It doesn’t sound all that important, but it’s a positive thing to be able to easily see how much water you’ve put into a kettle, and you don’t need to try too hard with the smart kettle to see the water level.
There is only one, which is that according to the blurb, the kettle knows when it’s been put on with no water in, and turns off, which seems like a very good feature. I tried it with no water on, and it started to boil as if there was water in. To be honest I didn’t leave it very long and took it off the plate straight away rather than to allow the element to burn out, so it may be that it would have turned off if I had left it for longer. This isn’t a huge issue though, I wouldn’t decide not to buy the smart kettle due to this, I only mention it as it’s a feature listed in the blurb.
The second is the price, RRP is £99.99 although it’s on offer at the moment for £89.99 here. I would think that this is too much for most people to justify spending on a kettle, given that the best selling kettle on Amazon is £16.99. Having said that, this isn’t a cheap kettle, like other Sage Appliances it has obviously been made purely with quality and features in mind, it looks and feels very high quality. Also it’s not just a normal kettle, it has the obvious benefits of the lower pre-set temperatures for various teas and coffee brewing methods.
I have seen another temperature control kettle available for roughly half the price, but the fact that they have mis-spelled kettle in the product description raises a question mark, as does the fact that most of the only handful of 5 star Amazon reviews look very suspect…
Best kettle in the UK?
This is without a doubt the best kettle I have ever used, but I can’t conclude from this that it’s the best kettle in the UK, as I’ve not tried all of the other kettles, or any of the other kettles generally rated among the best. Also as I said earlier, “best” is a subjective word, and it depends on what features are important to you. I would go so far as to say that I regard it as probably being one of the best kettles available in the UK from what I have experienced, for my personal requirements.
In terms of the variable temperature kettles, I can see that the smart kettle has some competition mainly in the form of the gooseneck temperature controlled kettles, anyone mainly using a kettle for pourover filter coffee may prefer gooseneck to a standard kettle. There are cheaper standard style kettles with temperature control, but they mainly look like cheaper copies of the smart kettle, and some of them seem to have some strange pre-set temps.