The gadget will help you make more than a cup of tea

Credit: Photo by Adam Gault via Getty Images

If you walked into my Manhattan apartment, you’d see that I’ve crammed a lot of kitchen tools into my laughably small kitchen cabinets. Because of the limited space, I’m a big fan of editing when it comes to gadgets—if I bring in a tool that’s bigger than a breadbox, something else really must go. There’s one thing, however, that I’ll never get toss: my electric tea kettle. With the flick of a switch, my electric tea kettle gets me through the sleepiest of mornings and the chilliest of nights. If you don’t already have one, I think you should get one.

I’ve noted it before: I’m not a big fan of unitaskers. And it’s true, the electric tea kettle really only heats water. I’ve heard tell of people boiling eggs or reheating soup in their electric kettles—and it works!—but that sounds less like a life hack and more like a mess waiting to happen. I firmly maintain that while I only use my electric tea kettle for heating water, it does so much.

Like many electric tea kettles (I have this one, by the way), mine has an automatic off switch. This comes in extremely handy, because if I happen to forget about it, the machine won’t boil water uncontrollably and potentially set start a fire, nor will I find all my hot water has evaporated into steam by the time I remember I’d planned to make tea.

I use my electric tea kettle to heat water for French press coffee when I don’t want to turn on the drip machine, and for my 10 p.m. cup or two of decaf Earl Grey tea. It also heats water to the ideal temperature for matcha, which is just under boiling. On cold days or when I’m feeling under the weather, I fill the kettle to the brim and pour hot water into a mug of lemon slices, drink, and repeat.

OK, I’d be remiss to not give you a few extra uses for the electric tea kettle. They’re not quite hacks, but I’ll say this: it’s slightly easier to flick on the kettle than it is to put a pot of water on the stove to boil. I heat water in the kettle for instant oatmeal, ramen, or miso soup when I’m short on time. I’ll also use hot water from the kettle to take the chill off previously boiled eggs: just place the eggs (shells on) in a heatproof bowl and cover with hot water for 5-10 minutes. It also works wonders for rehydrating dates, prunes, raisins, or other dried fruit for homemade granola bars. Any time a recipe tells you to soak the fruit, just place it in a heatproof bowl, pour in water heated in the kettle, and let is soak for 10-15 minutes.