I've never been one for electric kettles, although when even Alton Brown has been swayed by their easy allure I am compelled to reconsider. I borrowed one last year for a few days, thinking that I'd enjoy having water for tea at arm's length, rather than make the strenuous trek to my kitchen, almost thirty feet away, through the Straights of Boxes to Be Recycled and past the Horn of Ikea Cart. It worked okay until I kicked it over onto my hand-made particle board shelves which swelled like pound cake in, well, tea. Now I only drink air and whatever fluids my dog can manage to fling into my mouth when he shakes out his flaps in the morning. Here's one electric kettle I won't be getting: The Sunbeam Tea Drop Tea Maker [not pictured], panned by Gadget Lab's Rob Beschizza as a "useless piece of garbage."
The steaming mechanism just doesn't work. This might be because tea needs the impact of boiling water to infuse well, but hey, it doesn't really matter--all you need to know is that the Tea Drop is garbage. The output is undrinkable swill. If you've ever wondered why other people don't make tea the amazingly simple way you've discovered--by pouring hot water onto it from the faucet--you've just found your ultimate beverage-making gadget.That directs the focus on the new, wholly untested Kenwood Response Kettle, whose name may evoke equipment used by tea time paramedics, but in fact refers to two LEDs inside. One LED is red, the other blue. As water heats the former begins to shine as the latter wanes, indicating your water has been boiled. The Response Kettle also has an intermediate step which heats water to 80 degrees, which they say is "perfect for coffee and herbal teas." That was confusing until I realized they were talking Celsius, which may also mean that the product is UK only for now. Sunbeam's Tea Drop Tea Maker is a Useless Piece of Garbage [Gadget Lab] Response Kettle press release [KenwoodWorld.com via Coolest-Gadgets.com via Chip Chick]