Pour over kettles, sometimes called gooseneck kettles, are a tool for manual brewing that you don’t necessarily need, but one that you’ll totally regret not having.
It’s sort of like buying a box of salt instead of having a shaker. You can go into the cabinet, get out the box, open it up, reach in for a pinch of salt, and try to evenly distribute it over your plate of food, but wouldn’t it just be easier to have a displayable shaker on the kitchen table?
Let’s take it back a step and talk about pour over brewing first, though, especially for those who aren’t totally familiar with why it might be the best way to make a cup of joe.
I mean, it’s an excellent question. Pour over brewing is an entirely manual process. Typically, the brewer will use either an individual cup, a thermos, or a carafe attached to a pour over brewer (which is different from the kettle).
Pour over brewers are typically triangular-bowl shaped, and come either as single items or attached to a carafe. Take these two options, for example: the Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker and the Hario V60 Coffee Dripper. You can check out a more extensive breakdown of this brewer type here, but know that there’s a fair amount of commitment that has to be made to this process.
It takes longer to brew one cup of coffee versus using a drip machine, or even other methods of coffee brewing. It also requires more attention that most other brewing methods, and often doesn’t yield as much brew. Take a look at our step-by-step instructions and you’ll see what I mean.
If you’re asking why people do it, even in light of all that, it’s because it produces a superior cup of coffee, hands down.
Brewing coffee with the pour over method brings out the subtle flavors of a special strain of ethically-sourced coffee like nobody’s business, nuances, tones, what-have-you.
I mean, the hipster baristas with homeless beards have adopted the pour over brew using a gooseneck kettle as their mascot to go along with their authentic corn cob pipes tamped with Cavendish tobacco.
Do you really need to know more? Nope!
I’m getting there!
So, one of the primary benefits of pour over brewing is total and utmost control. Over temperature of the water, over the time taken to brew, over the type of grind and quality, over everything.
A gooseneck kettle adds precision to this list—precision over the amount of perfectly heated water expressed from the long, curved spout and exactly where it goes.
A normal kettle can accomplish the task, but with significantly less capability and finesse. This is where we’ve come full circle—it’s like having a box of salt in the cabinet rather than just using a shaker.
Just for some visual aid, here’s a standard kettle:
And here’s a gooseneck kettle:
The fact of the matter is, most of them will get the job done in some capacity, but you want the best one at the best value, right? Dumb question—of course you do! When it comes to these beauts, your two focuses are going to be form and function.
There are two types of gooseneck kettles, standard and electric.
A standard kettle will be just the kettle itself, obviously. Ideally, it’ll have a built-in thermometer so that it’s easy to see when the water is at the correct temperature.
Electric gooseneck kettles will also have a heating element, which often has added perks of allowing the brewer to control the temperature down to a single degree and time the pouring process with ease.
Before we get into choosing your pour over kettle, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions.
If the answer is yes, and you’d prefer to continue using your current kettle but want to try the gooseneck thing, I’d recommend buying a standard gooseneck. After the water’s heated, you can transfer it to the gooseneck.
One of the harder things with a gooseneck is quantity—some of them can take as much as a whole liter, which amounts to about four 8 oz. cups of coffee. You have to keep an eye on how much the maker recommends the kettle be filled, though. Just because the kettle can technically hold one liter doesn’t mean it’s built to heat an entire liter.
So, you can get a standard gooseneck kettle for anywhere between $12 and $80, and the rules of purchasing a gooseneck kettle are the same as most things: the cheapest one is destined to live out the majority of its existence in a garbage dump after it breaks/dings/etc two months later, while the most expensive one has a surcharge for the flashy name attached.
Electric gooseneck kettles bump that ceiling, clocking in anywhere between $19 to $200, under similar constructs.
Okay! So, have you answered the questions? Electric of standard? Examined your coffee-drinking habits? Checked your wallet and bank account and scrounged up all the quarters under the seats of your car?
Then let’s do this!
We’ll start with looking at the best-of-the-best of these bad boys. I’m going to be honest with you all: I’m going to make an effort to introduce you to underrated or unknown standard gooseneck kettles. Every list pops up with the Hario V60, which has its perks, such as coming with a 1.2 L capacity, but it doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, so I’m really not keen on it. You’ll also see Kalitas Stylish Stainless Pot a lot, but again, there’s no built-in thermometer and, once more, I think that’s bogus. There is one that’s touted a lot that seems to have the bells and whistles that a standard gooseneck kettle should have, and that’s the…
Coffee Gator has been in the coffee game for long enough to garner reviews, but not so long that they’re relying on their name to sell products (not yet at least). This standard gooseneck kettle is available in two sizes, 34 oz and 40 oz, the larger one priced at just under $40.
It’s made of medical grade steel and has a triple-layer bottom to prevent rusting from constant exposure to high heat. It also has a built-in thermometer, making it ideal for the precision pour-over brewing requires.
Barista Warrior is all about helping people brew top-notch coffee at home, and all they do is provide products that help home baristas do just that. This gooseneck kettle has a 1.2 L container, and BW recommends filling it to 1 L. It has a built-in thermometer (as required by my rules), a double-layered bottom to prevent rusting, and also provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee. With a price clocking in at the upper $30s, it’s good quality at a good price.
ZENIKA doesn’t provide a ton of information about their kettle, but we know their products are made in the USA and the store is family-owned, which are both nice traits. Their gooseneck kettle is well-made and checks all of the boxes — it has a 1.2 L capacity, built-in thermometer, and it’s made of stainless steel with exactly zero plastic parts. A bit under $40, it also falls in a reasonable range for a gooseneck kettle.
The easiest way to go from heated water to cup of delicious, home-brewed joe is using an electric gooseneck kettle, but nice ones often cost a pretty penny. Popular models include the Hario V60 (again) Buono electric, which clocks in around the low $70s.. It’s made in China and recent feedback has indicated that the manufacturing quality isn’t quite what it used to be. And it still doesn’t have any sort of temperature control. Here are some alternatives.
The Willow & Everett electric kettle has the required gooseneck kettle and comes from a company that just does coffee. It’s also a cute love story, so check out the About Us page on their website, but this kettle is a lot more.
It comes with temperature control options, which range of 180 to 212, perfect for coffee (or tea). It offers quick boiling and a “Keep Warm” option so you can drink right away or 30 minutes after when you finally remember you turned the kettle on. All this is wrapped up in a $70-ish machine.
OXO does housewares and office supplies, and the Adjustable Electric Pour-Over Kettle is one of many products they’ve produced. It can heat anywhere between 140 and 212 degrees, and the big bonus with this model is that you can adjust it by one degree increments anywhere between there. It also features a timer so you can time your pours, which is a super nifty feature for those at-home baristas.
I need to preface this by saying that this is on the expensive end of things, but it’s totally worth it. If you don’t have around $150 to drop on an electric gooseneck kettle, then, well… scroll past because you’ll definitely want this bad-mamma-jamma once I sell it to you (you’re welcome, Fellow).
If you’d like a few cheaper options to peruse when it comes to electric kettles, you’re typically either sacrificing a bit of quality or brand assurance. Here are a few that have potential and are on the cheaper end of the scale, but didn’t quite have that oomph to make the list.
This Bonavita is a commonly touted kettle that falls in the mid-$60s range. It features by-the-degree control, a timer, real-time temp, and a 60-minute hold. There’s a 1-year warranty, but a number of buyers have reported their machines crapped out at about the 2-year mark.
As sexy as all of these gooseneck kettles are, it is time to conclude!
If you’re just looking for a regular gooseneck kettle, I’d recommend the Barista Warrior Pour Over Coffee Kettle. All-around, from the wide base for quick heating to the capacity, it’s a great option for people in all stages of their pour-over brewing experience. Total newbies may appreciate the ZENIKA for its everything-included package, though.
As for the electric kettle, budget-conscious pour over brewers will appreciate the Willow & Everett Electric Kettle. If price is no objection, take a long and hard look at the Fellow Stagg EKG. Hands-down, no contest, the Stagg’s a gem.
Alright! Follow your gut and enjoy the precisely made coffee of your dreams!