• Shlomo Krudo

Is it Impossible to Make Pour-Over Coffee Without Goose Neck Kettels?

Updated: Oct 26

French presses and pour-overs benefit greatly from gooseneck spouts. Artisan coffee shops and barista competitions frequently use pouring tools with thin stems.

A cup of coffee or tea tastes better when it's poured slowly and thoroughly.

Modern gooseneck kettles are functional works of art. Many models are available on the stovetop, and many feature thermometers to show when the coffee is (typically between 195 and 205 degrees).

There are also programmable electric ones.


Is it Impossible to Make Pour-Over Coffee Without Goose Neck Kettels? | Gooseneck kettel | Brewing Java | Brewing better cup at home
Gooseneck Kettel

Is it impossible to make pour-over coffee without a gooseneck?

Because pour-over methods require such a controlled, slow pour, a specially designed kettle known as a gooseneck kettle has evolved from the standard tea kettle design.

This kettle has a long, skinny, curved (like a goose's neck!) spout that is usually attached near the kettle's base.

This spout allows for slow, smooth, continuous pouring. It also allows you to direct the water stream exactly where you want it to go.

If you are interested in pour-over methods, invest in a gooseneck kettle for your third home-brew purchase.

It can be challenging to control the results of your cup without one, and it's difficult, if not impossible, to get a slow, smooth pour out of a tea kettle: the water usually comes out too fast. It causes much agitation or comes out too slowly and dribbles down the side of the kettle.

So, is it impossible to make pour-over coffee without a gooseneck? Of course not.

I brew that way multiple times a week at my office, where we have a Melitta dripper but no gooseneck.

The coffee I make that way still tastes better than it would out of the automatic- filmmaker, so there's that.

But a gooseneck kettle is similar in price to a regular tea kettle (anywhere from $25 to more than $100—although a midgrade gooseneck probably is slightly more expensive than a midgrade tea kettle), so it's worth considering.

When choosing a gooseneck, you want to consider the same things as a regular kettle.

However, there are a few extra essential details to keep in mind:

Is it Impossible to Make Pour-Over Coffee Without Goose Neck Kettels? | Pour over coffee | Brewing Java | Brewing better cup at home

•Size

Some gooseneck kettles hold less water than regular tea kettles. The average capacity is about 1 to 1.2 liters (1,000 to 1,200 grams) of water. Additionally, some designs only work well when the kettle is completely whole, though this usually isn't an issue for typical small-batch brewing. Because the spout is near the bottom of the vessel, water can boil out. This is a common criticism of the Kalita Wave 1-liter kettle, the kettle I use at home.

However, I've never personally experienced this issue because I remove the kettle from the heat at the first sign of boiling. But the subject brings me to my next point.

•Lack of whistling

Most tea kettles whistle when the water boils, alerting you that it's time to come off the heat and preventing you from boiling the kettle dry.

Most goosenecks do not whistle. You can tell when it's time to take a gooseneck off the heat by the sound of the roiling water inside it or by watching how the steam leaves its spout (it vents in rhythmic fits and bursts).

The point is you must watch gooseneck kettles more carefully than regular kettles.

Boiling the kettle dry is very hard on it, and you never want to lose much water to evaporation.


•Water control

Only some goosenecks are made equally, and some specific control flow rates are better than others.

I realized that when I upgraded my Bonavita stovetop kettle to the Kalita gooseneck.

Although Bonavitas are used in professional shops, I struggled with mine, routinely pouring too quickly for my BeeHouse.

When I switched to the Kalita, I started running too slowly. The difference between the two was mind-blowing.

However, some kettles, including the Bonavita, can be fit with flow-rate restrictors to help you out.

These restrictors are a less expensive alternative to purchasing a high-end kettle.

Because gooseneck kettles can be unfamiliar, I've provided a short list of popular options at various price points.

Note that the total capacity might not be the same as the practical capacity and that the price is suggested retail—you will likely be able to find all of these at certain retailers for less. Also, there are many other options; use this table as a starting point.

Popular Gooseneck Kettles


Electric Kettles

Electric kettles have been around since the late 19th century.

They include their heating element, so there is no need to use a stovetop.

Modern versions can bring water to temperature quickly, turn it off to prevent boilover, and/or hold specific temperatures.

They are incredibly convenient, and I personally love them.

Electric kettles come in standard and gooseneck versions.

You can purchase electric versions of the Bonavita and the Hario kettles

mentioned in the table above. In addition to making coffee, electric kettles are also great for making items like tea, hot cocoa, and rice noodles because they boil water so quickly.

If you drink tea, an electric kettle programmed to hold a specific temperature can be handy because most tea is better when steeped at lower temperatures.

(Although, for similar reasons, this function is excellent for coffee.) The feature eliminates waiting for the water to cool off or using a thermometer.

When choosing an electric kettle, keep the following in mind:


•Minimum and Maximum Capacities

Most electric kettles can hold more water than standard kettles, which is excellent for people who want to make larger batches of coffee (especially if the model has a temperature-hold feature).

However, most electric kettles have water minimums, too. Our Melit- ta's is 0.5 liters (500 grams), which is usually too much for my average serving. I use the extra water to wet my filter and rinse my device afterward.

•Limescale Buildup

Electric kettles are prone to limescale buildup: chalky de- posits of minerals that can affect the appliance's performance.

Proper care and maintenance can prevent this. As with standard stovetop kettles, the spout on an electric kettle isn't as much of a concern if you plan to use immersion methods. Thermometers The other part of the kettle equation is the thermometer. We've discussed how water temperature affects the extraction of coffee.

All in all, I would say the perfect temperature is not as critical as some other details, like grind size, and it's easy enough to keep your kettle off the heat for a few moments so the temperature can reduce (when it's not boiling, you know it's cooler than 212°F).

However, a digital instant-read kitchen thermometer is excellent for various uses (cooking meat, baking, etc.), and a decent one only costs around $8.

(An analog thermometer will work, too, if that's what you have; you will have to wait longer to read it.) You can even find thermometers that clip to the side of your kettle, which might be worthwhile because steam burns!

Make sure whichever model you choose can read beyond the boiling point of water. Alternatively, some electric kettles come with temperature-read and -hold functions, and you may be able to find a stovetop model, like the Fellow Stagg pour-over kettle, that has a temperature gauge built into the device itself.


Final Thoughts

Gooseneck kettles are the target of many antipathies. It's underserved—especially because the price range is similar for gooseneck and standard kettles.

I have had extensive experience using both, and for pour-over methods, the gooseneck, hands down, makes what I'm doing (directing water—let's not lose sight of that) easier and more consistent.

I've read elsewhere that some consider goosenecks for the home brewer to be overly complicated, expensive, and prone to losing heat if not used properly.

I don't get it. It's just a kettle with a different spout, and you should use it the same way as you would a regular kettle.

No, it's unnecessary to have a gooseneck, but if it makes pouring easier and doesn't cost that much more, then why not get one?

It doesn't make you complicated—it makes you a person who bought a kettle. On the other hand, abstaining from the gooseneck life does not make you a coffee philistine. If you don't want to buy one, plenty of brewing methods get great results without a gooseneck kettle.

At our house, Andreas and I use the economical Melitta 40994, a 1.7-liter electric kettle, in conjunction with the Kalita stovetop kettle.

The electric kettle brings the water to a boil super fast, and I find that transferring it to the Kalita cools it off just enough to be the perfect temperature for most brewing methods. However, if the Kalita Wave kettle came in an electric version, I'd probably cut out the middleman and use that.


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