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Breville Variable Temperature Kettle BKE820XL Review

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)

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An image of the modern, chic, brushed stainless steel Breville Variable Temperature Kettle

Form meets function with this stylish, usable kettle.

Marko Goodwin
The Breville Variable Temperature Kettle BKE820XL is an investment worth making for avid tea and coffee drinkers. Its modern design, high level of usability, variable temperature settings, ability to hold temperatures for up to 20 minutes and overall quality warrant the high price tag, making it an excellent gift or addition to your own modern, beverage-friendly kitchen.

Variable Temperatures

The Breville Variable Temperature Kettle has five temperature settings: "Green Tea" (175ºF, best for many Japanese green teas), "White Tea" (185ºF), "Oolong" (195ºF, suitable for many oolongs), "French Press" (200ºF, perfect for French press coffee and some black or oolong teas) and "Boil/Black Tea" (212ºF, a full, rolling boil that's suited for British-style black teas and many tisanes/"herbal teas"). While these names/numbers don't encompass every tea and coffee, they are a huge leap ahead of boil-only kettles, watching pots come to a near-boil or using the rather inaccurate (and oxygen-depleting) method of boiling water and letting it cool.

When filled to the minimum level (500 mL, or about 2.1 cups), it takes around two minutes to reach 175ºF and about 2.5 minutes to reach a full, rolling boil. When filled to the maximum (1800 mL, or a whopping 7.6 cups), it takes around six minutes to reach 175ºF and about seven minutes to reach a full, rolling boil. This is fast and, unlike waiting for a stovetop or one-temperature kettle to boil, you can leave it unattended and know that your desired temperature will be reached.

Temperatures' buttons glow with rings of white when they are selected.

Other Button Functions

In addition to the temperature settings, the kettle has several other features that are operated by button:
  • A "Start/Cancel" button glows red when activated.
  • A "Hold Temp" button keeps the water at the selected temperature for up to 20 minutes. The "Hold Temp" button is useful for brewing multiple cups of tea around the same time, but some serious tea drinkers may prefer to use freshly warmed water each time.
  • A button on the handle gracefully operates the lid for easy refilling.

Aesthetic & Quality

Sure, there are other variable temperature kettles on the market, and some of them cost a lot less than this one. However, the Breville Variable Temperature Kettle stands out in both its aesthetic and its quality.

The elegant, modern design features brushed stainless steel and clean lines that are suited to most design-conscious kitchens. The body can be rotated 360 degrees on the base and there are water-level-viewing strips on both sides of the kettle, making it a particularly desirable product for left-handed people. The kettle separates from the base, so it is easy to handle and pour from, although the body does get hot to the touch. It's easy and quick to refill, thanks to the button-operated lid.

It's also apparent that this is a quality product. It appears well constructed and is made from quality materials. Breville is a brand that is known for its long-lasting appliances and I have the feeling that this one will be no exception.

Overall Opinion

The Breville Variable Temperate Kettle is a worthwhile investment for any serious tea or coffee drinker. It is similarly priced to Zoujirushi water boilers, but it offers more temperature settings. Whereas I would recommend Zoujirushi boilers to people who need hot water at a set temperature immediately throughout the day, the Breville kettle is better for sporadic use with wider temperature options. I particularly recommend it to anyone who drinks a variety of tea types and drinks tea often.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
Breville Variable Temp Kettle, Member redsunrise1111

I thought the kettle would be a good investment because it would be easy to obtain the correct temps for various brews. To my dismay, I discovered the manual states ""This product is not calibrated for commercial or scientific use. Temperatures may vary (plus/minus) 10 degrees F, however still within range for optimal brewing for each type of tea or coffee"". Yet that 10 degrees (20 total!) puts the temp selection into the temp range of buttons on each side. The first time I used it, the temp was +5 degrees for the ""French Press"" temp. The second time, the water boiled, which was +12. To top it off, the inner carton flap say ""This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm."" When I wrote their consumer services dept, their reply was the standard blow-off, claiming no significance to the 20 degree variation or environmental toxins notice. I'm outraged at the arrogance of this company. I feel duped.

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