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Programmable Digital Tea Kettle

A Tea Connoisseur's Kettle

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


An image of Imperial Tea Court's Programmable Digital Tea Kettle in black.

Imperial Tea Court's Programmable Digital Tea Kettle can be set to a range of temperatures in one-degree increments.

Marko Goodwin
Known for their premium Chinese loose-leaf teas and tea ware, San Francisco-based Imperial Tea Court is now branching out with a programmable digital kettle that can be set to a range of temperatures in increments of on degree Fahrenheit. Their Programmable Digital Kettle is a great choice for anyone looking for a tea kettle with precise brewing temperatures without a $100-plus price tag.


There are a lot of things that set Imperial Tea Court's Programmable Digital Kettle apart. Here are a few points that stood out to me:
  • At around $90, it's significantly less expensive than most other variable temperature kettles on the market.
  • Instead of a single "boil" setting or a select group of variable settings, it can be programmed to reach precise temperatures for the most finicky green tea or the most hard-to-extract tisane.
  • The kettle is warm (but not hot) to the touch when the water is at a rolling boil, avoiding potential for burns.
  • The digital display lets you know how hot your water is as it is warmed. If you're one of those people who stands next to the microwave as it counts down to zero (You know who you are!), then this is your dream come true.
  • The kettle and base are relatively small and very lightweight. I would consider taking them on longer trips if I knew getting water at a specific temperature would be an issue (as it often is in hotels).
  • Like the Breville Variable Temperature Kettle, it can be rotated 360 degrees on its base, so it's friendly to lefties and to smaller kitchens.
  • If left activated, it reheats the water after the temperature drops, making it easy to brew again and again.


This fully adjustable kettle is very useful and it will definitely appeal to all the tea geeks out there, but it's not perfect. Here are a few of the problems I had with it:
  • Overall, it's a little flimsy compared to some Zojirushi and Breville kettles. I'd put it on par with Bodum's kettles.
  • It takes about ten minutes for the kettle to bring a liter of water to a full boil. It's not as fast as Breville's Variable Temperature Kettle. (Then again, it's not as expensive, either...)
  • In order to change the temperature setting you have to push the up or down button over and over again. I don't mean "push" like "tap;" I mean push hard. This would be an issue for anyone with arthritis or other physical limitations, as well as anyone who doesn't have the patience to push a button 40 or more times to go from brewing a delicate green tea to a tisane.
  • If you pour hot water out of the kettle too quickly, it starts to spray in unexpected directions. Be careful not to scald yourself while making tea in a hurry!

Overall Opinion

Sure, the Breville Variable Temperature Kettle is sturdier and more stylish. Sure, there are plenty of cheap tea kettles out there. And I'll admit that Imperial Tea Court's Programmable Digital Kettle is not perfect. However, it is a great choice for anyone looking for a tea kettle with precise brewing temperatures at a price less extreme than other adjustable temperature tea kettles on the market. I recommend it to anyone who wants precise tea brewing temperatures at less than $100.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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