If you have ever walked into a coffee shop and saw a barista using a kettle with a long and thin spout and a thick handle, you might wonder why they would do so over using a coffee espresso machine. This type of kettle is called a gooseneck kettle and they allow for a very delicious cup of coffee. They also make the process of making a cup of coffee manually easier. However, should you invest in one? What benefits can you get using a gooseneck kettle to make pour over coffee at home? This article will explore everything you need to know about gooseneck coffee kettles as well as the benefits you get from using them.
What is Pour Over Coffee Brewing?
The pour over method of brewing coffee involves pouring hot water through coffee grounds placed in a filter. Although a pour over jug can be used to brew coffee in this way, the most popular way of making pour over coffee is by using a gooseneck kettle. Because hot water is poured through the coffee grounds, you will sometimes hear the method called manual brewing.
Reasons for Using a Gooseneck Kettle: Control
Making coffee using the pour over method requires a lot of control depending on the recipe and coffee you are using. You will find some recipes dictating how much water to use over a given period. This level of control is hard to achieve unless you are using a gooseneck kettle.
The spout of the gooseneck kettle is specifically designed to give you total control over the strength and speed of the pour. Other kettles might seem like they would work, but their pour is usually chaotic and inconsistent. A common source of frustration is trying to pour water in one spot and the water going everywhere.
With the pour over brewing method, pouring just enough water on and hitting all the coffee grounds is important and a gooseneck kettle allows you to do this with ease. If you want a different coffee brew profile, a gooseneck kettle also allows you to pour quickly while still allowing you to have total control over the pour.
When you can be sure that your gooseneck kettle and coffee maker can produce the same type of brew consistently, you will get a lot more confidence in brewing the exact blend of coffee you like. When you use a regular kettle, you might not be able to use the exact same amount of water every day, pour at the same speed or hit all the coffee grounds in your filter evenly. This leads to an imbalance and inconsistency in your coffee brews from day to day.
Using the best coffee kettle allows you to pour the exact amount of water you need, control the speed of the pour and ensure all grounds are soaked when you're done. Once you find a style you like, you can make the coffee you like every day.
Extraction and Taste
The taste of a cup of coffee depends largely on how the coffee was extracted. An even extraction ensures a great-tasting cup of coffee every time. When you have full control over the speed and strength of your pour, you can ensure that you hit all coffee grounds and this makes a huge difference in flavor.
Such a pour allows you to avoid over and under extraction which means there is a lot of balance as you avoid bitterness and sourness that comes from not using all the grounds in the filter.
Another factor that affects flavor is brewing time. A gooseneck kettle gives you a lot of control over the brewing time; you can pour the water faster or slowly to hasten the process or slow it down respectively. This means that if you are new to brewing coffee using this method, you can gradually refine your method until you have a cup of coffee that you like.
Types of Gooseneck Kettles
If you want to experience all the benefits that come with making a great cup or pour over coffee or are simply looking to experiment with a gooseneck kettle, you will need to go and buy one to see what all the hype is about. Before you buy one, however, you need to know there are two types of gooseneck kettles; manual and electric kettles. You also need to know that many baristas consider the optimal water temperature for making a cup of coffee - whether using a pour over coffee kettle or another method - to be between 195°F (90°C) and 205°F (96°C).
Manual gooseneck kettles are used together with a direct heat source. This can include an induction heater, stove top, or another source of heat that is used to get the water to the optimal temperature. Some people also use a separate coffee water boiler before decanting the water into a gooseneck kettle.
A gooseneck electric coffee kettle requires plugging in before use. You should put water in the kettle before you hit the switch to protect the elements from overheating and being destroyed. Do note that some electric coffee kettles come with internal protections that make it impossible to turn on an electric kettle that is dry.
Apart from how convenient they are, a major advantage of using an electric kettle is that you get precise control over the temperature of the water. The inbuilt temperature control helps teach and maintain the optimal water temperature for brewing coffee discussed above.
While it is true that an electric kettle will be more expensive than a manual kettle, you will get a lot more satisfaction out of using it. This is because it removes all the guesswork from the brewing process and can make working with specific recipes easier. Also, in contrast to using a manual coffee kettle stove top or over an open flame, the auto-switch mechanism that comes with electric kettles prevents overheating which can damage the kettle and cause injury.
Making Better Coffee Using a Gooseneck Kettle
Now that you know about the benefits of using a gooseneck kettle to brew coffee and how to buy one, how do you make a great cup of coffee using this type of kettle? The first thing to know is that the coffee grind matters.
A very fine coffee grind will extract slower than a coarser grind, regardless of your pour rate. This is because the smaller spaces between the coffee particles cause water to pass through them slowly. This leads to coffee that is too strong. On the other hand, a very coarse grind lets the water just go through and you end up with a sour cup of coffee.
The second thing is that you need to practice how to pour the water. A rate of about 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of water in about 10 seconds will give you an idea of how the flow should normally feel. You can start going slower in the future as you get more consistent.
Third, watch your body posture. Holding your arms and elbows out reduces how much control you have over the kettle. Tucking your elbows in allows you to be more stable and to have a lot of control over the kettle. Also, tucking your elbows in allows you to pour consistently if you are going for a slower pour rate. You also need to ensure your weight is evenly balanced. If neither of these things are happening, you will be uncomfortable and need to refine your technique. Keeping an eye on how much water is in the kettle before you start will also help. A larger volume of water is heavier and will affect how you pour.
Pour Over Coffee Kits
To make the best pour over coffee at home, consider getting a coffee pour over kit. These have everything you need to make a great cup of coffee including the gooseneck kettle, droppers, and filters. Those who want to create more nuanced coffee brews can consider the Chemex coffee brew kit.
Using a Chemex coffee maker together with a gooseneck kettle is a great combination that helps you make the coffee easily and without much fuss. Remember, you will need proprietary filters for the kit but you can always buy these from a grocery store.
Additionally, you can place Chemex on gas stove or another source of heat to keep the coffee warm. The most important thing to remember is to keep the heat low. If you own an electric stove, use a wire metal grid to ensure the Chemex does not come into contact with the heating elements.
Using a gooseneck kettle gives you a lot more control than a regular kettle to make your coffee. With a lot of control comes a consistent pour that allows you to make your coffee the same way every day. If you want to make coffee using a gooseneck kettle, you can buy a manual or electric kettle or opt for a pour over coffee kit.