They are so pretty that it’s hard to believe that they are useful too. Still, a good gooseneck kettle is a nice addition to your home setup.
Why? It’s pretty straightforward: getting good coffee from a dripper requires a decent amount of control over the water flow rate. The main difference between these beautiful kettles and regular ones is their spout: it’s elegant, curved, and thin.
Having this feature, the simplest gooseneck kettle -or pour-over kettle- will help you to control the water flow rate. However, the best gooseneck kettles will feature more than a well-made gooseneck spout. They will have:
- A built-in thermometer with an easy-to-read temperature gauge or display
- A stainless steel body
- A safe and comfortable handle
If a pour-over kettle has all the features above, it will be pricier than a basic stove-top gooseneck kettle without a thermometer. However, if you are planning to master home coffee brewing, it’s better to get the best product you can from the start. Believe me, I learned this lesson the hard way.
Let me nerd a bit about this, so I can make my point.
Pour-over coffee depends on gravity. Although the principle is simple, we can brew pour-over coffee in many different ways. All sorts of beautiful drippers are available like Chemex, V60, Origami, Kalita, just to name a few.
Each dripper has different patterns, filters, and materials that change the coffee flow rate and temperature.
These aspects alter coffee extraction and produce different tastes and aromas. And this happens even after controlling crucial variables for coffee brewing like grind size and water temperature.
But, if you want to get consistency using a dripper, you’ll need to control the main variables for coffee extraction:
- Brew ratio
- Grind size
- Water temperature
To control the brew ratio, you’ll need a scale. A good grinder will help you with grind size, but water temperature and turbulence will depend heavily on the kettle.
When water falls inside a dripper it moves coffee grounds, and this movement accelerates extraction. In Specialty Coffee we call this turbulence. By dealing intentionally with turbulence, we can understand better how to adjust the grind size and water temperature to improve our brewing method.
In short, do you need a gooseneck kettle to make pour-over coffee?
No, it isn’t necessary but it will make a difference in your workflow, the control you have over your brewing process, and it looks beautiful in your coffee setup.
However, if you are starting to get your gear, it’s important to prioritize accordingly. Remember that even the best kettle won’t be too useful without an accurate digital scale with a tenth of a gram increment.
Additionally, a high-quality burr grinder is essential to get consistent and even freshly ground coffee. On the other hand, some brewing devices like the French Press and the Aeropress (Immersion methods) don’t require the same amount of control over the water flow rate as drippers.
In other words, you won’t need a gooseneck kettle unless you have drippers.