Tea Kettle Vs. Microwave: Which One to Use

Do you prefer to use your tea kettle or your microwave? Are you not sure when you use which method? If you are wanting to learn more about when to use your tea kettle and when to use your microwave, this article can help you become more educated.

A tea kettle is better to use when it comes to heating up water. It may take a little extra time, but it evenly heats up the water while doing it more efficiently. A tea kettle can also boil more water at one time, making it the obvious choice when preparing hot drinks like tea for large groups.

To learn more about how a tea kettle and a microwave differ and when you should use each, keep reading!

Which Should I Use For Boiling Water?

The first thing to understand when determining what method to use to boil water is to know that these methods boil water very differently and the method you choose will determine how the water boils and how it will affect what you are using it for.

Believe it or not, there is a scientific way to go about boiling your water and while it may not seem like its worth the effort to dive into how boiling water actually works in each method, it could save you more time and improve your water boiling skills to be aware of which method you should use for boiling water. Depending on your goal, choose what method works for you.

When boiling water using a tea kettle, the water is heated through a process called convection. Convection is what happens when you put the kettle full of water on the hot stove burner and the heat will start to warm the water on the bottom and mix warm molecules with the cool molecules of the water from the top. As the water begins to boil and swirl all of those molecules together, it allows the water to heat evenly so the water at the bottom isn’t any warmer than the water on the top. It’s more desirable to have evenly heated water than to have the water lose its heat as soon as it comes out of the kettle into the cup.

When using the microwave to boil water, the process works a little differently purely because of how the heat is distributed and reaches the water. Instead of just heating from one end as the kettle does, the microwave heats from all four interior sides and the heat circulates throughout the microwave box, but it doesn’t really stay in any one place for an extended period of time. This means that the heat that is being produced is moving around too fast to affect the water to begin with, never mind in an evenly distributed manner, resulting in the water being heated unevenly which creates a subpar boiling job.

Which Method Consumes More Energy?

Now that you know how each method of either boiling water in the microwave or a tea kettle works, you may be curious about how each method uses energy and which is more energy efficient. We are so used to either throwing something in the microwave really quickly or using our tea kettle to boil some water in a hurry but what do we know about how each of those methods is consuming the energy around us and which is better and more cost-effective for us? This may be something to consider the next time you use your microwave or tea kettle.

While using a tea kettle is typically the slower way to boil your water, it is the method that will heat your water more evenly and consume less energy than using the microwave. The Centre for Sustainable Energy has come to understand that it costs just shy of $14 to use the kettle for 10 minutes to boil a full kettle of water. If you were to boil just enough water to fill one cup, then it would obviously cost less, but the chances are high that the majority will fill and boil the tea kettle for more than one person at a given time if not multiple times a day.

When using the microwave, although the water will heat faster, the water will be unevenly heated causing the user to reheat it in the microwave multiple times thus using more energy than it would take just to have it all heat up evenly on the stove using a tea kettle. The Centre for Sustainable Energy has come to the conclusion that it costs $7 dollars for every 10 minutes you are using the microwave and while that seems less than what it costs to use the kettle, remember that the kettle can heat three times more water in that amount of time once, while the microwave can only heat a certain amount and takes multiple tries.

Is Using a Microwave Faster Than The Kettle?

No, using the microwave is not faster than using the kettle to boil water. While it may take less time for the microwave to get the water somewhat warm in the lower half of the water and boiling on top, the water will not be boiling all the way through, thus having to microwave and heat the water several times to get all of the water boilings which will take up more time and energy than it would to have the water sit in the kettle for a collective amount of time to heat evenly and thoroughly the first time through.

Some of the reasons the tea kettle is faster than the microwave are that the high source of heat is concentrated in one area (the bottom of the tea kettle) helps create more power, instigating the boil to start faster. In addition to the heat being concentrated at the bottom of the tea kettle, the kettle also includes a lid that traps the heat allowing the heat molecules to circulate better which helps the water to heat evenly and all the way through. The water in a tea kettle also receives the direct heat that goes from heat to molecules rather than electricity to microwaves to heat to molecules that then heat the water.

All that being said, while you may just be tempted to throw a mug of water in the microwave for a quick cup of tea before bed, if you want the best quality, evenly heated cup of water to make that tea, take the time to heat the water in a tea kettle on the stove. It doesn’t take that much longer in the long run and you will have a much more pleasant, hot cup of tea before bed because you took the extra time to heat the water all the way through rather than settling for a subpar cup of boiled water and thus a subpar cup of tea.

How to Make Tea Using a Tea Kettle

After going through the pros and cons and whys and why not of why you should use a tea kettle rather than the microwave, you now should know and be instructed on how to make tea using a tea kettle. Everyone may do it a little differently and you may end up doing it a little differently after you get the hang of it. It is totally okay to do it however you prefer but these are just the basic instructions on how to make tea using a tea kettle.

The first step is to make sure your tea kettle is clean and ready to use. While you are just boiling water in it, it is always a good, safe practice to wash and use clean dishes and appliances every time. Every tea kettle is different so make sure you pay attention and read the care instructions for your specific tea kettle.

The next step is to fill your tea kettle with water. Only fill the kettle for as much as you will use. Otherwise, you can risk boiling over and wasting the water that you don’t use. You can choose to use tap water or filtered water, but filtered water will most likely taste better and will, for sure, limit how much hard water build-up will be left on your kettle over time.

The third step is to put your kettle on the stove and start heating it up. It is recommended that you don’t turn on the heat until your kettle is set on the burner so it can get as much heat as possible. You get to decide your personal preference on how hot you want your water to be when you put it in your mug, but boiling is the typical temperature and an easy indication that your water is ready for the next step in your tea-making process.

The fourth step is to infuse your tea. You should already have your tea bag placed in the mug you will be using. Take the tea kettle off of the stove and slowly pour the boiling water over the tea bag. It is important to have the tea bag in the mug first and then pour the water over it so the bag can be fully immersed in the hot water. You get to decide how much water you want to put in your mug. This will help determine one, how much tea you will have in your mug and two, how strong your tea will be.

The final step is to let the tea sit and brew for a few minutes so all of that flavor can absorb into the water. While you let the tea sit, it would be a good idea to clean the tea kettle right away if it’s cool enough. Again, make sure you pay attention to the care instructions for your specific tea kettle so you can preserve the quality for as long as possible. Once that is done and your tea bag has been sitting long enough, remove your tea bag from your cup and throw it away. Stir in milk or cream and sugar and enjoy your hard-earned cup of tea.

How to Make Tea in the Microwave

Now after going through all the instructions on how to make tea using a tea kettle, you are probably wondering how to make a cup of tea in the microwave. While it’s not the most efficient nor quickest way to go about making a stellar cup of tea, it will do in the instance you don’t have a tea kettle handy and you are in need of some hot water to make some tea.

The first step in order to make a cup of tea in the microwave is to make sure you are using a microwave-safe mug. If you aren’t using a mug that is meant to be put in the microwave, you will have an extremely hot mug coming out of the microwave which can either burn you or make it very difficult to handle the mug when you need to be able to have control in order to make this cup of tea. You will then fill the mug up to however full you would prefer, just not too full so you can avoid the water spilling over and making a mess in the microwave. Include the tea bag in the cup as well before you place it in the microwave.

The second step is to heat the water in 30-second increments. This will ensure that the water won’t boil over and you can somewhat still control the temperature of the water to get it to the level of heat that you prefer. Once your water has reached the desired temperature, take the mug out of the microwave. Be careful as it might still be hot, use a pot holder if you aren’t sure.

The third and final step is to let the tea bag continue to sit in the hot water for a few minutes; at least until the mug is cooled off enough for you to handle it without the risk of burning yourself. Once that is ready, you can remove the tea bag and squeeze all of the final drops out of the tea bag with the back end of a spoon if you want. Add any mix-ins like milk or sugar you want and enjoy your quick, microwaved cup of tea.