Tea time and serendipity

Last February, Megan at Not Martha wrote a post about the Utilitea electric tea kettle. I’ve been a stovetop-kettle person my entire life, but I had been thinking about getting an electric kettle to make tea preparation a bit easier. Jan and I have a lovely Oxo stainless-steel stovetop kettle that’s about a decade old and has a friendly, songlike, single-note whistle when it’s reached a boil (alas, more recent models have just the standard shrill whistle–we know this because we bought Oxo kettles for his mom and my parents for Christmas one year, after they’d admired ours when here for Thanksgiving a few weeks earlier). It’s fairly beat-up, though, and takes up a fair amount of real estate on our small stovetop.

An electric kettle, on the other hand, takes up a bit less space (albeit on the counter–but we are blessed with abundant counter space here) and boils water faster than you can say, “How long will it take to heat the water for my tea?” (Well, almost faster than that…) Many models have the added advantage of shutting off when they reach the desired temperature, so they never boil dry. The Utilitea kettle, from Adagio Teas, has one more great selling point: an adjustable temperature dial, so you can get water at the right temperature for the type of tea you are brewing.

So last winter I read reviews of the kettle (overwhelmingly favorable, though a few people grumbled–rightly so, I think–that the kettle should have actual numeric temperature markings rather than just green and brown dots) and decided to get one. As Megan mentioned in her post, Adagio was out of the kettles, with no indication given for when they have be more. “I can wait a bit,” I thought and signed up for e-mail notification for when they were back in stock. This was in February 2007.

Flash forward to last Sunday, when I returned from Vermont to find some friendly notes from my SP11 upstream pal–as well as a gift certificate from her for Adagio Teas. “How about that,” I thought. “Let’s see if that tea kettle is finally in.”

I went to the Adagio website and found the product page for the Utilitea. Still out of stock, with no restocking date given. I figured I must not have signed up for their e-mail list properly, since I’d heard nothing from Adagio in all the months since I thought I’d asked to be notified about this kettle. So on Sunday evening I sent them an e-mail asking when, if ever, it would be around. The next morning I received this reply: “Thank you for your note. The Utilitea will be available by the end of this week. All this waiting will come to an end! Please keep an eye out for it on our website.” (Edited to change funky marketing-style brand/product/company capitalization that I refuse to replicate. Like Bill Walsh, who has a great essay on the subject, I also refuse to write Yahoo with an exclamation point at the end, and I use an apostrophe, not a star, when writing about Macy’s.)

Later that day, I received a personal e-mail from Adagio telling me that the kettle was back in stock: “Patience does pay off! Our Utilitea kettle is back in stock.” I also received the e-mail notification I had signed up for in February. So they had been out of stock of those things for over half a year. Wow.

p8246602teapot.jpgI ordered one right away (with some help from my SP11–thanks!), and it was in my hands the following day. Yeah, forty-nine bucks isn’t chump change, but I consider it money well spent for something that I’m likely to use pretty much every day for a long time. Jan and I have used it several times already, and we love it. The water quickly reaches the temperature you want, and kettle lifts completely off the base (which is the part with the electric cord), and I can have tea whenever I want it without having to go to a lot of trouble. Lovely.

4 Responses to “Tea time and serendipity”

  1. Katie Jon 26 Aug 2007 at 9:41 am

    Very nice. I think our electric tea kettle is going to go by the wayside, but I don’t know if I can talk myself into getting a new one. If we do, I’ll consider this one though.

  2. SP11on 26 Aug 2007 at 12:02 pm

    Very nice. I have a Krups electric kettle that I got from Tuesday Morning-in my office. I use the microwave at home.

  3. Marshaon 26 Aug 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Katie: If you want a demo of the Utilitea, just let me know!

    SP11: When heating water for just one cup of tea, I often used the microwave at home. But the Utilitea is actually faster!

  4. Bethon 26 Aug 2007 at 9:55 pm

    I don’t know what I like more, the tea kettle or your post about the tea kettle. I did not know that different teas require different temperatures of water.