Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Smart Kettle
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  • So how on earth have we got from my grandmother's battered old metal kettle which she used all her life to the hi-tec (and expensive) pieces of kit of today
  • There's no doubt that electrifying them, and then changing to a charging base plate rather than plug and socket, not only opened up whole new avenues of design and materials, it also moved the kettle from the hob to the heart of the kitchen and made it more prominent
  • Brushed stainless steel I find much more user-friendly than a shiny chrome finish which shows every fingerprint
  • All the above means I'm happy with the appearance of my kettle which fits well and looks good in my kitchen
  • It does more than just boil water and its smart extras are nice features but come at a price

by villager.18
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    We all know what a kettle is: a receptacle to boil water. It has a flat base to sit on a heat source, a handle to hold it, a lid to stop the water boiling away and a spout for pouring. And that’s it, really. So how on earth have we got from my grandmother’s battered old metal kettle which she used all her life to the hi-tec (and expensive) pieces of kit of today?

    There’s no doubt that electrifying them, and then changing to a charging base plate rather than plug and socket, not only opened up whole new avenues of design and materials, it also moved the kettle from the hob to the heart of the kitchen and made it more prominent. Now you can have any style from retro to ultra-modern and a range of colours unheard of in my parents’ day. Even so, manufacturers have managed to come up with a surprising range of embellishments and features for what is the simplest of kitchen gadgets

  • Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Smart Kettle
  • And so to my latest kettle. Did I need a new one? Not really, the old one worked perfectly well although it had seen better days and, besides, didn’t fit in with my kitchen décor. There you have one of the main springboards for the resurgence of the kettle: the need for everything to conform to a given kitchen design, and kitchen designs which are being constantly updated. This particular kettle is what’s usually referred to as a “jug” shape, with a handle on the side rather than the top, and a slight taper from bottom to top. Capacity is 1.7 litres, and its dimensions at 24cm high by 15cm wide seem about the same as most kettles of this capacity. All the usual safety features - automatic switch off when boiling and boil dry protection - are there. It feels weighty and solid when you pick it up, not an item that will dent or buckle easily.

  • Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Smart Kettle
  • The material is metal, not plastic, and finished in a brushed silver stainless steel. Brushed stainless steel I find much more user-friendly than a shiny chrome finish which shows every fingerprint. The lid is transparent and there is a similar transparent strip down the side with a capacity measure, which is useful. There is an overall greenish tinge to these transparent parts – hence the “Sage” in the name - which seems to soften the appearance and make it less harshly metallic. I did wonder why the lid had to be transparent, as I have no real need to peer into the depths from above, but in design terms it adds to this softening effect.

  • Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Smart Kettle
  • All the above means I’m happy with the appearance of my kettle which fits well and looks good in my kitchen. But what sets it apart from previous models are the functions. I’m not exactly wondering how I managed without them, but I’m certainly finding them useful. Usually an electric kettle has an on/off button on the handle, but this model has moved the on/off button to the base plate and added a series of new functions to make a little control panel, and create a “smart” kettle.

    Now not only can I boil water, I can also heat it to different temperatures - 80, 85, 90 and 95 deg, for different kinds of tea (green, white and oolong respectively) and coffee at 95. Our household occasionally drinks green tea, and although I knew it should be made with not quite boiling water, doing this with an ordinary kettle meant hovering over it while it came to the boil, and more often than not, just using boiling water. Similarly with coffee, if I’m using a single filter or instant. Both drinks are undoubtedly better for being at the correct temperature. Another nice little function is the “keep warm” button: set your temperature, press this button, switch it on, and the kettle will bring it to that temperature and keep it there until you are ready to pour. So no need to wait while the kettle reboils after you’ve drifted off to do something else.

  • Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Smart Kettle
  • Switching the kettle on at the mains illuminates the “start” button and the previously selected temperature in white; pressing the “start” button then changes these to red until it boils when it reverts to white again, and stays white for a few minutes until it goes into sleep mode. The only button not on the control panel is the lid release at the top of the handle. The lid is not removable, but has a “soft” opening when this button is pressed. To close, you just push it down. An un-removeable lid means you don’t drop it on the floor, or have to put it down on a surface while you fill the kettle, leaving a little puddle of water. Also under the lid and in front of the spout is a mesh filter to trap limescale deposits.

  • Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Smart Kettle
  • Overall this is a very good appliance, but sadly nothing is perfect so here are the gripes. It beeps. It beeps when you switch it on, it beeps when you press “start”, and select a temperature, it beeps when you lift it off the base plate and when you put it back on. It beeps three times when it reaches the selected temperature. It never shuts up. If I needed this amount of reminding what was going on, I shouldn’t be allowed near boiling water on my own. Another small niggle is that the minimum fill level is set at 500ml, more than you need to make a single cup of tea or coffee, so I’m constantly having to top it up. At the same time water and power companies are exhorting us to only boil as much water as you need.

    Finally there is the vexed question of celebrity endorsement. The Sage range carries the name of Heston Blumenthal, the celebrity chef, although his name is not on the actual appliance. He is famous for, among other things, “precision in cooking” so the concept of different temperatures for different hot drinks ties in with that. But I didn’t buy the kettle because he was associated with it and how much of a premium does his name add to the price? This kettle is expensive at £89 and, despite its nice features, was frankly a bit of an indulgence.

    This is a kitchen appliance rather than just a kettle. It does more than just boil water and its “smart” extras are nice features but come at a price.



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The review was published as it's written by reviewer in June, 2018. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 538061663701230/k2311a068/6.8.18
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