- Tell your kettle to boil, from anywhere in your home
- WIFI-enabled smartphone app
- Geo-location welcomes you home (and asks if you want to pop the kettle on)
- Several skins available
The idea of a kettle you don't have to get up to boil has been a beautiful dream of mine for years, perhaps decades.
You see I have been making tea to a near professional degree since I was literally four years old, And from that first day when I balanced on the rickety stool in our kitchen and poured scaldingly hot water from the kettle to my dad's mug, I have known that this process could be improved.
As I have matured, I have grown to recognise the small, niggling flaws in the British tea making process with acute precision. It's in the wait that always occurs between turning the kettle on and actually pouring it - wasted time, always, not filled by having to get cups and teabags out, but not fillable by anything useful. It's in the lack of a truly sensible place to put your teabags which (a) does not result in spillage or stains and (b) is not disgusting. It's in always boiling too much or too little water. All individually tiny flaws. All solvable - and which, if solved, would improve my life in seriously measurable ways.
Why? Because if I live to 90 years old, I am scheduled to make 109,500 more cups of tea before I die. That's time I want back.
Into this arena steps the iKettle, available for £99 from Firebox. This is a WIFI-enabled kettle, and the promise is that you can tell it to boil by sending a message from a special app on your phone.
And the great thing is - it works. Setup is pretty simple, in our experience, and the app (while basic) also does what you'd expect. You can press the button to boil it, tell it to boil when you get home, even keep the thing warm or humming over at the right temperature. It's even a nice-looking. metal, kettle, and boils pretty quickly. Yes, it's only WiFi - meaning you can't boil it while at work, should you want to do such a thing. But since no one ever would, it's not big loss.
All of which is great - and for the first week we had this thing, we couldn't get enough of filling the kettle, waiting until we needed it, and then telling it to boil from the next room over.
Except that read that sentence again, and you'll see it contains two reasons why you probably don't need this device. The first is that you still have to fill the kettle. Yes, you can fill it after having made your previous cup of tea, but that's not removing a step, that's adding a step to the end of the existing tea-making process. Worse, that's delaying my made-tea to drink-tea transition, which is not acceptable.
The second is the "next room" bit of that sentence. Or rather, to spell it out more clearly, there is no house in Britain where a kettle is not so close to hand that getting up to boil it is an inconvenience.
If you're the sort of person who is organised enough to fill a kettle hours before you need it, or can remember to use the app before you walk past the kettle and just fancy a cup of tea because you saw the kettle, or you just like WiFi-enabled stuff, this still might be a good idea.
But for me, after a week, I stopped using the iKettle. Well, I still used the kettle bit - it's a great kettle, with handy adjustable temperatures (green tea is best at 85-degrees dontcha know) - but not the 'i' bit so much.
It's a shame, because in theory this solves one of the critical flaws with making tea. The reality, though, is that there are no real problems with making tea. It really is about as simple as it could get already. The darkness of life is contained in the fact that I will be making tea 10 times a day, for the rest of my life, exactly the same way as I did when I was four years old.
Right, I'm off for a cuppa. Just 109,499 to go.