One of the most painful parts of leaving the land of 110 voltage and moving to Europe was saying goodbye to all of my electronic coffee gear. The most beloved item was a well-worn Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle, a prize from a barista competition with both sentimental and practical value. The kettle was used daily for four years, and was still going strong when I passed it on to a friend. Although there are kettles I prefer for their superior handle or spout, the convenience of automating water temperature wins every time, especially when it comes to that first, sleepy-eyed cup in the morning.
I planned on buying a European voltage variable temperature kettle upon arriving in Istanbul, but the sticker shock of the local price had me return to the old fashioned method: boiling water and transferring it to to my Kalita kettle.
There’s a small ritual to it. First I add around 100 ml. to preheat the kettle and rinse the filter, then I fill the kettle to the brim for heat retention. It’s simple enough, but more than one under-extracted cup had me wondering, did I wait too long? Had I lost too much temperature?
Then, at a restaurant trade show, I saw a familiar sight, though a second look revealed subtle changes: a different handle, a different button configuration on the base. This kettle wasn’t brand Bonavita but Konchero, and the similarities were more than a little similar. (Enough to elicit a cease-and-desist remains to be seen.) I wasn’t surprised to learn the kettles came from the exact same factory, but was intrigued to hear the Turkish importer claims it’s actually better than the Bonavita, thanks to an improved, British-built thermostat. That and the much lower price (in Turkey at least), was enough for me to try out the Konchero for myself.
As soon as I plugged the Konchero kettle in, the built-in thermometer lit up. The illuminated lcd is easy to read, though the constant glowing when plugged-in might be annoying to some. The kettle itself has the same drawbacks as the Bonavita — kind of clunky and bottom heavy — though the handle is a little harder to grip when the kettle is full. Overall, it’s a perfectly functional kettle that offers all of the pouring control needed to make a pour-over.
In a side-by-side comparison with the Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle, the Konchero heated up much faster– room temperature to above 90 degrees in less than five minutes. The temperature is very easy to adjust and save. Overall, the controls felt more intuitive to me than the Bonavita.
In terms of temperature stability, I found the kettle lost 1-2 degrees celsius over the course of brewing a 400 ml pour-over. Of course, that’s easily mitigated by placing the kettle back on the base between pulses (be sure to turn the power back on– there’s no “hold” button on this kettle).
The Konchero Adjustable Temperature Kettle offers precise control over temperature and flow rate control while making pour-over coffee. The lower price and improved thermostat make it a strong competitor to the Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle for those looking for European voltages. The obvious similarities in design, however, might raise some eyebrows.