Sun 07 Mar 2004

  • end of the affair: I fell in love with the OXO Uplift tea kettle two years ago when I first ran into one at Kitchens, etc. It was Love at first sight. I was growing disenfranchized with OXO’s recent string of bad products, and had was just getting over a nasty relationship with one of their can openers. The Uplift kettle caught my eye as I was browsing for 9×13 pans. It was so shiny and sexy, with its polished surface and curved handle! Its rubber grip was easy to hold on to and had a good feel to it. And the pour action! The pour action was unbelievable.

    I was totally seduced by it, and wanted to walk down the aisle with one right away. However, its $50 price tag was too much for a kettle, especially when I didn’t make a lot of tea. I went home empty handed and continued to heat up water in the microwave.

    A couple months later it went on sale at Linens ‘n Things, and I, armed with a twenty-percent savings coupon, became the proud owner of a brand new Black OXO Uplift Tea Kettle. Sure she was a little on the small side, and there was something a little funny with the shape of her back, but I was thrilled. This was a great kettle. We were going to make great pots of tea together. It was the start of something beautiful.

    When I got home, I found an extra surprise waiting for me. Not only did she look good, but she sounded good. Instead of the traditional high pitched scream, she made a very pleasing harmonic whistle. Enthusiastically, I told everyone I knew that this was the future of tea kettles. While the tea-brewing problem is still being wrestled with by Donald Norman, the water-heating problem had been solved!

    Now, a year later and a year wiser, the magic is gone. The limitations of my kettle are much more apparent to me. The handle gets in the way of the lid, and the lid is too hard to remove. It has gotten stiffer over time, and I find myself wrestling with it whenever I have to refill the water. Other kettles can be filled from the pour spout, but the Uplift’s pouring action prevents you from doing that here. Its beautiful sheen is still beautiful, but I have to clean it more often than I had expected.

    Also, it’s very hard to know how much water is in it at any given time. I have to open the kettle, look inside, and judge if it’s enough for a pot. If I have too little water, I don’t make enough tea. If I have too much, I’m wasting time and energy heating it. The pyrex in the microwave excels at getting the water amount just right. Why can’t they put a level indicator of some kind on the side?

    And that gorgeous whistle sound that it makes? It’s still really pleasing to hear, but if I’m in another room I can’t hear it. I’ve run it dry twice so far because I just didn’t notice that it was going off.

    I still use it to make great cups tea, but I think that’s more a quality of the tea I’m using.