In addition to explaining the process of preparing coffee at home, our latest series will also examine the tools you need for making great coffee at home including grinders, kettles, drip pots, and so forth. To begin with, we’ll take a look at the swan neck kettle.
If you’ve begun preparing coffee using the pour over method we described (or plan to in the future), you’ll discover the process to be difficult unless you’ve already picked up a swan-neck kettle. As the name implies, a swan-neck kettle is one that incorporates a thin s-shaped spout (similar to a swan’s neck) as opposed to the common wide, stub-nosed spout on many tea kettles. If you’ve ever tried pouring water over your coffee using a wide spout kettle, you don’t need me to tell you why a swan-neck kettle it better. Specifically, it’s hard to pour the water without flooding the coffee grounds.
Indeed, as I discovered the hard way, the wide spout on a traditional kettle makes is difficult to add water in a measured, controlled pour. Instead, coffee typically pours out in a quick rush, flooding the grinds leading to an over extracted cup of coffee that lacks boldness. With a swan-neck kettle it’s much easier to control the speed and placement of water as you add them to your grounds. As Oliver Strand explained in an article for The New York Times, using a swan neck kettle “[is] like picking up a drafting pen after only writing with Magic Markers.”
There are a number of options on the market and any swan-neck kettle should work just fine. After all, it’s sole purpose is to provide you with the ability to apply the water with greater precision. Personally, we use a Hario V60 Buono Kettle. It works great and the design has become nearly iconic (at least for coffee enthusiasts).