For the last couple of years my partner and I had been "making do" with a kettle he'd purchased in Tesco for £2. A bargain, I hear you cry...and it certainly was in the beginning. Several years use had seen the white plastic of the kettle turn an unattractive yellowy colour and it also leaked like a sieve every time it boiled. It was time for a replacement before one or other of us managed to scald ourselves.
I decided I wanted a black and chrome kettle to match all the other gadgets in our kitchen, and so the search commenced. I dislike metal kettles as they tend to take ages to break-in and not make one's tea taste "funny". When I say "funny" I mean they give the boiled water a sort of TCP taste, which just doesn't sit well with a freshly brewed PG Tip. Therefore my new kettle had to be made of plastic, as I know from experience I can rid a new plastic appliance of its revolting medicinal tasting boiled water very quickly.
My partner spotted a very nice looking plastic kettle in Homebase and came home and told me to look on their website under the Russell Hobbs range. Several minutes of searching revealed several likely suspects, but not the actual kettle he was banging on about. He then changed his mind and decided that the kettle he had seen was actually from the Morphy Richards range. Once he'd finally decided on the correct brand it was much easier to find it on the Homebase website. On the plus side it was a very nice looking kettle and I was sold. However, the downside was that Homebase wanted nearly £40 for it which seemed a little rich for a plastic kettle no matter how nice it looked. I herded on over to Amazon as per usual and found the same kettle for £26.97 inclusive of delivery. This was a much better deal so I snapped one up.
*** THE KETTLE ***
The model we chose was from the Morphy Richards Accents range and its official moniker is the Morphy Richards Accents Black Jug Kettle (model number 43173). I didn't have any particular requirements of my kettle other than it should be made of plastic and that it was black in colour with chrome accents. I was drawn to this model as it not only matched all my other kitchen gadgets but it's rather stylish looking with a pleasant curved lid to the top.
This model holds 1.7 litres of water, but it's still fairly lightweight to lift and pour, weighing in at just over 1.5 kilos. Although the kettle holds a good amount of water, it doesn't look as massive as some jug kettles you see in the shops. I think this is because the kettle is quite squat and wide rather than tall and thin like some other models.
It has a good sized easy grip plastic handle and a nice study base to sit on. It's powered by a 3kw element so it takes less than two minutes to boil enough water for two cups of tea. However, this kettle is capable of boiling enough water for 8 mugs of tea should you so wish...it will just take it a little longer to boil.
There's a handy and easily visible water gauge on both sides of this kettle which has a marker showing where to add the water for anything from 1 to 8 cups of tea or coffee. This is ideal if you are trying to save money and boil just enough water for one or two cups of tea.
The kettle sits snugly on the 360 degree round base when not in use. It all feels nice and solid so you can feel confident nothing is going to tip over and spill when the kettle begins to boil. You can place the kettle anywhere on the base and switch it on. There is also a cord storage facility under the base if you don't want a long electrical cord trailing across your work-tops.
There's a silver knob at the top of the handle which rather abruptly flips opens the chrome and black plastic lid on the top of the kettle for ease of filling it with cold water. Or you can just do the lazy person's trick of shoving the spout under the tap and filling it that way. I must say that the kettle's spout is nice and wide so filling it under the tap is very easy. It also pours very well when your water has boiled. With our old Tesco kettle the spout was rather small so you needed to hold the kettle almost on its side in order to extract the last drop of the water from the kettle. I made the mistake of tipping my new Morphy Richards kettle on its side when I first used it and was rather alarmed by the gush of water that came out much more quickly than I was expecting. I didn't make the same mistake twice! The wider spout on this model makes pouring your drinks a much gentler and easier process.
Inside the kettle is a removable limescale filter, which just needs to be given a bit of rinse under the cold tap from time to time, especially if you live in a hard water area like we do.
*** OPERATING ***
Once filled, the kettle boils quickly and seamlessly. The kettle is switched on by a large silver lever at the base of the appliance. When you switch the kettle on an electric blue light illuminates behind the water gauge so you know its working. Once the kettle has boiled it automatically switches off and the pretty blue light goes out. It's a rather pleasing and ambient blue light so it's rather a shame when it goes off.
When you first use the kettle, Morphy Richards recommend that you fill the kettle to capacity boil the contents and then tip them down the sink before attempting to make proper tea. This way any factory dust and plasticky smells can be cleaned out of the kettle before you attempt to make the real McCoy. I did this process at least three times in order to ensure that that my tea tasted like tea should and not like necking down the contents of a TCP bottle. This appeared to do the trick and our first cup of tea from our new kettle tasted good and we got that oooo from our Typhoo :o)
The kettle is much quicker to boil than my old Tesco model. We can have enough boiling water for two cups of tea in less than two minutes. I've not yet timed the kettle's boiling speed at its full capacity of eight cups, but I would imagine it's just as swift and a hell of a lot safer than my previous leaky Tesco model.
*** PLUS POINTS ***
I love the look of the kettle. It looks good with all my other black and chrome appliances and it looks smart on the worktop next to my black and chrome Gaggia coffee machine.
I'm impressed with the speed with which our new kettle boils. It takes literally less than two minutes to make two piping hot cups of tea on the table. I also think that the two gauges on the sides of the kettle are very handy so we can fill the kettle with enough water for two cups of tea rather than taking a stab in the dark and either over or under-filling the kettle as we did with our old Tesco model.
The kettle also feels a lot safer to use and pour than my old Tesco one. The Morphy Richards one doesn't leak at all, which couldn't be said of my previous model which tended to get a little bit damp and wobbly everytime it reached boiling point. Similarly I love the wide spout on the Morphy Richards Accents kettle - it makes pouring easy and a lot safer.
The kettle is very easy to keep clean. It has a removable filter inside the lid which you can rinse under the tap every now and then to remove any limescale. As we live in a hard water area, this needs to be done every two weeks, with a full kettle descale undertaken every six weeks or so. As I rather lazily tend to fill my kettle by shoving the spout under the tap rather than opening the lid properly, the kettle does tend to get dried water marks around the spout. A quick buff with dry cloth removes any water marks from both the black plastic and the silver chrome accents.
Finally the instruction booklet that accompanies the kettle is clear and to the point. It's easy to follow with both diagrams and trouble-shooting lists.
*** NEGATIVE ISSUES ***
However, not all is rosy in the Morphy Richards garden and there are one or two issues I have with this kettle. That said none of the issues are massive and I certainly won't be plugging my old Tesco appliance back in any day soon. That's been well and truly consigned to the dustbin.
My first issue with this kettle is the noise. It's not the quietest of boilers, in fact it's really rather noisy. There is no gentle build up background noise as the kettle does its thing. You know it's switched on and you've just got to wait for it to finish before you can resume your conversation. Thankfully it's quick to boil so you don't need to wait long!
Although the water tasted fine after we did the initial boiling and discarding after we first used the kettle, the plasticky taste to the water does tend to creep back in occasionally. My second beef about this kettle is the taste of the water if you try and reboil water that has just recently boiled. In the past if we fancied a second cup of tea within half an hour of our first cuppa, then we'd simply reboil the kettle or just top the kettle contents up with cold water from the tap. If we do this with our new kettle, the water tastes absolutely revolting - that full medicinal TCP taste that overpowers and spoils even the strongest teabag. Unfortunately it means that we have to fully empty the kettle of any remaining water and refill it with fresh tap water every single time we want a cup of tea. This is not only time-consuming but rather wasteful of not just water but electricity. Perhaps this is something that will disappear with time, but after eight weeks use, there's no sign of any abatement in that disgusting taint to any reboiled water.
*** COST AND AVAILABILITY ***
We originally spotted this kettle in Homebase where it retails for a rather whopping £39.99. You can, however, buy it direct from Morphy Richards for £29.99.
That was still too rich for us and we headed on over to Amazon and picked it up for £26.97. At the time of writing Amazon are now selling this model for £27.96.
*** RECOMMENDED? ***
I love the look of my new kettle - it looks very smart on my worktop and matches perfectly with my other black and chrome appliances.
I've been impressed with the speed at which it boils water and how safe and secure it feels on its stand as it boils. There's definitely no more leaking hot water on my worktop with this model.
However, whilst the noisiness isn't a major deal breaker for us, I really am hoping that the plasticky taste to any reboiled water will disappear over time. I'm happy with the taste of the water when it's freshly boiled, but cannot understand why water than was boiled less than 30 minutes beforehand should develop such an unpleasant taste if you make the mistake of reboiling it. It's both wasteful and time-consuming to have to empty and refill the kettle every single time you want to use it.
I'm afraid that this kettle loses a star over this issue and therefore only gets four stars from me. If and when the kettle manages to lose that unpleasant taint to the taste of its reboiled water then I wouldn't hesitate to upgrade it to a full five stars, but for now it remains firmly at four stars.
*** TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS ***
A full description of this kettle can be found at http://www.morphyrichards.co.uk/ products/kettles/jug-kettles/43173-Accents-Black-Jug-Kettle.html
* Plastic kettle with chrome accents
* Dimensions: Height 23cm, Width 18.4cm, Depth 25.5cm
* Weight 1.6kg
* Wattage: 3kw for a rapid boil
* Capacity: 1.7L or 8 cups of tea
* Length of cord: 2m with cord storage under the base
* Water level indicator
* Water gauge with blue illumination
* 360 degree cordless base
* Removable limescale filter
* 1 year guarantee
As well as black, this kettle comes in a superb range of colours such as lime green, cream, beige, red or purple.
Part of a co-ordinating range the Morphy Richards 43173 Accents Black Jug Kettle is stylish kettle from the Accents collection which with a splash of colour offers a modern look for your kitchen / The kettle has 360 degree cordless base for left and right hand use and features dual water gauge window water level indicator removable limescale filter and quiet boil technology.Coloured plastic body1.7 Litre 3kw Concealed rapid boil elementBlue illuminationDual window water gaugeMatching kitchen appliances360 degree cordless baseWater level indicatorRemovable limescale filterIlluminated on/off switchFail safe cut out / Short name: Morphy Richards 43173