Aqua Optima Electric Kettle review

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REVIEW – Any tea aficionado knows that there’s more to brewing tea than boiling water and pouring it over a tea bag.  One, temperature matters.  If the water is too hot or too cool, it can cause over or under extraction and alter the flavor of the tea.  Two, depending upon location, a filter may necessary to remove chlorine or other chemicals.  In this review, I will be testing the Aqua Optima electric kettle to see if it can help me brew that perfect mug of tea.

What is it?

The Aqua Optima is an electric kettle that filters the water and allows the user to specify its desired temperature.

What’s included?

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The following items are included:

  • Kettle with hopper and lid
  • Heating base with controls
  • One filter
  • Manual

Tech Specs

This gadget has the following specifications:

  • Power:  1500 watts
  • Capacity:  1.7 liters, but only 1 liter can be used for water
  • Temperature:  From 100 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit

Design and features

The Aqua Optima Electric Kettle has a glass carafe that sits on top of a powered based.  The carafe contains a hopper in which the filter sits and on which the lid set.  The controls on the base are simple and easy to use, and a large, bright LED panel displays the desired and current temperatures.  It’s a simple and clean design that I appreciate.

Assembly, installation, and setup

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The setup is so easy that there’s no need to read the manual. I removed everything from the box, washed the kettle, hopper, and lid, and rinsed out the filter.

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I put the filter in the hopper and the hopper in the base.  The lid has a tight seal, so I snugged it into place.  Oddly, the lid does not sit on the carafe but rather on the hopper; if I don’t put the hopper in the kettle, then the lid can’t be used. After plugging the base into an outlet, the Aqua Optima Electric Kettle is ready to go.

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To use the Optima, I removed the lid, and poured water into the hopper.  As you would expect, I have to wait until the filter has done its job in order to add more water, and then wait for the filter again until the water reaches the max fill line.  I press the on button and rotate the knob until the LED displays my desired temperature.  As I rotate the knob to set the temperature, the Optima repeatedly beeps at me, an unnecessary and annoying feature.  The Optima always starts with a default temperature of 212 degrees.

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The Aqua Optima Electric Kettle’s Amazon page trumpets that the carafe is 1.7 liters, but this is misleading.  The manual warns in a BOLD FONT to never fill the water about the max file line, which is only 1 liter.  This is a small capacity for an electric kettle — most kettles are 1.4 or 1.7 liters — only enough to fill up two mugs of tea in our house, but this is the tradeoff that comes with having a filter.

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Black tea prefers water at a full boil (212), green tea at a brisk steam (180), and mate at steaming (160).  I decided to test how long it takes for the Optima to heat up water and how hot the water actually is compared to the value displayed on the LED.

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To measure it, I put an oven thermometer in the kettle.

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Some kettles heat up water above the desired temperature and then let it cool down; the Aqua Optima Electric Kettle takes the opposite approach.  It leaves the heating element on until it is within 20 degrees and then begins to turn it off and on until it slowly reaches the desired temperature.  It then beeps and shuts off.  I chose to test the Optima at 3 different temperatures, 160, 185, and 212.  Here’s what I found:

  • It takes 4 minutes to reach a set temperature of 160 degrees, and the measured temperature was 154.
  • It takes 3 minutes and 45 seconds to reach a set temperature of 185 degrees, and the measured temperature was 178.
  • It takes 4 minutes and 35 seconds to reach a set temperature of 212 degrees, and the measured temperature was 205.

I was surprised by these results, as they show that the Optima is consistently underheating the water by 6 to 7 degrees.  For someone who is trying to brew that perfect cup of tea, this might be a problem.

(Note:  I verified this thermometer’s readings by comparing it to three other thermometers:  another oven thermometer, a candy thermometer, and a meat thermometer.)

The Aqua Optima M9 is more expensive than most electric kettles on Amazon, but its price is in line with those that have a temperature setting and a water filter.

Aqua rates their filters to last 40 gallons, which they estimate to be about two months of average use. Additional filters can be purchased on Amazon.

What I like about the Aqua Optima

  • Clean design
  • Temperature control

What needs to be improved?

  • Adjust the sensor to more accurately measure the water
  • Stop beeping when setting the temperature

Final thoughts

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The Aqua Optima M9 is an electric kettle that features a water filter and a temperature control.  It can heat up to one liter of water to any desired temperature from 100 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, though my tests showed that it consistently underheated the water by 6 to 7 degrees.  If you just want to boil water and don’t care about filtering water or specific temperatures, the M9 will do the job, but there are cheaper kettles out there.  If you do care about these features, then you might want to consider the M9.

Price: $75
Where to buyAmazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided free of charge by Aqua Optima.  Aqua Optima did not have a final say on the review and did not preview the review before it was published.

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