I think I saw a post in a Coffee Facebook Group where someone was asking whether or not they should upgrade their electric kettle. See, if I remember this correctly, the poster’s current kettle was still working but the new ones are just so dang beautiful that it’s enticing to upgrade. The last part of the question, again if I remember this correctly, was if there have been any actual improvements specs wise about electric kettles.
You can adjust the temperature, you can retain it at a certain pressure, there are some slight changes in the gooseneck spout that makes it easier to control flow rate – to a skeptic all that just seem to be nitpicky things that majority of casual brewers won’t even notice the difference of. It’s an electric kettle, mate.
Unless it can heat water to the correct temperature in seconds or use Artificial Intelligence to predict what kind of beans and brewing method you are using to prepare the water accordingly (if that’s actually available, hit me up) or it somehow transfers water electronically from one house to another, then you don’t really need it to be so expensive. As long as it’s made from material that won’t poison you, it heats water up, and it has a spout that lets you control flow rate easily – if you can find something that checks all these boxes at a lower price then you are good. All those nitpicky things? Most people won’t even know enough to actually care about them. Now, why are there kettles that cost more than my most expensive pair of sneakers or just a few pesos away from my Smart Watch, and more importantly why do a lot of people actually want to buy them?
I posted a story on my Instagram account @shareyourkape where I pointed out that my recent purchase of a budget soundbar and external subwoofer was a few Pesos (Philippines Peso, I’m from the Philippines) cheaper than my supposedly budget manual coffee grinder, the Timemore Chestnut C2. I like this soundbar, it can only connect to my Apple TV via Bluetooth so it can’t get that loud, but it is enough. Base is deep and rich, mids are somewhat non-existent though, I digress. A soundbar, that has some electric parts and somewhat calibrated by the manufacturer, something riddled with Intellectual Property, is slightly cheaper than a manual coffee grinder that can only grind coffee. I mentioned an Apple TV. The maxed out version of the Apple TV that you can purchase in the Apple PH webstore, is actually cheaper than a Comandante C40 Nitro Blade (seriously, why does that sound like a Rambo Knife?). A premium grinder, yes, but again can only grind coffee and has some plastic parts.
It’s a niche market and it’s a passionate market. Also, for those that make coffee for a living, it’s nice to have these high-end gear because you’re investing in your business. But for a home brewer? A lot of us won’t even understand some of the small nuances these things do to your final brew – you know, a loose representation of the law of diminishing returns? I’m not discrediting the effort of the teams that built these amazing products, but I just can’t help think about why there’s such a premium paid for them. There’s a lot of R&D done to get them just right, but so are the things I compared their prices to. Now don’t go pulling out the “they have a small team” card, because when you think about that should mean they should have smaller overhead and less people to pay, so why do they need so much markup on their products?
This is just my opinion. I also say only some are overpriced, like electric kettles, but things like a precise and fast scale or a smart brewer maybe warrant a hefty price tag. I’m sure someone can explain it properly why they have these prices, but it’s pretty hard to accept a certain high price just because something “looks good”. Also explains why it’s possible that my most expensive pair of sneakers can be cheaper than an electric kettle because I do not like how Yeezys look like.
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Categories: thoughts with kape