Nightmare scenario: you want a cup of tea but for some reason, you don’t have a kettle. What to do Without the kettle, how do you get the whole “hot water” part of tea?
Nothing is quite as helpful and quick as a kettle, but such alternatives as coffee pots, saucepans and French presses will get you to where you need to be. As for sources of heat, there are a few options to look out for, and yes, this may include the microwave…
Let’s take a look at all your options in the event of a kettle-less emergency.
Turkish Coffee Pot
Are you Turkish? If so, the chances of you owning a Turkish coffee pot are higher than the average non-Turkish person. Good news if you’re one of those people who also has a craving for tea. You can make one just as well using a Turkish coffee pot.
Also known as ibrik or cezve, Turkish coffee pots make a perfect substitution for a kettle if you’re in the mood for a brew. While varying in size, they are generally small and accessible and will provide you with around one to two cups of tea with each boil.
Pour the water into the pot, place it on the stove and boil until it’s hot enough for you. Remove it from the stove and add your teabags or loose leaves. Use a strainer to catch said leaves or bags when serving the tea. Steep as usual and enjoy!
Saucepans and Woks
Lucky for you there are a lot of different pans and pots you can use for making tea. So long as you have any of the following, you can boil water over a stove: saute pan, saucepan, saucepot, stockpot, a wok, paella pan or cake pan. Chances are, if there’s a word in the world followed by “pan” it should be able to boil water!
Practise caution with this one. Smaller pans should be covered with a lid lest you incur the wrath of splashing and dripping boiling water. Likewise, using pots that are too big may cool the water down too fast. The material of your pot or pan will probably also have an impact on the taste of your tea but this is only a problem if you’re really stuffy about that thing. Avoid copperware options.
French presses are famous for brewing coffee but if you’re in a pickle, they can also be used to steep tea. Mainly because the French press is very close in nature to a teapot, only with a built-in strainer. Better yet, the French press — like most French innovations — is very clean and tidy, with little to zero chance of spilling anything.
Bring the water to a boil, add the tea leaves to the bottom of the French press, pour in the hot water and allow tea to steep. Cover with a lid and press the tea leaves a few times if you so wish. If not just leave for 3–5 minutes and serve. Use a glass press if at all possible!
Coffee pots and teapots are not the same devices with different contents dumped in. They are different devices with different functions, but here’s some good news: they can be used to make tea if you’re really struggling to make a brew. Coffee pots are usually able to withstand extreme temperatures so don’t worry about anything breaking!
The process is simple: place water in the coffee pot, put it on the stove, bring it to the boil, place your tea inside, close the lid, and steep for a few minutes. Pour the result into your cup of choice and enjoy.
It is possible to heat water for tea in the oven but there are a few rules to follow. First, the water will only boil in the oven if the temperature is set to over 100 degrees Celsius. You’ll have to choose a container that can withstand such temperatures and strong enough to manage the weight of the water.
Anything you usually cook food in will work, so long as it has a lid or can be covered with aluminium foil to prevent the water from evaporating and making sure you can retain as much heat as possible for your brew. Once bubbling and boiled, take out and prepare your tea in whichever way you please.
Here at Leafbird, we try to sway our readers from the shoddy levels of microwave tea, but the inconvenient reality for us is that it’s a very handy way of making tea without a kettle. Americans have become notorious for creating manuals on it. We’ve put this at the end for a reason. This is a last resort and if British, something you should never admit to another soul.
The length of time it takes to boil water in a microwave depends on how much much you’re boiling. Generally, it takes between 1 and 2 minutes to boil two cups of water in a standard 1,000 watt microwave. Just make sure you check the water every 30 seconds to gauge its temperature.
Just because you don’t have the ability to create boiling water through any means doesn’t mean you can’t make some a brew. For those of you in warmer climates, iced tea might be the way forward. Though usually made by first brewing the leaves or bag in boiling water, iced tea can be done without it.
Place two or three tea bags in a large container and pour in a good amount of room temperature or cold water. Cover the container and place it in the fridge and allow it to steep for 8–12 hours. Remove the tea bags and serve over ice with a sweetener of your choice!
If you’re out in the wilderness somewhere, far from any modern tea-making equipment, it is still possible to boil some water by using a plastic water bottle (filled with water ideally). Water boils at 212°F (100°C) while plastic bottles do not melt until 491°F (255°C), making this a very safe option.
Create a small fire, place your bottle directly in the fire. It’ll probably change colour but that’s okay. The water inside will only heat to its boiling point, making it impossible for the bottle to melt. Carefully remove the bottle once boiled, cram a teabag in there and Bob’s your uncle! But just pack a flask whenever you’re on a hike…