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The gooseneck kettle is perhaps the most iconic symbol of contemporary manual coffee brewing. This kettle is elegant swan necks, ergonomic handles, and tapered spouts that make them ideal for precision brewing. Their eye-catching and modern designs make them the perfect representatives for the third-wave manual coffee movement. They are stylish and highly functional, a deadly combination in today's coffee culture.
On the other hand, a gooseneck kettle isn’t just a hip accessory for baristas wearing cool leather aprons; it serves a specific purpose. For coffee brewing, the holy grail is even extraction. That is why we pursue uniform particle sizes when grinding and why, when doing a pour-over, we don’t just haphazardly dump the entire volume of water onto the bed of grounds.
When to use a Gooseneck
The gooseneck kettle does not offer an advantage in all brewing methods. Before you decide a gooseneck will solve all your brewing woes, you need to think about what type of brewing methods you typically use.
There is no significant advantage to using a gooseneck kettle for immersion brewing, with the possible exception of the Aeropress.
People can get a little crazy with their Aeropress recipes. For some of the more advanced Aeropress recipes, agitation of the coffee grounds is a significant concern, and the recipe author can go to some lengths to describe the vigor and amount of stirs you should give your slurry.
If you are brewing in a French Press or Clever, there is no need to upgrade to a gooseneck at this point. Unless, of course, you want to.
Pour Over Brewing
The advantage of a gooseneck kettle is when using it for pour-over brew methods. While you can brew a good pour-over without a gooseneck, there are some techniques and recipes that are nearly impossible without the control a gooseneck offers.
A great example of this is Blue Bottle’s Nel Drip recipe. The recipe has particular times and flow rates for pouring. You will see things in the recipe like, “This first pour is almost excruciatingly slow – 45 grams over 45 seconds.” A slow trickle like that takes some practice with a gooseneck, and expecting to achieve the same control with a regular kettle will be frustrating.
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