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Gadget of the Week

Gadget of the Week: Ideal device for coffee-challenged travel

For many, early morning coffee is non-negotiable, but it’s not so easy when travelling, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

What is it?

First, let’s get rid of the pink elephant in the room. The worst online user comment on this product is that it ships in an “awful pink”. Bearing in mind a foldable kettle is not exactly designed for display or to fit into one’s home décor theme, I would suggest that is a forgivable flaw.

As they say, however, it’s a matter of horses for courses. Or rather, coffee for hotel rooms. One of the greatest drawbacks of travel, for the coffee lover, is that accommodation establishments are completely hit and miss in the in-room beverage department.

This applies all the way from low-end lodging where the room has no facilities at all, to high-end Las Vegas hotels where coffee machines are specifically not provided, so that visitors have an incentive to get out of their rooms and into the casinos and (expensive) coffee shops.

It is not only that the cost of coffee (or tea) is prohibitive in foreign countries, it is also that those of us who depend on coffee to get us going in the morning don’t want to wait until we can get to a coffee shop. In my case, it’s usually a matter of having to wait until I get to the venue where a conference is being hosted, find a coffee station, and settle for awful conference coffee.

Taking one’s own coffee is part of the solution: buying sachets or travelling with small plastic packets of granules of one’s preferred home brew is a simple matter. But if there is no kettle, it presents another set of logistic challenges.

The answer is, of course, a collapsible kettle. But there has always been a large gap between that “of course” and that “collapsible kettle”. Until recently, most options had to be imported, and cost from R1,000 upward. The cost of foreign coffee becomes almost palatable.

Now, Takealot has brought in the Travel Folding Electric Kettle, a low-cost collapsible silicone kettle, with a foldable handle. Its dimensions are 19cm x 17cm x 13cma, and it has a 600ml capacity, enough for two cups of coffee (or tea!). It boils fast, but need to be switched off manually after boiling.

Takealot says it uses food grade silicone materials, along with a stainless-steel base, and is high-temperature resistant to a maximum of 230 degrees.

Suitable for home use, travel, and camping, it comes into its own when coffee (or tea!) is expensive or non-existent.

It comes with a plug and cord, as well as a storage bag. However, it’s one of the few tech products for which I would recommend keeping the box for ensuring damage-free packing.

What does it cost?
From R269 to R296 at Watch out for “unboxed deals” at even lower prices.

Why does it matter?

  • The cost of a cup of coffee (or tea) in most foreign countries, when converted into South African
  • currency, can run to a few hundred rand. For the cost of two cups, one can bring one’s own supply. It
  • also overcomes the challenges of coffee-challenged settings and conference coffee.

What are the biggest negatives?

  • It has some delicate parts, and can be damaged in one’s luggage if not in a
  • protective box.
  • Not quite as collapsible as the marketing suggests. But a fraction of the price of
  • those that collapse completely.
  • Needs to be switched off manually after boiling.

What are the biggest positives?

  • Easy to fit into luggage.
  • Boils enough water to make two cups of coffee (or tea) at a time.
  • Low-cost!
  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on
    Twitter on @art2gee
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