27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Kathleen San Martino
- Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Before I tell you about my experience with this teamaker, I feel it is important to elaborate on brewing tea in general.
There are two factors besides the quality of tea that make a good cup of tea. One is the brewing temperature and the other is the steeping time (how long it sits in the hot or warm water). Although temperatures will vary by person and by website and source being read, below is the general temperature guideline for each type of tea. I listed the teas in brewing temperature order from boiling to tepid. Black teas seem to be used more pervasively in the US and Britain, so I suspect this teamaker is geared to that market.
Rooibos (not a true tea; a tisane) - 212F (boiling)
Pu-erh - 212F (boiling)
Black - 205 - 212F (can vary but usually brewed at boiling temperature)
Herbal (not a true tea; a tisane)- 205 - 212F (can vary but usually brewed at boiling temperature)
Oolong - 195 - 212F (I usually brew this at 195F and less than boiling is typical for most tastes)
Green - 175 - 190F (I usually brew this type tea between 175 and 180F)
Yellow - 180 - 190F (I've never brewed this tea but my references show this is the appropriate temperature)
White - 140 - 160F (I usually brew at 185F)
In addition to the above temperatures, the steeping time is a personal preference. I usually steep black teas (or other high-temp teas) for 4-5 minutes and the more delicate white and green teas from 2-3 minutes. I have never steeped tea longer than 6 minutes so the 16 minute steeping time available on this teamaker is overkill but is still a nice option for those who want it.
Therefore, since this tea brewer does not have a temperature setting, I consider this appliance only useful for brewing black, pu-erh, rooibos, and most herbal teas or tisanes which are normally brewed at boiling temperatures or close to it. I suppose oolong tea could be successfully brewed with this pot by reducing the steeping time to offset the damaging effects of the boiling temperature but it is not something I would try with my expensive oolong tea. Personally, I drink mostly green and some black teas but also have a couple of white and oolong teas and a pu-erh blend. This means I can only brew my black and pu-erh blend tea in this teamaker because the water is too hot for the other teas based on my tastes. If I were to brew my green tea in this teamaker it would taste very, very bitter.
I have listed the other PROS and CONS below.
- My peach black tea, when brewed in this pot, tasted very good as it should have when brewed correctly.
- The unit is sexy with an hourglass figure and the glass carafe is cute.
- Carafe holds one liter of tea which is slightly less than 34 ounces (1 quart equals about 4 mugs of tea at 8 ounces each mug or about 6 cups if using a small teacup).
- Steeping time is adjustable between 2 to 16 minutes.
- Automatic keep warm function is enabled for one hour after tea is brewed.
- Stainless steel steeping container holds loose leaf tea without seepage of leaves.
- Indicator lights change between red and green depending on cycle and the unit clicks (rather loudly) each time the cycle changes.
- Tea bags, loose leaf tea or any blend of teas can be used.
- During my first use on the initial cleaning cycle, the water would not dispense from the brewing chamber into the carafe. The brewing chamber and carafe were seated correctly and snapped into place. Also, removing the chamber and re-inserting it several times didn't work, which is why I had to dump the water and start over. Had I been brewing tea, I would have had to pour my tea from the hot brewing chamber into the carafe myself. As a result of this failure, I had to dump the water out and try again. I jiggled the little spring loaded plastic pieces in the center of the unit. These pieces are similar to the plastic hinge you find on a coffee pot that moves into place when you remove the pot during the brew cycle. I then tried the initial cleaning cycle again and this time it worked. Later I was able to brew a successful pot of tea; I am hoping my first cleaning cycle attempt will be my only failed experience.
- There is NO ADJUSTABLE TEMPERATURE setting.
- Instruction book does not provide a troubleshooting section for the unit.
- Instruction book provides only half the story with regard to how to brew tea because it never mentions brewing temperature is critical. Instead it implies varying the steeping time is what brews a good cup of tea. Also, the book does not tell you the size of the measuring scoop. I use 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea per 6-8 ounces of water. The scoop provided with this teamaker is 1 tablespoon (meaning 3 teaspoons).
- Although this is not a CON for me, the carafe, brewing chamber, steeper and accessories should be lightly washed by hand.
- The indicator light turns green when tea is ready as it is being dispensed into the carafe. It would be better if the light turns green once all the tea has made it from the brewing chamber to the carafe instead.
- The water is slightly painstaking to dispense into the tank. When opening the tank lid there is only a small rim that will hold water; if the water is poured too fast into the rim, there is not enough time for it to dispense into the tank. Instead a slow steady pour is necessary to prevent any water seepage. You must also wait until all the water drains into the tank before you close the lid.
- The unit is very large at 15 inches tall and just barely fits under my counter.
- Although the carafe is made of glass, the brewing chamber pot is plastic. I would have preferred glass here as well.
- Funnel provided looks like an apple corer with a center cover for the hole. To me this funnel is too much. The reason it is provided is to cover the hole in the steeping basket but the "spokes" in the funnel make it difficult to pour in loose tea without spillage onto the "spokes," meaning the funnel has to be cleaned or wiped every time.
- This teamaker is not worth more than $30 to me simply because I drink a lot of green tea and that should not be brewed with boiling water.
- There is a lot to wash on this teamaker after the tea is brewed including the tea infuser basket, brew chamber and lid, carafe and lid, funnel, and measuring spoon. The center island separator (shelf separating top unit from bottom) should be wiped down as well.
- This teamaker has no timer features; so you cannot wake up to fresh brewed tea if you wanted it.
The current price of $59.09 is way too expensive for this teamaker especially since it does not have a wake-up timer that will produce freshly brewed tea in the morning.
In my opinion, for the real tea connoisseur it is worth paying five times the current price and buying the Breville BTM800XL One-Touch Tea Maker which has all the needed features and more to brew any kind of tea; I know because I own one. For anyone who just brews the teas that require boiling water only for themselves, I see it as overkill to purchase this pot. The only reason I purchased my Breville was to brew the more delicate teas and also because it really is a nifty appliance and quite a conversation piece.
Of course, if you entertain and want to set it and forget it when brewing tea, then this might be for you. Also, if you personally just prefer something that keeps several cups of tea warm and has a built in steeping timer, then this is an acceptable but expensive option; however, be prepared for a lot of cleanup as the tea infuser basket, brew chamber and lid, carafe and lid, funnel, measuring spoon, and center piece of the unit all have to be washed or wiped down after the tea is consumed.
From my perspective, this teamaker is just acceptable especially since I'm more of green tea fan, do not entertain, and only drink 1-2 cups of tea a day. If this teamaker had a programmable timer that could be set to wake up to a fresh pot of tea in the morning, I would have given it 4 stars even though I myself wouldn't use that feature. I feel all the decent coffee pots in this price range have that feature so there's no reason this teamaker shouldn't be similar. Nevertheless, as long as it works as designed, it does brew a good cup of black tea.
I will update this post if I encounter any more failures with the brewing chamber not releasing the tea into the carafe.
September 19, 2012 UPDATE - I've made more than 8 pots of tea with this unit and it still has not failed as it did the first time so I consider my first time problem a fluke. I will only update this review again if the problem resurfaces. On another note, my boyfriend saw this teamaker and also feels (as I do) that it is an aesthetically beautiful machine.
November 21, 2012 UPDATE - This tea maker is going strong and is still a pleasure to brew black tea in. However, today I just purchased another Breville BTM800XL One-Touch Tea Maker for myself for Christmas after having my first one for over two years. I just had to have a backup tea maker for my green and other "non-black" teas. Since the price is now $200 ($199.99) during the holidays; anyone considering the purchase of this Nesco might also want to consider the Breville if they are brewing teas that do not brew in boiling water. However, if you only brew black and other teas that take boiling water, then this Nesco is your best buy.