Heating hot water in a kettle on the stove and manually decanting tea leaves from the pot may soon be the VCR of tea-preparing technology. The Breville Tea Maker not only brews a good cup of tea, it provides some amazing entertainment. It is captivating as it goes through the steps from boiling water to removing the leaves from the bottom of the pot. Equipped with a panel that has preset buttons for tea type and the strength of steep, this high-tech teapot makes brewing easy.
To begin the process, the Tea Maker comes with a "quick start guide" which, among other things, lists how much water to put in the carafe depending on the desired yield. The minimum is two cups and maximum is five - approximately enough for a teapot serving. Once you have filled the carafe with water, the next step is to place the loose tea in the stainless steel basket. Snap on the basket lid and the top to the pot and you are ready to start the brewing selection. Now the fun begins!
Push the button for the type of tea and then decide how you would like it brewed: strong, medium, mild or custom. This is where, with measured consistency, you can discover how best you like a particular tea. Some teas taste better brewed strong while others need, quite literally, a lighter touch. It's great to experiment and have the technology to assure you are controlling for extraneous variables - at least somewhat.
Aside from the quasi-scientific appeal, it's the steeping process that will grab your attention. As soon as the water is heated to the appropriate temperature, the basket begins its downward travel to the bottom of the carafe. It remains there for the full steeping time and then it ascends to the top, completing its mission. A true modern marvel of technology that, like your smart phone or Skype, you would have thought only possible for the Jetson's.
The automated steeping basket has entertainment value, certainly, but it's practical as well. This convenient feature gives you some freedom as you don't have to be held hostage to the teapot to remove the leaves at just the right time. That being said, the tea can cool off pretty quickly, so don't wait too long to push the "keep warm" button if you want to continue to heat it.
The Breville Tea Maker also allows for custom settings for tea brewing and if you just want to heat water, there's a button for that as well.
If pressed for finding any negatives, my only issue would be that the carafe itself is a bit heavy. I purchased a plastic cup with the same measurements as the carafe and that way I don't have to lift the pot. (After a few years of heating tea with an electric kettle made from light-weight plastic, I'm used to a lighter container, especially after you add the water.)
Quick, easy and consistent, this tea brewing system has a lot to offer. Although you may not be ready to throw the tea kettle out with the cassette player, you'll be convinced the Breville Tea Maker is a high tech option for a great cup of tea.
Reviewer's note: I received the Breville Tea Maker as a gift this holiday season after a few years of it being on my wish list. It did not disappoint!