Just as tea comes in all flavors and a range of colors, so do tea makers. From the simple diffuser ball for a tea glass, to a four cup teapot or even the larger capacity iced tea machine or electric tea maker, these are just some of the many options available for brewing up your favorite beverage.With some many types of tea maker available, it can be difficult to know which will be the best tea maker for you. With that in mind, we offer the lowdown on some of the different tea makers available, and why features such as variable temperature controls and keep warm functions can bring an advantage to your morning brew.
For a quick and easy solution to making iced tea through summer and winter, the Mr. Coffee 2-in-1 iced tea brewing system is our best tea maker pick.
For those who prefer their tea hot, the Adagio Teas IngenuiTEA (16 oz.) is our budget pick for delivering perfectly brewed tea to just one mug.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Tea Makers
- 1. Mr. Coffee 2-in-1 Iced Tea Brewing System
- 2. Adagio Teas 16 oz. ingenuiTEA Bottom-Dispensing Teapot
- 3. Willow & Everett Teapot Kettle with Warmer
- 4. Breville BTM800XL Tea Maker
- 5. GROSCHE Madrid French Press
- 6. Saki Tea Maker
- 7. Comfee MK-17G01B-E5 Electric Kettle and Tea Infuser
- 8. Mr. Coffee Tea Maker and Kettle
- 9. KitchenAid 605516-KEK1322SS Glass Tea Kettle
- 10. Chefman Programmable Electric Kettle
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Tea Maker
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Tea Makers
1. Mr. Coffee 2-in-1 Iced Tea Brewing System
The fast brewing Mr. Coffee 2-in-1 iced tea brewing system can make 2.5 quarts of iced tea from any type of tea bag or tea leaves. The glass pitcher and its plastic lid are suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher, and the filter basket with its permanent filter is easy to remove for cleaning. Its filters also remove up to 97% of chlorine for better tasting tea.If you prefer your brew stronger you can alter the strength setting on this and once the tea is brewed the machine will switch off automatically. This does come with a one year limited warranty, although a number of owners have had less than positive experiences with customer service when trying to make a warranty claim.
2. Adagio Teas 16 oz. ingenuiTEA Bottom-Dispensing Teapot
This Adagio Teas IngenuiTEA (16 oz.) sits on top of a mug to brew tea. You add your tea and water at the correct temperature to the bottom dispensing tea pot then the tea then drains through the mesh filter and into your mug leaving the tea leaves in the IngenuiTEA. When you remove the pot from your mug, its bottom valve seals to prevent any drips or leaks.Made from food grade and BPA free plastic, this is suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher and its 3.5" diameter means it will fit over most standard size mugs and glasses. Like any type of bottom teapot, this can be more prone to leaks, especially since the manufacturer has changed the filter design, so you may want to place it over your glass before you add hot water to it. It can also be difficult to dissemble for thorough cleaning.
3. Willow & Everett Teapot Kettle with Warmer
The glass and stainless steel teapot infuser (40 oz.) allows you to remove the infuser, place cold water in the teapot and boil it up in the microwave. You can then replace the infuser with your loose tea in it and allow it to steep. As a glass teapot this will need handling carefully and because the handle is also glass it may be more fragile when using and there may be some weakness where the handle joins the pot.The infuser is made from 18/8 stainless steel for rust resistance and the teapot also comes with a custom fit tea cozy to help keep it warm. This teapot comes with a 90 day satisfaction guarantee.
4. Breville BTM800XL Tea Maker
Designed to make tea with one touch, the Breville BTM800XL tea maker offers variable temperature control for brewing a variety of different teas. Its tea basket or infuser automatically lowers and rises magnetically during use to support infusion. This feature is only suitable when the pot is full to capacity though. Once the brewing cycle is complete the tea maker moves to a keep warm feature, although this may switch off once the water drops below a certain temperature.
With a digital display and real time monitoring, this 51 oz. or around 1.5 quart tea maker also comes with a timer and automatic start function. You can adjust the strength of your brew and also use this tea maker as a kettle. There is a one year limited warranty on this product, however some owners have struggled to contact customer services to make a warranty claim. Repairs outside of the warranty window will also be costly.
5. GROSCHE Madrid French Press
The GROSCHE Madrid French press (34 oz.) has a Pyrex glass carafe with chrome housing and an 18/8 heavy gauge stainless steel press rod and filter. As well as its traditional use with filter coffee, this French press is ideal for brewing loose leaf tea or being used as a teapot as leaf tea will infuse in a few minutes.Some owners have experienced the rusting on the housing as it is chrome construction rather than stainless steel. The filter may not press finer coffee grounds or tea leaves as well, which may mean that grounds or leaves will stay in the liquid above the filter and pass into your cup when drinking. Although the carafe glass may not be as thick as expected, you can buy replacement glass from the manufacturer.
6. Saki Tea Maker
The Saki tea maker (stainless steel) is an electric tea kettle at the base and a small tea diffuser pot that sits over it, making it ideal for brewing tea Samovar or Turkish style. This is made with food grade stainless steel and can rotate 360° on its base. The handles are easy grip and stay cool to touch and the plastic interior is BPA free.This does have a keep warm function, and although you can just use the bottom pot as a kettle, there is no separate lid - the smaller pot must always stay on top of the larger pot when in use, otherwise the bottom pot will not be able to automatically shut off.
7. Comfee MK-17G01B-E5 Electric Kettle and Tea Infuser
The 1.7 liter (1.8 quart) Comfee MK-17G01B-E5 electric kettle and tea infuser is suitable for use as a kettle or you can add the infuser to make tea. This kettle has variable temperature options making it suitable for brewing a range of teas and coffees. There is also a two hour keep warm function. It has a 360° cordless base, auto shut-off and boil dry protection. The cool touch handle with a non-slip grip contains the control panel and digital display.You may find that this tea kettle is harder to clean, and it may be prone to leakage at the bottom; although it does come with a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer. It is BPA free and made from FDA and UL approved materials.
8. Mr. Coffee Tea Maker and Kettle
With a 1.2 liter/1.25 quart capacity, the Mr. Coffee tea maker and kettle (white) offers five variable temperature settings for brewing a selection of teas, or you can set your own. There is a chance that the inner base of the kettle will begin to show some signs of rusting although it is made from stainless steel and SCHOTT DURAN glass. The stainless steel tea infuser is removeable and dishwasher safe, although depending on your loose leaf, you may find that the infuser does not go far enough into the water for efficient steeping.As well as one hour keep warm and an audible alarm when the tea is brewed, this also has an auto shut-off and boil dry protection. There is only a short warranty on this product, so its lifespan may not be as long as expected.
9. KitchenAid 605516-KEK1322SS Glass Tea Kettle
With a 1.5 liter/1.59 quart capacity, the KitchenAid KEK1322SS glass tea kettle is made from stainless steel and SCHOTT DURAN glass. It has a manual lever to adjust temperature and a keep warm function which keeps it at 158°F for up to half an hour.The stainless steel tea infuser is removeable, so you can just use it as a tea kettle and this comes with a holder to stop any drips once you remove it from the kettle. There is a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer, although the ultimate lifespan on this kettle may not be as long as hoped for. Some owners have also noticed odor coming from this kettle when new, so you may need to clean thoroughly before use.
10. Chefman Programmable Electric Kettle
The Chefman programmable electric kettle has adjustable temperatures for brewing different types of tea. It has a digital temperature control and once the kettle has finished its brewing you can switch it onto a keep warm function for up to one hour, although this will take the temperature back up to boiling, which may affect the flavor of already brewed tea.
This borosilicate 1.8 quart glass kettle also comes with a removeable tea infuser, a stay cool handle and an automatic shut-off function. The shape of the kettle can mean that it is awkward to clean out at the bottom, and some users have found it easier to leave it to air dry rather than attempt to dry it out with a cloth. This kettle is BPA free and comes with a one year limited warranty.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Tea Maker
A tea maker is a common way to describe any kind of vessel that is used to brew tea. This includes the basic one cup ball diffuser right through to electric tea infusers and iced tea makers, as well as everything in between.
A ball diffuser can be ideal for an occasional tea drinker, although these types of tea maker can limit the size of tea leaves that can be steeped. There are also infusers that sit on top of your mug or glass as well as cups which contain an in-built infuser.
The teapot is the next simplest form of tea maker, and with many now offering the option to place loose tea into a diffuser or tea basket rather than straight into the pot, these do reduce the odds of stray tea leaves in your mug. Teapots are often better suited to brewing for more than one person, or for those who enjoy multiple refills.
Although the French press is typically seen in the hands of coffee stalwarts, it is also an ideal tea maker. As with coffee, the leaves go in the bottom, hot water on top and then you can push down the filter when the tea has reached the color/brew of choice. If you prefer this way of brewing tea you may want to use a separate press from your coffee as coffee residue in the press may affect the taste of your tea, especially if you drink lighter white or green teas.
Electric tea makers can help to make brewing more scientific, as these allow you to alter the temperature depending on what type of tea you want to brew. This can be a lot more accurate than taking a guess and switching the kettle off before it boils. A number of electric tea makers tend to have functions such as keep warm, auto shut-off and timers but like the traditional teapot, the capacity of these are better suited to brewing a larger quantity of tea.
Generally, one teaspoon of loose tea per cup of water per person/6 oz. cup is usually enough. The water should ideally be freshly drawn and filtered. Water in a tea kettle which has been re-boiled a number of times has less oxygen content and this will actually make your tea ‘flat’. The fresh water should then be boiled at the best temperature for the particular tea you are drinking.
In terms of temperature, black teas should be brewed at around 212°F and usually left to steep for between four and six minutes. Similarly, most herbal teas are fine at this boiling temperature unless recommended otherwise.
Oolong is better between temperatures of 180°F and 190°F, but will often require more brewing time than a black tea. White teas and green teas are best suited to lower temperatures of between 170°F and 185°F. A green tea may only need steeping for a couple of minutes, whereas a white tea may need as long as six minutes.
Larger leaves that are a looser blend will give you more of a complex brew than a typical tea bag, but you will need to spend more time ensuring they brew correctly.
Tea leaves can expand between twice and five times their dried size once they go into hot water. You need to make sure that the infuser has enough room for larger leaves to unfurl and for the water to circulate around them. If this does not happen properly, the tea will lack flavor. This is one advantage electric tea makers have as they are a lot bigger, it means they have the larger infuser chamber for leaves to move around in.
The Ice Tea Maker
An iced tea maker brews loose tea or tea bags and allows the tea to drip into a carafe full of ice to cool it down. The main advantage of these iced tea machines is they make iced tea very quickly, unlike when you have to make it yourself.
Making iced tea in a maker is usually straightforward. Once the tank is filled with the correct amount of water – filtered is best – then you can add your tea to the brew basket. If you are using loose tea you may need to add a filter, although many models now include a permanent filter. To make around three quarts of tea, between eight and 12 teabags or three to five tablespoons of loose tea is usually enough. If you want to make sparkling tea, then only fill the water reservoir halfway so you can add seltzer to the pitcher once the brew is finished.
You can then fill the pitcher with ice and any other additives such as sweetener or lemon and place the pitcher onto the machine, making sure that it is in full contact with the drip feed. Some iced tea makers allow you to set the desired strength of brew, so you will need to set this correctly before you turn the machine on.
Once turned on, the tea will drip through and then shut off when complete. You can either drink the tea straight away or store in the refrigerator for later. The machine can then be unplugged and cleaned ready for its next use.
Cleaning Tea Makers
Cleaning can be done by hand, or if some components are dishwasher safe then you can put them through the dishwasher. You can just wipe the base of electric tea makers over with a damp cloth.
Tannins naturally occur in tea, and it is these that give tea its astringency and some of its antioxidant capabilities. There are more tannins in black tea. You will often see tannins in the form of the brown deposit that will build up in any tea maker used for teas that are high in tannins.
Tannin stains can usually be usually be removed by filling the pitcher or kettle with water, adding lemon juice, boiling and allowing it to soak overnight. You will need to rinse and re-boil a few times the next day to remove all traces of the lemon juice.
You can use the same solution in an iced tea maker; just run a few reservoirs of water through it before setting it to brew again.
Similarly, you can use one part of vinegar to one part of water and leave to soak for around an hour to remove any hard water deposits. Depending on how easy it is to clean inside your tea maker, you can also rub some baking soda around it on a soft cloth.
Generally, if you live in a hard water area then it can be helpful to clean after every 40 uses or so as this will prevent too much limescale from building up, which will affect how will your tea maker works.
In this article we have taken a look at a variety of tea makers available, as well as the pros and cons of these different types. We have offered some useful tips for using your tea maker, such as how much tea to use and what temperature to boil it at, as well as how to clean those pesky tannin and hard water deposits from it.We hope that this article will help you to choose the best tea maker for your home, whether you prefer iced tea throughout the day, are an occasional hot tea drinker, or like some of us, make the most of a family gathering around a teapot in the afternoon.