Product: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker
As avid tea drinkers (some might say snobs), we didn't expect or even want to like Breville's new high tech tea brewer. How could a machine possibly replicate the knowledge and experience required to brew the perfect cuppa black, green, or herbal tea – or even the joy of this daily ritual? Designed specifically for loose-leaf tea, the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker is more than an electric kettle. Although it may be used to boil plain water, its central feature is an automated basket that holds tea leaves and moves up and down to immerse them at precisely the right moment. Tea experts will tell you that different varieties require specific water temperatures and brewing times. Getting this wrong can result in a cup of tea that's bitter, weak, or simply not up to its true flavor potential. As it turns out, Breville took all of this into consideration.
The Breville One-Touch Tea Maker includes a 1.5 liter (51 ounce) German Schott glass jug, which sits atop a power base. Controls include buttons for tea type (green, black, white, herbal, oolong, custom), strength (strong, medium, mild, custom), and variable temperature and time. Additional settings include auto start, keep warm, and basket, which continuously lifts and lowers the stainless steel tea basket for maximum infusion. The LCD display indicates the real-time temperature and the time since brew. A one-teaspoon scoop is also provided.
Pros and Cons
As stated, we didn't expect this appliance to be able to handle the intricacies of tea brewing. However, we were pleased to discover how well it handled different kinds of tea, from rare white and green teas to black tea blends to herbal tisanes. The tea type and strength presets are on point, but at the same time it is easy to override these and select a custom brew time or temperature.
Whether making tea or boiling hot water, it heats up impressively fast, and then watching the basket lower into the jug is mesmerizing. The ability to step away from the machine and still get perfectly brewed tea is one of its advantages (it beeps when ready), but we must admit we usually hang around to watch the basket action. We suppose this has taken the place of our old, manual tea brewing ritual.
Clean up of the jug and basket is easy. Tannin build-up can mar the initial attractiveness of the jug, but this can be removed by boiling water with lemon juice, baking soda, or vinegar (look for instructions in the accompanying manual).
Finally, for both aesthetic and safety reasons, we appreciate the fact that you can wrap and store excess cord length underneath the power base.
To be sure, a high tech tea maker is not a necessity, especially at a price of $250. However, if you make a lot of tea for yourself or guests, or at the workplace, we have no qualms about the quality of the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker. It both offers foolproof settings for those who know nothing about tea and precise controls for those who want to customize their brews.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: 1: Breville, 2-5: Emily Ho, 6-9: Gregory Han, 10: Emily Ho)