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Zarafina Tea Maker vs. Breville One Touch Tea Maker

OK… Mother’s Day and my birthday are just weeks apart, so I usually come up with a cool tool (generally it’s an art tool like an awesome book binding machine or something) that I want for a “combined occasion” gift. This year, I have decided that I ~ the anti-gadget goddess ~ shall break down her trepidation about gadgetry and trade in my old electric kettle for a fancy-pants tea maker. (My old kettle has seen better days and is due for retirement anyway)

But which one do I choose?

To be honest, I am leaning more toward the Zarafina, not because of cost but because I think I like it better. I like that it dispenses into the little teapot, which would make for pleasant serving.

Which would you choose, and more importantly why? I am trying to do a little comparative shopping … and I realize that the Breville isn’t yet available for shipment, so I know that a lot of the input would be based upon speculation… but that’s ok.

Thanks in advance for your input!

30 Replies
Cofftea said

As of yet, I wouldn’t pick either. I’ve made some min temp range and time interval change suggestions and and if those are made, I’d pick that one hands down. Reasons: Custom temp and time settings (although not custom enough for me yet), Timer- I’d love to wake up or come home to a cuppa (or water for matcha) waiting for me. A downside to the Zarafina- I really don’t need or want the pot or cups that cup w/ it. Another option (like you need to make this choice harder lol) is the Fine T Automatic Tea Maker, that one also has a 24 hr timer- it doesn’t boil like the Breville though… which, depending on the user, may not matter.

I’d definitely NOT want a timer, I freshly filter my water just before I heat it, and a timer would mean that water was sitting overnight in the machine, losing precious oxygen, whereas boiling water would be essential because I do drink a lot of black tea… in fact, I can’t imagine starting my day any other way.

Cofftea said

Room temp water sitting out loses oxygen? Interesting… Not to tell you how to brew your blacks of course:) But I did read (here) that boiling water kills the health benefits of tea. Not sure if that matters to you or not, but just thought I’d mention it anyway. The Fine T goes to 206, do you think the 6 degrees would make a difference in the taste?

No the 6 degrees would not make a difference in taste… so that would make the Fine T more acceptable.

I drink tea not for its health benefits but because of the taste. The benefits absolutely are a plus but not the reason I drink tea.

Yes… room temperature water does lose oxygen… that’s why you shouldn’t use bottled water to make tea either… no oxygen. Freshly drawn, cold, freshly filtered tap water is what should be used for optimum flavor.

Cofftea said

I don’t drink it for health benefits either (well, except for Pu Erh- I’m forcing myself to try to love it due to the cholesterol lowering qualities), but my opinion is “If it doesn’t affect the taste, why kill ’em?” :)

Hmmm… well if I used tap water I’d get very sick and could actually die lol… so plan B:) We fill gallon jugs from my grandmother’s tap and then I put it thru my GraviTEA and keep the filter in the frige. I really want to get the ZeroWater filter though.

Well, using tap water is dependent upon the actual quality of the tap water in your area. Here in south Washington state, a simple Britta filter works great for us. …but if it doesn’t work for others according to their own area’s limitations… bottled water is better than nothing!

Cofftea said

Washington state… I’m gonna cry… I miss it! I’ll actually be in Seattle next month though. Would LOVE to find a place that does a Japanese tea ceremony… or at least a cafe that serves matcha.

I don’t know about Seattle, but Tea and Zen in Portland, OR (just minutes away from where I live) has a Chado presentation on the last Tuesday of every month.

Also, every month, the Portland Japanese Garden has the presentation of Chado, usually mid-month.

Cofftea said

Gonna be absolutely nowhere near Portland :( Just Seattle.

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I’ve had a zarafina for a while and I love it. The pot and cups that came with it are still some of my favorites. Speaking of which, anyone have a spare cup they can sell me? I broke one of mine :( However, I got a Breville today and I have to say I love it just a little bit more. There is no customization with the zarafina. It works great when you are just starting out but you’ll eventually wind up killing what might have been a really good cuppa because of it. I love that the Breville has an auto function. I have zero time to make tea in the morning but I can set it the night before and have it waiting for me when I get out of the shower. I also really like that it pulls the leaves out of the water, helps avoid oversteeping.

Cofftea said

Yeah one of the many reasons I like matcha is no steep time, but to have the water already heated for you when you get up or come home? Too cool. That feature won’t get used when I’m home and wake, but as I say w/ lots of things, “It definitely has a place in my tea world”. I want to hear all about your breville- make us jealous:)

@HorseNcl cool! The Breville is shipping now? awesome! Thanks so much for your input.

Does the Zarafina pull the leaves out of the water also?

Cofftea said

@LiberTEAS- It may be shipping (AmazonV bought one in person), but she got it for FREE at the steepster meetup:)

I don’t think they are shipping just yet. I was lucky enough to win one at the meetup. AmazonV got hers from a Williams and Sonoma in the city that is one of the only places with them in stock. The Zarafina does not pull the leaves out of the water, it drains your tea right into the pot that comes with it.

they are NOT shipping yet – Breville or W&S – you need to hit a Williams and Sonoma (otherwise i wouldn’t have had to haul two of the buggers around NYC)

@LiberTEAS the zarafina dumps the tea from steep area to teapot where breville just lifts up the basket

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Another question I have regarding both devices… how easy are they to clean?

I’d say they’re about the same to clean so far. My Zarafina is stained quite a bit but that’s after about three years of almost continuous use.

less parts to scrub with breville, zarafina isn’t hard just stains (the pot at least) and has more pieces – hard to clean was the #1 reason my mom gave me back the zarafina (was a mother’s day gift to her the year it first came out)

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Zarafina versus Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/05/update-breville-one-touch-tea-maker.html

I choose Breville – easier to clean, more customizable steeps, doubles as a variable temperature kettle

PS-my mom had the zarafina and breville and breville var. temp kettle and also adores the breville

Erin said

Oooh, thanks for the side-by-side. I’ll probably eventually get some kind of automatic tea maker, but probably not for quite some time. I’m leaning towards the Breville now, too.

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Adham said

We’ve had a Zarafina for a few months and find that it fills a particular niche – it has a strong little pot of black tea waiting during a busy runaround morning routine. No timer function, so you do have to flick a switch a few minutes before you want your tea ready. In general it has worked well, however several times it has inexplicably not worked the way it was supposed to – half the water drained into the pot overnight so you ended up with cool, weak tea in the morning. It’s always set to hottest water/longest steep, so I can’t say how well it handles other settings. Pretty happy with it overall, but when this one goes to teamaker heaven I’d be inclined to try the Breville after reading the comments here.

you’ll have a while, my zarafina has been kicking for years

Adham said

Hmmm…in that case, something mysterious could always happen to it

Cofftea said

AdhamL… don’t ask me why, but that comment made me picture you taking a large hammer to it and yelling “DIE ZARAFINA! DIE!” lol:P

if it weren’t for all the electronic bits i’d say taking things to the range and shooting them up is great fun (CRT tv’s for sure) but i just don’t think the zarafina would be too fun to attack

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Adham said

:)
or an errant arm could simply sweep it off the bedside table in a fit of pique!

Cofftea said

Or give it as a gift:)

lol, oopse it just kinda fell out the window ;)

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