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LENA said

Electric Tea Makers

I would like to add one of these to my Christmas list, but I’m having trouble picking one out. I’m not looking for just an electric kettle. I’m more in the market for the TriniTea from Adagio or the Zarafina tea maker. After reading the reviews on the TriniTea, I’m seeing the same complaints over and over and it makes me a little leary. Just curious to see if any of you guys have a recommendation on a tea maker that you love.

83 Replies
Cofftea said

If you don’t mind that it doesn’t reach boiling (only 206 degrees F), I’d get theFine T Automatic Tea Maker by BonJour products. I don’t know of another one that has a timer on it. If that doesn’t meet your water temp needs, go w/ the Zarafina- although the triniTEA works wonderfully- it just costs more.

Cofftea said

Does anyone know of another tea maker w/ a timer?

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denisend said

I like the Zarafina just fine.

rabbysmom said

How long have you had the Zarafina? Do you use it everyday? Judging from the website, it looks like a great product!

denisend said

Had it about a year. We definitely don’t use it every day. We go through spurts… we’ll use it several times a day for a few weeks than not at all for a few weeks. Also, we don’t use it much during the work week.

Cofftea said
Message deleted by author.
Cofftea said

LOL oops. Nope. Thanks for catching that.

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rabbysmom said

Oh, these all look neat! Although the Zarafina’s price on Amazon looks really good to me right now vs the $90 something for the trinitea!

Cofftea said

There is often a difference in quality/function that corresponds w/ difference in price.

denisend said

The benefit of the TriniTEA over the Zarafina, that I see (keeping in mind that I own the Zarafina and not the TriniTEA) is that the TriniTEA will keep the tea that you aren’t drinking hot. The Zarafina decants into a ceramic tea pot and it cools at a normal tea-cooling rate.

For me, that’s not worth the extra $$, but I don’t know if the TriniTEA actually makes better tea. As I said above, I’m perfectly happy with the Zarafina.

Cofftea said

The Fine T keeps the tea hot for 30 mins and you can set it to make tea 24 hrs in advance.

denisend said

It’s also $300! I could buy a lot of tea for that! :-)

Cofftea said

Again, quality and function corresponds w/ price.

denisend said

Sometimes it makes sense to pay a little more for quality, and some times the incremental benefit isn’t worth the added expense. The only thing that the Fine T has that the TriniTea doesn’t is a programmable timer. That feature isn’t worth $200 to me.

Cofftea said

It also may be easier to control the exact temp you need. The Fine T has 7 different temps.

denisend said

shrug The Zarafina has 5 temps, and I’ve never thought to myself, “oh I wish I could set it between these two settings”. I don’t feel like I need any more settings.

S said

Hey denisend, have you come to a conclusion on whether you like the Zarafina or the TriniTEA better? I still want to get one for my mom, and I’m leaning toward the Zarafina because it’s more customizable…what say you?

denisend said

Well, we are finally getting…drinkable… tea out of the triniTEA, though I’m still not entirely happy with it. The Zarafina is still my “go-to” machine. OTOH, I’m not sure that I entirely agree that the Zarafina is more “customizable”. There are certainly a range of settings, but what do those settings mean (and do some combinations replicate other combinations…) I just don’t know. The Zarafina is such a black box (as I’ve said elsewhere) and that annoys me about it. I’d rather have the triniTEA (even though I don’t know the exact temperature settings, I do know that there are 2, and I have relatively precise control over the time.

Given their relative price points, I’d say it probably depends on the type of user as to which machine I’d recommend. For someone who’s a more casual tea drinker (and would like the more user friendly controls of the Zarafina), I would recommend the Zarafina.

I really do not think that the Zarafina has more than a few temperature settings, so someone who’s picky about brewing would be more pleased with the triniTEA (once they got the plastic taste out of it).

OTOH, I’ve found it’s harder to get a “good” cup out of the triniTEA than the Zarafina…. but we’ve only been experimenting with the SST. There isn’t much else that we drink in volume (and that’s why I bought the triniTEA as a second machine).

It’s not straightforward.

S said

Okay, interesting.That’s what my problem with the Zarafina is too. The customer service people always seem to be hiding something about the temps and times. I assume it’s that the temps are all the same for green/white/herbal/oolong and possibly too cool or inconsistent. That being said, I think the cooler temp does tend to produce a better less bitter tea for me, so I don’t mind it so much.

denisend said

Well, like I said elsewhere, the times on the Zarafina can DEFINITELY be inconsistent; there’s just no way to control brew times from cycle to cycle. Temps shouldn’t be too horrible I wouldn’t think.

And, I agree, I think the Zarafina is overall cooler – part of what we’re having to do with the SST is figure out the ratio of breakfast and lemon teas and also the brew time to make it not bitter. We’re on attempt 4 or 5? With the Zarafina it was perfect in one. I’m not sure if that’s a reflection on our palates or the machine or the tea or what.

S said

Ah, I never thought to measure the temps…in what way are they inaccurate? Like, strong black one time is 5 minutes, and the next time it’s only 3 minutes?

denisend said

The times, you mean?

So, the way it works (on the Zarafina) is that you put your tea in the brewing basket and sit it on top of the water. It floats there until the water reaches a certain temperature, at which point a temperature activated valve opens and lets the water in.

At the same time, the Zarafina’s temperature/time mechanism says xx degrees for xx minutes – which includes the time it takes to heat up the water (and the tea isn’t in contact with the water).

So, say you use cold water one time and lukewarm water the next. It takes longer for the cold water to heat up, but the machine didn’t know that it took longer for the heat valve on the brewing basket to open, it just says xx minutes and then dump into the pot.

My “solution” is to always use cold filtered water from my fridge – it’s a consistent temperature (and it’s filtered, so that’s a plus). My tea may not be getting brewed for as long as they think it should be (it’s probably calibrated for tap water, if I had to guess), but I’m pleased with the results, so it works for me.

S said

I see…yeah, that is kinda frustrating. I wonder if there’s any chance the timer is triggered only once it reaches that certain temperature, thereby ensuring 3 minutes once the tea hits 195, instead of the model you described. That’s probably unlikely though…

One of these days I need to time the tea maker using diff. temp water :)
I heard from one of the customer service people that the herbal setting at strong is 5 minutes, so I’ll check if that’s really true.

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I have the Zarafina and love it. The ceramic pot that it comes with holds heat surprisingly well. It only makes two cups at a time so cooling isn’t too much of an issue.

LENA said

I think I’m leaning towards the Zarafina. Thanks so much for posting!

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Teafreak said

I know this isn’t a tea maker, but I just thought it would be something else to throw out there as an option. The Pino Digital Tea Kettle Pro is a good option if anyone is looking for tea kettle with adjustable temperature control. It has a digital readout so you know what temperature it is at and it works really well.

Cofftea said

Can you program it for ANY temp 0-212 F or does it just have settings you choose from? I don’t like that it doesn’t have 100% accuracy…

Teafreak said

It can program anywhere between 104-212, which satisfies almost any type of tea. Where did you read that it doesn’t have 100% accuracy? It is completely accurate from what I’ve been able to tell.

Cofftea said

“Cordless Kettle Digital controller heats the water to your desired temperature ± 3%.” http://www.amazon.com/PINO-ST-8706-Digital-Kettle-Pro/dp/B001HC54O2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1259707113&sr=8-1 I wonder if there if there’s a place that sells it cheaper or another product that does the same thing cheaper… Does it only heat to whole degrees? My CDN thermometer is very exact and gives temp to the .1 degree.

Teafreak said

In this case it doesn’t mean that it is inaccurate, just that if you set it to 178 it tends to overshoot to 181. Yeah, it only heats to whole temps.

Cofftea said

“just that if you set it to 178 it tends to overshoot to 181.”… That’s exactly what inaccurate means- it doesn’t give you the temp you program it for. If I’m gonna pay $70, I want it to actually work right. CRAP I got my hopes up… is there another product out there that does the same thing, but only is accurate?

Teafreak said

I disagree, the electronic readout still lists the correct temperature which is 181. Due to how the kettle heats up, it hits 178 and continues to rise. The temperature is still completely accurate just slightly higher than what you set it for. The digital readout stays on the entire time, so you can see when it comes back down to 178.

Cofftea said

True. I guess we’re both right- there are two aspects of accuracy here. It’d be ok if you pulled the kettle out quick I guess. I just wish it would maintain constant temperature.

Cofftea said
denisend said

Personally, I don’t think that ‘accuracy’ matters so much as consistency. If I know that I need to tell my machine to do X to get a good cup of Y type of tea, then that’s fine with me.

Every tea is different, so I’m going to try a “standard” setting for the first brewing of a new tea and adjust up or down from there as seems necessary.

Teafreak said

The one that is $30 cheaper is their older model. I’ve heard that it isn’t as easy to fit on the base and the readout is on the kettle itself which can get hot, but I think it functions almost the same way.

Cofftea said

OK, that’s it. If I can’t find something cheaper I’m absolutely getting this.

Cofftea said

My local tea shop tested the cheaper one last year but it wouldn’t heat water to the proper temp so they sent them back… so now I’m leary to buy even the newer model Chef’s Choice has one, but it’s $99… And the ratings on Amazon aren’t very good. I don’t want to have to heat 16-32oz just for it to work:(

Cofftea said

UGH! I just realized that it reads in C and not F… no where in my research did I find that. Does the newer model also read in C. Is there a product out there that is similar, but only reads in F?

Cofftea said

Does anyone want to buy this from me? I’m asking $29.99 free shipping to anywhere in the US.

Teafreak said

@Cofftea My pro version reads in fahrenheit… I’d imagine if you email Pino they would let you send it back to them and they’d give you a full refund… they have pretty good return policy and their customer services answers quickly

Cofftea said

Oh really? I’d think they’d both read in the same scales. Good to know. How does the Pro model compare to the Chef’s Choice version? No dice on the return. I got it thru amazon and I can’t return it.

Teafreak said

I also find it weird that one model would read in Celsius and the other in Fahrenheit… perhaps you should email support at: [email protected] to see if that is one difference between the two models.

As far as the Chef’s Choice version, it looks pretty similar to the Pino Pro version from what I can tell looking at the summary.

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LENA said

hmmm…I will have to check this out too. thanks!

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52teas said

Why would you need to reinvent the tea kettle? I think THIS (http://www.52teas.com/2009/06/15/taylor-connoissuer-tea-thermometer-and-timer-taylor-connoissuer-tea-thermometer-and-timer/) is better than any of those kettles AND cheaper!

rabbysmom said

That looks so cool! Thanks for the post!

LENA said

shameless plug…hahaha! :)

pretty cool, but i’m looking for the whole kit and caboodle.

52teas said

If I was going to shamelessly plug something, it would totally be our hand crafted, one-of-a-kind artisan tea blends like this week’s Chocolate Malt flavored roasted yerba mate or our Vanilla Date flavored black tea or the cinnamon fig rooibos. Why would I waste my breath telling you about a gadget you can get from lots of websites?

No, I just thought I would be helpful and let you guys know about an alternative that’s out there since you were on the subject of tea gadgets. I see what I get for trying to be helpful.

It’s not as if I said, “Please come buy our fabulous teas; it will be the best decision you ever make” and then left you a link like this one (http://www.52teas.com/in-stock/) that would show you all of the teas we currently have in stock. I mean, if I really wanted to plug the teas, I could leave you a coupon code (PLUG4LENA) that would give you 10% off any purchases today only.

Cofftea said

The CDN thermometer/timer is so much better. And I think this person wants a tea maker (i.e. does all the work for you). I’m turned off but a person from a company recommending a product they sell. It’s kinda tacky.

rabbysmom said

LOL 52teas! Love the coupon code as a nod to Lena :)

LENA said

@ rabbysmom – I did smile when I saw the coupon code.

52teas said

Guess I am shameless AND tacky now. sigh

And here I thought I was just trying to be helpful.

takgoti said

PFFFFT. That coupon code is pretty funny.

denisend said

Whatever. It was a bit off topic from the original question (since it’s not an electric tea maker), but nothing to get up in arms about. The coupon code was a cute touch.

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52teas said

By the way, if I DID create such a coupon code (which, I’m certainly NOT saying I would), it would be totally good for 10% off the tea thermometer, our teas and/or anything else on our website, which I am TOTALLY NOT asking you to go buy stuff from.

rubicat said

(you’re lulz to the fifth degree.)

So I find myself in a similar situation to Lena after my cute little Black and Decker red teapot died last week. There’s been some suggestions here, but I’d love to know what electric teapot you’d use to brew those weekly awesome blends of yours. Let’s take Apple Pie a la Mode, for example. Or even your bold Masala Chai… what would you personally use to make your teas? Because your awesome one tea per week means that the pot’s always on….

:)

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TeaParT said

My mother-in-law gave me a zojirushi when she just couldn’t give up boiling her kettle. I find having it always available encourages me to fix tea rather than reach for something like a soft drink. She got it from a specialty tea shop but I’ve seen it carried at Target since then.

Auggy said

I luf my Zojirushi. Big time.

That is all.

kat said

I love my Zoji too but it doesn’t seem accurate to me. I can get it to where its indicator says 212, but it immediately goes to 170-180ish the minute I let some out into the infuser! Its so bizarre its like it is perfect for brewing whites and greens -I just let it go to boiling and then pour it directly on the leaves and the temp is b/w 170-180 max with my hand held thermometer, its weird cuz the zoji indicator says 208!!! Did I get a faulty zoji? Or does this happen to u guys too?

Auggy said

Wow, I’d guess faulty Zoji… Mine takes a good 20 minutes to cool to the 175 setting from boiling (if not longer) and it’ll stay at 208 for steeps and steeps. Have you measured the water coming out to see if it really is 170ish? Or the water right after a boil in the Zoji to see if it really boiled?

kat said

yeah its too weird…it’ll say 208 and then I put it right into cup/infuser and it immediately goes to 170-180 on my personal thermometer!! Right after a boil sometimes it will go to 190 but rarely. Man, I hope I can find the warranty/ receipt something cuz I got it at amazon a while ago….

Auggy said

So the water temp measures 170-180 but the Zoji is still saying 208, yes? If that’s the case sorry, I misunderstood. Yeah, that’s pretty typical… it’s because the water in the little view window doesn’t get as hot as the stuff cooking in the Zoji reservoir. And then if you haven’t preheated the pot or cup, the temp difference becomes even greater because that water loses all the heat to the container you’re pouring it into, making it even cooler (and farther from the goal temp).
I’ve found the best way around this is to use the first bit to preheat my pot or cup. It makes the water stay hotter in the pot, too, once I get the the just-boiled Zoji water that wasn’t in the window.
If that makes sense….

kat said

Yeah, I know what you’re talking about and I do pre-heat my cups even with the water from spout too…but every time i check temp with manual thermometer it reads 180. Its not the thermometer either haha. I just took it and placed it in the 212 heated reservoir and it doesn’t go beyond 200-too weird. I just wrote the zoji.com customer service and maybe they’ll exchange ..its a total fluke though,isn’t it?! Thanks for your replies!

Auggy said

I’d be interested in what their customer service says.

Out of curiosity, I preheated a cup then put some water in it and measured it. The water in the cup was 202 and the water in the Zoji was 206. So 4 degrees difference between the two and a 2 degree difference between the water temp and the setting.
Interesting!

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Cofftea said

I think this just boils water, but this is really awesome if you drink a lot of black tea! :)
http://www.amazon.com/Aroma-AWK-161-Clar-i-Tea-5-Liter-Electric/dp/B001K4FJCO/ref=sr_1_73?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1259708183&sr=1-73

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