I am in love with this appliance. When you’re very serious about a sensitive tea, the process can involve a teapot, an infuser, a strainer, a thermometer, a timer; preheating the water to the right temperature, warming the infuser, decanting the infuser, steeping the tea, hoping that you don’t forget the time and overbrew your cup (!), taking care of all those dishes (!!), and repeating the process all over again when you want to rebrew (!!!).
This baby takes care of all of that for you. If you’re not a coffee person, it can even make you hot fresh tea in the morning – and if you are a coffee person, you could probably rig something up. I even boil my eggs in it. (Just don’t use anything big and metal to get them out, it’ll get stuck to the basket’s magnetic strip!) Cleanup is very easy, most of the time you can get away with just rinsing everything a bit. The keep warm function is great, and even adjusts to your original brewing temperature – so your greens won’t get uncomfortably hot, but your blacks won’t turn lukewarm with a splash of milk. But that’s all besides the point, which is: Perfect tea! Every time! Hot and ready! Drink some, drink some more, add water and press the button to make another perfect batch! Did I mention how fast this thing heats up? Really, really fast. Much faster than an electric stovetop and rivaling the microwave (with a whole lot more precision). Great for a quick batch of miso soup or anything else you’d want hot or warm water for.
Okay, gloating aside, a couple of caveats. The cord is comically short and the plug is three-pronged. You may need to get an extension cord. I never had any problems with it shutting itself off though, and I drive this thing pretty hard. The holes in the strainer may also be too large for very fine leaves like Gyokuro, or anything that includes very small pieces/powder. For those cases, I suggest using finium filter bags. Personally, I don’t mind the size of the holes because they work out for the vast majority of my teas; and they’re also really easy to clean since stuff doesn’t get stuck in them like in finer metal filters.
Lastly, you do have to make at least two cups at a time for at least a 30 second steep. This machine is not appropriate for gongfu style brewing. You may still want to make your most valuable and resteep-heavy teas manually. The other option is to keep making several 2-cup batches and storing the teas in your fridge. They may not be quite as good as fresh, but it’s not bad, and you can turn them into iced tea.
Overall, even these minor shortcomings do not keep me from giving this a perfect score, because it is easily one of my most-used and favorite appliances.