And yet, we were also slightly skeptical. A whole appliance to make tea? When it comes to tea, we have a lot of paraphernalia. There's the aforementioned electric kettle (completely indispensable; we don't know how we lived without one). There's the tea strainer we use for loose black teas. There are the disposable, compostable tea bags for loose herbal and red teas. There are mugs and saucers and teacups galore. Even though we are also avid coffee geeks, we drink several cups of tea a day in the fall and winter.
So, enter now the TriniTEA tea maker. The tea maker is an appliance similar to a coffee maker, but designed exclusively for loose tea. Here's how it works. There are three main sections: a top water chamber, a brewing pot (which is plastic) and a bottom teapot, which is glass.• Water goes into the top chamber - just like a drip coffeemaker. • Tea goes into the basket in the brewing pot. • The brewing pot is slotted in and the handles of the two pots are lined up. • The controls are adjustable for different teas and brewing times. There are two temperature settings: one for white and green teas, and one for black and herbal. Then the brewing time is adjustable from 2 to 7 minutes. • The water heats up and pours into the brewing chamber, where the tea steeps for the specified time. • Then the tea runs out of that chamber and into the pot, which sits on a hot plate to keep it warm.
Ta-da! Tea. We were immediately impressed with how easy this made our afternoon cup. We could set it and go back to our office for the ten minutes it took to heat the water and brew the tea. The tea maker beeps loudly at each stage - letting you know that the water has been heated, then that the tea is brewing, and then finally three times when it finishes.
A note on the updates made to the TriniTEA: This is the only model we've used, so we can't compare, but apparently this is an updated version. The original TriniTEA had some problems pouring out of the teapot without dribbling, but we have noticed no problems with that here. (And we're prone to dribbling.)
The top chamber is plastic, and the bottom one is glass. We've used the whole apparatus quite a few times now and have been very impressed.
Final thoughts: Highly recommended for frequent tea-drinkers. This, realistically, is probably not something we would have bought for ourselves, given our attachment to a collection of tea strainers and mesh balls. But now that we have it we're finding it hard to put away in the appliance cupboard.
If you are a heavy tea-drinker - especially if you forgo coffee entirely for tea! - then this is the thing for you. It makes tea easily, without a fuss or hassle, in one-step setup. You don't have to hang around waiting for the water to boil, then the tea to brew. It does it all for you and beeps loudly when finished. Ta-da - perfect tea every time. It's well designed and well-executed, and perfect for those cold fall mornings when you really need more than one cup.
• Buy the TriniTEA Electric Maker, $99 at Adagio
And stay tuned! We have a giveaway coming up a little later today that may interest you tea-drinkers...