I know you. You’re the type of person who requires precision and perfection. You appreciate exact timing – knowing what will happen, when it will happen, and how long it will happen for.
You need to be the one in control.
A personality like that can be a challenge sometimes in the kitchen. Food is notorious for being unpredictable.
And you hate that…
“Wait, exactly how long do I need to stir this?”
“Bake until golden brown? For 15-20 minutes? Wha?! Do I remove at 15? Or at 20? Or at 17.5 minutes? Or when it’s golden brown?!”
“Proof until doubled in size… Should I measure how tall it is now with a ruler? And then multiply that height by 2? Exactly long will this take? Gaaaaahhhh…”
Cooking and baking can be a high-anxiety feat for many of you – but now’s your time to finally breathe a sigh of relief.
At least with one thing in the kitchen.
If you enjoy making homemade tea, but want a more precise method of brewing to certain specifications, here’s a machine you should consider buying.
The Tea Maker, available from Breville
The Breville Tea Maker is a new piece of kitchen equipment that brews to specific temperatures and times, depending on what type of tea you are using. Breville understands that all tea is not created equal – different kinds should be steeped for different lengths of time and at different temperatures, since each type has its own unique medley of distinguishing flavors and aromas.
With pre-programmed one-touch functions, you can easily brew your tea exactly how it should be, without over-steeping, without under-steeping, and without any second-guessing.
Read our review to get the best information, and a basic run-down of how to use it.
Don’t set your phone’s stopwatch just yet – this appliance will do it for you. Keep reading now.
Breaking It Down: What Comes Included
With the purchase of a Breville Tea Maker, you get the following items:
- Power Base
- Jug Lid
- Tea Basket
- Tea Basket Lid
- Tea Scoop
- Owner’s Manual
Let’s steep more into each of these…
The Power Base
The Power Base is the main foundation of the appliance, where you place the jug when in operation. This is a 1500-watt machine, with 110-120 volts of power. It comes in one color, silver, and is made of brushed stainless steel.
The Power Base features the main screen and all buttons you need to use.
For the buttons, here’s exactly what you’ll find:
- Auto Start: automatically brews at a pre-selected time (like an alarm clock!)
- Keep Warm: liquid will remain warm for up to 1 hour
- Basket: repeatedly lifts/lowers basket on a continuous, automatic cycle
- Tea Type: preset brew temps for green, black, white, herbal, and oolong, with an additional custom setting
- Tea Strength: preset brew times for strong, medium, and mild, with an additional custom setting
- Hot Water/Cancel: for use as a kettle to heat water
- Tea/Cancel: activates/cancels the brewing cycle once all other settings are arranged
For the main screen, here’s exactly what you’ll find:
- Backlit LCD Screen: displays the brew temp and brew time on a well-lit screen
- Time Control Up/Down Buttons: manually changes the preset brew time
- Temp Control Up/Down Buttons: manually changes the preset temperature
The Jug and Jug Lid
The Jug has a capacity of 51 fluid ounces (1500 ml) and is made of glass with a clear plastic handle.
There are measurements along one side of the jug to help guide you when filling the jug with the appropriate level of liquid.
The measurements are listed in ml at 5 different levels:
- 500 ml (the minimum fill)
- 750 ml
- 1000 ml
- 1200 ml (the maximum listed when making tea)
- 1500 ml (the maximum listed when boiling water)
The lid fits snugly on the top of the jug.
Basket and Basket Lid
The perforated stainless steel basket is the vessel in which you place your loose leaves. It can fit about 1 1/2 cups.
To prevent the loose leaves from escaping, there is a lid that fits firmly on top of the basket.
The basket magnetically attaches to the post that runs along the inside of the jug. You’ll feel and hear a quick “snap!” that will ensure the basket is properly secured.
A lovely little tool, the scoop provided by the manufacturer is a small, clear, plastic scoop with a 1-tablespoon capacity to help you measure precisely.
This owner’s manual. You’ll love it.
Not only does it provide detailed explanations of all of the basic functions and operations plus troubleshooting tips, it also thoroughly explains different leaf types as well, with tips and tricks for optimal brewing and infusion.
This will be your tea-making guru. Guard it with your life.
But if you do end up accidentally losing it, or you need to throw it out because you spilled freshly made, hot liquid alllll over it (not naming names…), Breville provides an online version of the entire manual on the company website.
How to Use It
Options galore. Let’s go over the basics:
There are 5 pre-programmed settings you can choose for what type of tea you are steeping (green, white, oolong, herbal, and black). The type determines the temperature of the water. Click the Tea Type button to select your pre-programmed setting.
Once you select the type you are brewing, you can then choose one of the 3 pre-programmed brew strengths: strong (4 minutes), medium (3 minutes), or mild (2 minutes). The strength of the brew determines the amount of steep time – less time for mild, more time for strong.
Below are Breville’s recommendations for these settings:
- Green: 175°F for 3 minutes
- White: 185°F for 3 minutes
- Oolong: 195°F for 3 minutes
- Herbal: 212°F for 4 minutes
- Black: 212°F for 2 minutes
If you are blissfully happy with the settings provided by Breville, beautiful. There is nothing more you need to do to get exactly what you want!
Breville provides the option to customize any of the settings, to make the adjustments you desire.
If you think you need to steep for more or less time, or at a higher or lower temperature, you can change the settings in the following ways:
- Before you start brewing: click the Custom buttons for both the Brew Time and Brew Strength to adjust the temperature and time.
- After you start brewing: the Brew Time setting can be adjusted during the heating process. Change the time by pressing the arrow buttons located next to the Brew Time section of the LCD screen. It can be adjusted in 30-second intervals, to a maximum of 10 minutes.
Keep in mind that the Brew Temperature cannot be adjusted during the heating process. Simply press the Tea/Cancel button to cancel the brewing process, and re-select whatever temp you would like.
You can also use the Basket Cycle button during your brewing cycle – this repeatedly auto lifts and lowers the metal basket in and out of the water. According to Breville, this feature helps to loosen the leaves, which allows the heated water to circulate more freely around the individual pieces for maximum infusion.
Okay, Settings Decided – Now What?
Add your chosen amount of water to the jug, and attach the jug to the center of the power base.
Place your loose leaves into the basket. The scoop provided can be used as a basic guide for Breville’s recommended measurements: 1 scoop of leaves per 8 ounces of water.
Breville does indicate that this measurement may change depending on personal preference, or the instructions noted on the packaging of your tea.
Attach the basket to the magnetic pole in the jug, then place the basket lid on top. Place the jug lid firmly on top of the jug.
Once everything is secure, you are ready to punch in those settings and start brewing!
First, the water will warm to the chosen temperature. Once the water reaches that temperature, it will stop heating, and the basket will then automatically lower into the water. It will remain in the water for the chosen amount of brew time. If you chose the Basket Cycle, the basket will lift and lower for the chosen amount of brew time.
Once the time is up, you’ll hear a beep, and the basket will automatically raise itself out of the water. Done! Enjoy immediately, or choose to keep your brew warm for up to an hour with the Auto Warm button.
All of this can be done in advance, using the Auto Start setting. It works just like an alarm clock would – set the time you want to start brewing, and worry no more!
Just want hot, boiling water? With the Hot Water button, the Tea Maker easily doubles as a kettle.
Care and Keeping
The First Use
Breville recommends that you run one boiling cycle and discard that water before you start using it to steep. This will remove any dust or protective residues that may remain from the manufacturing process.
How to Clean
Only the jug lid, basket, basket lid, and scoop are safe to clean in your dishwasher. You can also choose to clean all of these by hand with a soft sponge and warm, soapy water.
The jug and power base are not dishwasher safe. To clean the base, use a soft, damp towel to remove any residue.
For the jug, remove any leftover liquid after each use. Breville recommends using just a damp towel or warm water to wipe and rinse the jug.
They claim that leftover deposits will enhance the flavor of future brews, and many coffee aficionados agree that soap should never come into contact with the inside of a coffee pot or brew chamber. I, however, believe that the jug (and any kitchen appliance, really) should be thoroughly cleaned after each use. I recommend using warm, soapy water with a soft sponge.
Do not use chemicals, steel wool, or any abrasive cleaners on the jug – they may scratch the glass.
Completely dry each piece before storing.
Breville provides a 1-year limited product warranty, valid from the date of purchase. For more information on specifics of the warranty and return policy, take a look at the company website.
Is This Too Precise for Your Own Needs?
Whoa, whoa, whoa – don’t click that checkout button just yet!
You should ask yourself if you need this machine, especially before purchasing an expensive piece of kitchen equipment that might not be suitable to your lifestyle.
This special appliance is certainly not for everyone.
For someone like me, who has no qualms with plopping a premade bag into microwaved sink water that’s steeped for a handful of loosely monitored minutes, I don’t need something like this. Not at all.
If you already have a method for making tea, and are content with it, adding another specialty appliance to your kitchen may prove to be a waste of cherished kitchen space.
However, if you are the type of person who values the integrity of a quality loose leaf tea, and who wants it steeped to precise perfection with the correct specifications as determined by the varietal, this machine was made for you.
If this review made your tea-loving heart sing, it’s time to decide if this high-tech machine will delight and improve your daily tea drinking ritual.
What do you think of this cool kettle? Would you use it in your own household and purchase another to give as a gift (hello, wedding season!)? Or are you sticking with your usual methods (shout-out to all my microwave peeps!)? Let’s discuss in the comment section below, preferably with a mug of freshly steeped hot tea in hand!
For even more handy brewing equipment reviews and info on one of our all-time favorite hot beverages, check out our full collection of tea-related content here, or enjoy these articles:
- How to Store and Organize Your Tea Varieties at Home
- A Look at the Top Tea Storage Solutions and Containers
- Tea Brewing and Equipment Guide
Photo credit: Credited photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Breville. Test product provided by the manufacturer. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.