Published on January 20th, 2010 | by Greg0
A Tea Machine To Make Coffee Drinkers Weep, Drink Rishi’s Cinnamon Plum
After testing out the IQ Innovations 51552 Fine T 4-Cup Gourmet Tea Machine, we realized we had just encountered possibly the sexiest tea machine yet. With a design akin to a sleek drip coffee pot, all the technology tea can handle, and blue lighting, this machine will make you beat your chest and laugh at the behind-the-times coffee drinkers.
The tea maker has three levels. Simply pour the water in the top, add the loose leaf tea in the middle, press the button, and minutes later the tea will pour down to the bottom pot when fully steeped. It makes a whopping 4 cups, so it is actually possible to serve said beverage to other people.
But where this tea pot offers high tech is in the settings. Black tea requires near-boiling water for 3-5 minutes, while green tea often requires a lower temperature of about 160 degrees for about 1-3 minutes (based on the type of green). Simply press the “black tea” or “green tea” setting and it will brew the tea for the required number of minutes at the necessary temperature. So cool! This allows for a perfectly steeped cup- and for tea drinkers who typically have the bad habit of leaving their tea in too long (like most of us), this will simply take all the effort away from you.
Another nice feature is that you can set a timer so that it will automatically brew your tea in the morning at a set time. Having tried this out, it is really nice to wake up to the subtle scent of warm tea in the morning. Additionally, the plate below the teapot is heated, keeping your tea warm for 30 minutes after it’s brewed.
Overall, this is a major improvement on many tea machines for its ability to brew tea with boiling water and slightly cooler water. However, it still has one major disappointment that it took us a few brewings to realize — the tea machine cannot be programmed at a custom setting. Some teas have specific instructions on length of steep and temperature, and sometimes even personal preference may dictate a specific number of minutes you like your oolong steeped, but this gourmet tea machine cannot be changed away from the presets. Additionally, the company has white tea at the same temperature setting as green, while some sources have white tea at a full 20 degrees F higher. The temperature range itself is also more limited than we would like, not providing a spectrum of temperatures from which to choose- Zojirushi’s water heaters offers three settings, and the Zarafina offers a bit additional control.
Generally, we don’t tend to time our tea or get it to exactly the right temperature, so this tea machine made possibly the best cup(s) of tea we’ve had. But for those that are just a bit more finicky, you may wish to wait until the next version.
And, if you would like an interesting, new loose leaf tea to try out with your tea maker, try the latest from Rishi, their Organic Cinnamon Plum. This is a limited seasonal blend that is naturally caffeine free, combining hibiscus, licorice root and plum flavor. It’s been a while since we’ve last seen Rishi and we’re always happy to try their classy blends.
It can also be used for mulled cider, which was my favorite application of the tea. Our votes were split right down the middle for the flavor of this tea. The woody cinnamon-plum combination was a little overpowering and sharp for some, while others found it to be a seasonal and fragrant blend with a beautiful color.
Available for $9 a tin or $30.50 a pound on the Rishi site.