Refreshing and really tasty, iced tea is definitely a staple at every meal in our household. As kids, we watched our mom whip up pitcher after pitcher of iced tea from scratch. And while it was something we really looked forward to, believe it or not, it is not that easy to make, back in the day.
Of course, you can always choose the easy way out and buy the instant and really sugary iced tea powders from your grocery. Or you can choose a cleaner and really healthier way to serve ice cold sweet tea to your loved ones. And that’s by brewing your own iced tea at home.
Basic Tips When Using Your Iced Tea Maker
To create the perfect drink to cool you down on a hot summer’s day, you surely need an iced cold pitcher of home brewed tea! And if you are on a mission to make your own iced tea at home using your automatic or standard iced tea maker, then here are some of our suggested tips and tricks that you can use:
Tip 1 – Use Fresh Or Good Quality Tea Bags
If you have access to a tea room near your area, then by all means choose to buy your tea from them. But if you don’t, you can get those high quality teas that come in bags. Personally, we prefer the ones in larger, triangular bags since they offer more room for the tea leaves to expand and extract more flavor.
Tip 2 – Always Use Filtered Water
While tap water can also be used, it is advisable for us to choose filtered or spring water to ensure a cleaner and fresher tea flavor. You can also avoid any impurities and odd tastes from affecting the quality of the tea that you’ll be making and eventually, drinking.
Tip 3 – Observe The Proper Brewing Temperatures
Different types of teas need to be brewed at different water temperatures. This is important for proper flavor extraction. Oolong, basic black, herbal and teas with darker colors require water that’s at about 212 degrees F.
While the lighter colored ones such as green, white, jasmine or chamomile should be brewed using cooler water temps, about 170 to 180 degrees F. When we use the right temperature of water, we can guarantee that we will avoid drinking tea that’s too bitter and tastes like mouthwash.
Tip 4 – Use The Right Amount Of Tea
For the proper brew, you need to use just the right amount of leaves to avoid any bitter and pungent tea extraction. If you are using loose leaves, you can follow this ratio:
- Bigger Tea Flowers and Leaves (chamomile, green tea) – use 1 and ½ to about 2 teaspoons per 1 cup of water
- Smaller and Denser Leaves and Flowers – 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of water
Tip 5 – Allow Enough Time For Steeping
Contrary to what most people believe, tea can be a pretty tricky thing to brew. Each type of tea needs a certain amount of time to steep for the flavors to be fully extracted. Steep the leaves less and the taste won’t be fully developed, steep too long and you will end have with a pitcher of really astringent tasting brew.
- Darker and heartier teas – just like oolong and black, should be steeped for at least 3 minutes and not longer than 5 minutes.
- Lighter teas – such as green, white, jasmine and lighter oolong should be steeped for 2 to 3 minutes.
Helpful Iced Tea Maker Buying Guide
If you are interested in making your own iced tea at home, which we strongly recommend, then it is important for you know what you should be looking for before buying an iced tea maker.
Choose A Versatile Iced Tea Maker
Aside from choosing an iced tea maker that can brew both loose leaves and tea bags, it is important to choose a maker that allows you to make adjustments on the brewing strength (strong, medium and mild.) There are types of makers which are also designed to brew coffee.
Hot Or Cold Brew?
Well, there are iced tea makers that do not require hot or boiling water to brew tea. Cold brew presses usually take longer to produce a potent mix of tea.
Automatic And Timed Brewing Controls
These features save you the hassle of manually controlling the brewing time. It should have an automatic shut-off setting that will also save you the hassle of waiting for the brewing process to finish.
Easy To Clean
Choose an iced tea maker that has a removable brewing basket, as well as a filter. The maker should also be easy to clean and most components should be dishwasher safe.
Choose The Right Size
While most automatic iced tea makers can hold more than 2 quarts of liquid, it wouldn’t be practical if you buy a unit that is too large for you or your family.
The Cost Of Buying An Iced Tea Maker
We suggest that you have a set budget when looking for iced tea makers. And we sometimes get carried away by the different features that go with each type or unit, that we end up buying something that’s too expensive. So make sure that you choose an budget-friendly iced tea maker that’s has what you need.
Top 5 Iced Tea Makers For Your Home
Are you excited to finally make healthier and more flavorful versions of your favorite iced teas at home? If you are then here are 5 of the best iced tea makers that are surely worth considering.
1. Mr. Coffee TM70 3-Quart Iced Tea Maker
With a simple push of a button, you can easily brew fresh tea everytime and anytime you want. The on/off button is soft and has an indicator light to let you know that it’s already brewing your tea. You can brew loose leaves or tea bags without difficulty at all.
This set comes with the tea brewer and a pitcher where you can store and mix your iced tea. The pitcher is also dishwasher safe as it can be placed in the fridge to ensure that you will always have ice cold tea.
This brews up to 2.84 liters. Mr. Coffee’s TM70 has a brew strength bar that helps you to make adjustments based on your preferred strength of tea.
- It is so easy to use because all you need to do is to add the tea, water, your choice of flavors and ice, push the button and walk away.
- It has an automatic shut off feature that guarantees that the tea leaves will not be left there to steep too long.
- It is easy to store and the pitcher is fridge and dishwasher safe.
- The iced tea maker has a water window/viewer, a brew basket (removable)
- The drip basket has a tendency to leak. As the tea drips, it passes through the nozzle and the tea flows sideways, instead of going straight to the pitcher.
2. Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
Whether you are trying to brew coffee or make tea for a refreshing drink, the Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker is surely worth your consideration. It has an airtight and leak proof lid that will ensure that spills and drips won’t be a problem at all.
This is not your typical brewer because you don’t need to boil water every time you want to brew or steep tea. You need cold and filtered water instead. It offers a chance to extract more concentrated flavors, which is perfect for both coffee and tea.
The filter is suitable for both coffee and loose tea leaves. All you have to do is to place the required amount of tea leaves, fill the pitcher with about 32 ounces of cold H2O and slowly lower the infuser in the center. Close lid and shake well. The parts are dishwasher safe as well.
- It is small enough to fit even your refrigerator door. A real space saver.
- You can serve your tea or coffee, hot or cold.
- Because it’s cold brew, you don’t have to worry about your tea or coffee being too acidic, bitter or over-steeped.
- Your brew can last for as long as 2 weeks in the fridge without affecting its quality and taste.
- The lid really seals tightly, so you can easily store it sideways and the contents won’t spill or leak.
- Since you will be doing a cold brew using the Takeya Coffee Maker, you have to wait longer until you can get to enjoy your iced tea. The minimum steeping time is 4 hours or as long as 36 hours for a really strong brew.
- The pitcher is made of plastic. And although it’s BPA free, the risk of it cracking or being easily damaged is significantly high compared to the thick, glass-made versions.
3. Coffee System Bamboo Stainless Filter
For a versatile iced tea maker, the Coffee System’s Bamboo Stainless Filter is the one you can try out. It comes with a mason jar fitted with a lightweight bamboo lid. But you can also use different air tight jars.
It fits a 1-quart or a half-gallon mason jar with lid. If you are using the 1-quart jar, you can easily create a more concentrated brew while the bigger jar is great for creating infusions.
This is especially useful if you like making different flavored iced tea blends. The filter is made of stainless steel and can easily be cleaned in your dishwasher.
And because this doesn’t have any plastic parts, you don’t have to worry about BPA and other harmful types of chemicals from getting mixed in with your tea. The cold brew is a great way to create more concentrated extractions and really flavorful infusions.
- This works great for both coffee grounds and tea leaves. This is a really versatile filter because you can also strain nut milk and infuse your drinks with fruits.
- Because it uses the cold brew method, your tea and coffee will never come out too bitter or too acidic.
- The filter is heavy-duty and will last for a very long time.
- If your container has tea or coffee in it, you can remove the filter and use it to brew drinks in another container of the same size.
- The filter and the glass jar can also brew with hot water and not get damaged.
- It is handy and can easily fit your fridge without taking up too much space.
- You need more tea or coffee to achieve a stronger brew. Pale or light teas may not steep and produce strong flavors.
- The filter’s screen has bigger gaps or holes, which allows finer or smaller bits of coffee and tea to pass through.
4. Mr. Coffee 2-Quart Maker Bagged
This 2-Quart Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker is simple yet very versatile. You do not need a separate iced tea maker if you wish to brew using tea bags. The machine brews both loose leaves or tea bags with ease.
The pitcher is attached to the drip spout to avoid spillages and leaks while you are brewing. The brew and steeping basket, as well as the pitcher are all dishwasher safe, making clean-up an easy chore to do.
It has an on and off switch that is equipped with an indicator light to let you know that it’s working its magic. The machine makes iced tea in minutes, simply, add water, tea, your choice of fruit and ice and walk away.
- The pitcher is attached to the water spout.
- It has an automatic shut off feature which you can immediately observe through its indicator light. Once the light shuts off, the brewing process is done.
- It’s brewing cycle takes only a matter of minutes.
- It is lightweight and a space-saver as well.
- The pitcher turned out to be our biggest issue with this model. The pitcher spout doesn’t pour the liquid out without spilling all over the place.
- You need more tea bags or tea leaves to produce a stronger brew.
- You also have to be careful when handling the brewing basket because the lever can easily break.
5. Takeya Flash Chill Iced Tea Maker Avocado
This literally helps you make freshly brewed iced tea in a matter of minutes! All you have to do is to place tea leaves in the infusing chamber, add enough boiling or really hot water, and allow the tea to steep for a few minutes. Once done, you can add the ice cubes, close the lid and shake to mix everything together.
Originally the Takeya Flash Chill Iced Tea comes in 2 friendly sizes, the 1 quart and the 2-quart pitcher. We chose the larger size because we love to make enough iced tea to give us chills. It is made of a durable type of acrylic that doesn’t stain, crack or get easily scratched.
The lid ensures a tight seal every time. So you can store it lying on its side and you won’t have spillage or leakage problem
- It can brew both loose leaves and tea bags. We tried steeping 2 tea bags in and the flavors were really noticeable.
- You can also instantly brew coffee using this product.
- The large pitcher is perfect for serving as much as 8 people at once.
- It is BPA-free and really environment and health friendly.
- The Takeya Flash chill can also be used to make cold brews.
- The pitcher’s handle is ergonomically designed.
- It is so easy to clean and store. Place the parts in your dishwasher and you are good to go.
- While it is dishwasher safe, you may want to wash the components by hand once in a while to maintain it’s clear appearance. The heat from the dishwasher may cause the see-through container to fog up a little.
- The temperature can change and the ice will melt quickly when you use the pitcher, but you can always use a sleeve or thermal jacket to keep your tea cold or hot, longer.
Which Iced Tea Maker You Should Choose?
After conducting several tests, the Takeya Flash Chill Iced Tea Maker Avocado definitely takes the cake for being the best iced tea maker on our list. It is versatile, easy to clean and really useful.
One thing that really convinced us is its ability to turn simple tea bags into deliciously brewed tea in a few minutes. You can even take it from your table, straight to the fridge without having the need to use another container to store it.
Coming in close second is the Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker because it shares almost the same components as its cold-brew sister. You just need to exert a little more patience because it takes longer to brew tea using cold, filtered water. Nevertheless, you will still get good results.
It doesn’t take rocket science to choose the best iced tea maker for your home or office. With the right guidelines, you will soon find the right for your tea-brewing needs.