While wandering the vast floors of CES 2013, we came across a British company that was showcasing a prototype of an innovative pod-based tea maker – watch the video here. While tea makers are not a new concept (eBay lists plenty of ‘antique’ teasmades!), it was good to see a company looking at new ways to get the perfect brew.
It seems that the chaps over at Sage, which has created a range of 16 kitchen gadgets backed by Heston Blumenthal, are also keen on improving our tea brewing. Earlier this summer they launched the “Tea Maker” which incorporates a regular kettle as well as an automatic tea maker with variable brew temperatures, times and strengths.
It has preset options for green, white, oolong, herbal or black tea and, within these varieties, you can set the strength anywhere from mild to strong. Once the water reaches the optimal temperature, the stainless steel tea basket automatically lowers itself into the water. According to Sage, the automatic lifting and lowering of the basket allows the tea leaves to circulate for maximum infusion. Once the brew is completed you can use the “keep warm” button which will maintain its heat for up to 60 minutes. The device can also be programmed, opening up the opportunity to set it to brew for when you wake up in the morning.
We decided to test Sage’s Tea Maker for ourselves. Check out the following video where we unbox the tea maker as well as give it a quick test:
The Tea Maker has a sleek and stylish design which somewhat resembles a glass jug sitting on a Salter electronic scale. The jug itself is not much larger than your average kettle but that being said, it’s significantly heavier – even when empty. The jug is not machine washable which is a shame as you’re meant to also use it as a regular kettle and therefore easily giving it a good wash would be handy. However, on a positive note, the machine boiled the water very quickly.
Other observations include concerns about the quality of the plastic lid on the tea basket. This is something that regular tea makers will be frequently taking on and off and we were concerned that it felt somewhat flimsy. We also found that the built in strainer on the jug failed to catch some of the smaller bits of our loose tea. A final, small, gripe would be regarding the machine’s display which doesn’t look particularly modern and has a poor viewing angle – we didn’t spot the “Time Since Brew” writing the first few times we used the machine.
That being said, those of you who enjoy drinking a variety of loose tea and want to ensure it’s brewed to the optimum strength and temperature will find the Tea Maker a stress-free and easy to use device. Indeed, it’s already proving to be very popular with John Lewis reporting sales of the Tea Maker increasing 60% week on week. William Jones, buyer for small appliances, says, “The Tea Maker is a big hit with customers and is currently the most popular product in the new Sage range of small appliances.”
The Tea Maker from Sage by Heston Blumenthal is available now priced at £199.95 and is stocked by a variety of retailers including the aforementioned John Lewis.