Before I have the BTM800 (the Breville Automatic Tea Maker & Kettle), I occasionally had a few glasses of tea in the office using tea bags that you can buy easily from supermarket or the groceries. My favourite was the Japanese Green Tea ones, since green tea is good for your health such as for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
A good friend of mine who works at T2 brewed me some tea before (without a tea maker) and I was really happy with the tea. So the question that popped up in my head when there was an offer to review the Breville Automatic Tea Maker was: Why would anyone on earth need an automatic tea maker for?
The straight answer for that is quite simple: to get the optimum tea flavour and aroma. There are so many type of teas out there; green tea, oolong tea, black tea, and so on. Do you know that to get the best out of each tea type, you need to brew them differently? For example, green tea needs to be brewed at exactly 80 degrees of Celsius where as oolong tea needs to be brewed at 90 degrees of Celsius. Not just that, even the infusion time is different to get the best out of each tea type (put the tea leaves too long in the hot water and you’ll get a bitter, burnt, tea taste, for example).
If you are the type who love making tea, you might have a hard time in trying to get these “magic ritual” right, especially the temperature. Even if you are so used to brewing tea yourselves, you’ll probably need a few different things to brew the tea with (scoops, infusers, etc). Not to mention that you need to keep track of the temperature and also the time when you brew the tea itself. Breville’s Automatic Tea Maker does all that for you, taking away the “rituals” and simply let you focus on sipping a perfect tea.
The BTM800 unit itself includes:
- A 1.5 litre glass jug
- A stainless steel tea basket (to put the tea leaves in)
- A plastic scoop
- A base to set a few controls for the brewing and also an LCD display to monitor
How to make the perfect tea with the Breville Automatic Tea Maker
- Fill the jug with water (up to 1200 ml max)
- Lift the lid on the tea basket and fill it with tea leaves (not included in the package :))
- Attach the basket back on a steel bar inside the jug (magnetized)
- Choose the type of tea from the base control (Green, Black, White, Herbal, Oolong, and Custom)
- Choose the tea strength (Strong, Medium, Mild, and Custom)
- Press start (or the “TEA” button actually)
- Wait for a few minutes for the “ding” notifications, and enjoy your perfect tea!
Nothing else can get more automated than this (apart from some robot arms to fill the jug with water + tea leaves and an auto detection feature of the tea type). This also makes the process very easy for those (like me) who are not aware on how to make a good tea or who just can’t be bothered with the “rituals” needed to make a perfect cup of tea.
Breville Automatic Tea Maker Review – a closer look
The jug has a transparent solid and thick glass so you can see the water level and also the whole brewing process. For the first few times of using the Tea Maker, I’m sure you’ll be staring at this quite a lot :) The jug itself is quite heavy but definitely of high quality and also sturdy. The water level measurement is located at the back (near the handle) so it’s easier to check while you are pouring water from the tap to get the right measurement.
The tea basket
The tea basket is made of stainless steel and easy to clean. It has plenty of room for the tea leaves and the lid is also sturdy when closed. The basket has a slope to be attached to the jug (for the infusion process).
During the brewing process, the tea basket is automatically lifted and lowered to the hot water. It’s quite fun to watch and we had some “oooh” and “aaah” moment here in the office when I first tried the tea maker with my colleagues.
The provided scoop is to be used if you want to follow the recommended Water to Tea Scoop Ratio by Breville. Thanks to the included tea chart, if you are not a tea expert, you can still get the right ratio for the perfect tea.
The base control
The Breville Automatic Tea Maker base control has an LCD which displays:
- The current temperature level of the water inside the jug (and you can also monitor the temperature increase here), which is quite exciting to see for the first time.
- The brew time remaining (the brewing time is different per tea type but normally around 2-4 minutes).
- The time since brew (after the brewing process has been completed)
On the base control, you can also select the type of tea, the tea strength, and also schedule when you want it to start brewing the tea. The custom option is meant for those who want to experiment further or have a specific preference outside the standard ones.
There is also a keep warm feature although you need to re-press the button every time you take the jug out from the base and only up to 60 minutes after you brew the tea.
Breville Automatic Tea Maker Review – Impressions
The whole process in brewing the tea is really easy and simple. All you need to do is buy the tea leaves – I bought mine from T2 (Vanilla Green Tea and the White Monkey Jasmine Green Tea). Following a simple guide included in the package (ex: how many scoops for how many litres), the whole process is fun and a no brainer.
As for the result? It’s fantastic. As promised, the tea fragrance and aroma is there. Tea tastes great and there is no burnt tea smell/bitter taste or a “weak” tea (too much water and not enough leaves) that you can normally get from brewing your own tea. The temperature is also accurate because I can sip my green tea (80 degrees) without burning my tongue like I used to do.
A friend of mine has also confirmed that the Tea Maker produces a much better fragrance and taste compared to when his sister did her own using the brewing accessories (with the exactly same tea leaves’ flavour).
Breville Automatic Tea Maker Review – Conclusion
Breville Automatic Tea Maker & Kettle is clearly a high quality kettle that is easy to use, bring the best out of the tea leaves, and most importantly, has transformed me (and all my colleagues) into tea lovers!
The Tea Maker can also be used as an advanced water kettle, where you can set the water temperature levels manually with the arrow buttons. This is really useful should you want to mix it with something else or even to make warm water for the baby (not too sure if you can pour milk in and warm it up here though..better not).
Ever since I’ve got the Tea Maker here in the office, we have a new ritual: an afternoon tea time, thanks to the Breville Automatic Tea Maker! In addition to that, we’ve actually added another morning tea session time since yesterday, simply because there is never enough tea left in the jug on the afternoon session or sometimes we’ve become so obsessed with sipping a good tea that we’ve forgotten to share it with others, thanks to Breville :)
This is clearly one of the best innovative “gadgets” I’ve ever reviewed at Craving Tech. Highly recommended for tea lovers (or tea lovers wanna be)!
Note: Sample unit provided for the review. Photos were made with my iPhone 4.