My husband and I both LOVE iced tea. He will take a full thermos of iced tea to work every day in the summer, so needless to say we can go through a lot of iced tea. When we saw this Mr. Coffee 3-Quart Iced Tea Maker at Wal-Mart recently, into the cart it went, because we were tired of brewing iced tea the hard way, or the long way - sun tea. Here's all you need to know about this convenient iced tea maker.
Recommend this product?
~ Product Description
Our Mr. Coffee 3-Quart Iced Tea Maker, the TM30 series, came with the maker and TWO 3-quart pitchers. The extra pitcher can come in handy for large gatherings, so I considered this a nice bonus.
Here are some of the features of the Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker:
- Adjustable steeping control
- Water window in reservoir with water level markings
- Removable brew basket
- On/Off button and indicator light
- Automatic shut off
- Water and ice level markings on pitcher
- Uses loose tea or tea bags
The iced tea maker itself is a pretty blue and white color, although as I recall there were other color choices available. The pitcher(s) are a sturdy clear plastic, and well balanced when held by the handle. There is a large pouring spout, that doesn't drip. The lid can be positioned with a wide opening, or a "screened" opening to prevent any ice from flowing out of the pitcher when you pour.
The iced tea maker has few controls - just the on/off switch, which you press for on. (It automatically shuts off when brewing is finished.) The only other control is a dial setting for brew strength from mild to strong.
The lid to the maker just flips up to access the brew basket. There are little plastic pieces on the brew basket that act as handles to lift it out. These could probably be improved, but it hasn't been an issue. There's a little shower head thingy that swings away so you can lift out the brew basket. When you have the brew basket filled with tea and in place, then you swing the shower head back over the brew basket when you're ready to brew.
The Mr. Coffee 3-Quart Iced Tea Maker stands about 12 inches tall with the maker lid down. Flipping up the lid adds another 5 inches. The electrical cord is about 3 ft. long. The entire unit is very light weight, and easy to move around.
This iced tea maker and the pitcher are not dishwasher safe. I've found it easy enough to wash the pitcher in warm sudsy water however. Often I'll just rinse it out before making another batch, although Mr. Coffee suggests you wash the brew basket, pitcher and lid after each use. (Not gonna happen in my household.) To remove any hard water deposits, fill the brew basket and the pitcher with warm, undiluted white vinegar, and let soak for 20 minutes, then rinse.
~ How to Brew Iced Tea
So, how does this work, you ask? Easy! After you've washed the pitcher, pitcher lid, and brew basket, and run a batch of clean water through the maker, follow these steps to brew iced tea:
- First, fill the pitcher with fresh, cold water to the desired capacity you want to brew, 1, 2, or 3 quarts. The water levels are clearly marked right on the pitcher
- Lift the water reservoir lid on the maker, lift out the brew basket, and pour the water into the reservoir
- Place the brew basket back in place, and put in your tea bags, or use a 4-cup coffee filter in the brew basket for loose tea There's a measurement chart in the manual to help you know how much tea to use. You can now add sugar, lemon or other flavorings to the brew basket, if you like.
- Move the shower head over the brew basket and close the lid. Adjust the steeping control to the desired strength.
- Now fill the pitcher with ice cubes to the level marked on the pitcher for the amount of tea you're making. If you're low on ice, you can substitute cold water, measured to the "Ice" level marking. The ice or water just stays in the pitcher, and the tea is brewed directly into the water or ice.
- Position the pitcher next to the iced tea maker with the spout underneath the opening on the maker. Press the "On" button, which will light red. The tea will brew right into the pitcher from the maker into the pitcher spout. The maker will shut off automatically when brewing is finished. Brewing a full 3 quarts takes around 10 minutes.
~ My Experience
Maybe the above instructions sound complicated, but trust me, the whole process is a piece of cake after you've done it just once. Very, very easy.
My first batch of iced tea was perfect! Now we don't sweeten our tea, so I didn't try adding sugar to the brew basket. But I'm sure it would work just fine. I've been using 3 of the large, pitcher-sized tea bags for cold brewing, per 3-quart batch. And I have it set to the strongest brew setting. We find the tea strength just right. I've made probably 2-3 full three-quart pitchers of iced tea per week, for a month now. Every time it comes out perfectly. While the tea is brewing you'll hear coffee-brewing type sounds, with a little steam at the end. No need to watch it either, because the unit shuts off when brewing is done.
Now if you want to drink your tea immediately and have it cold, you'll need to have a lot of ice on hand, especially if you're making 3 quarts. Since we don't have an ice maker, I've just been using cold water, and putting the brewed tea in the fridge until it gets cold. It works just fine.
A tip to avoid any dripping - when the brewing is completed, wait about a minute before removing the pitcher. And if you remove the brew basket and tea/tea bags first, before removing the pitcher, you'll avoid any last drips.
~ Final Thoughts
We LOVE our Mr. Coffee 3-Quart Iced Tea Maker! It takes all the work out of making iced tea. I can have 3 quarts of delicious iced tea ready to drink in about 10 minutes, providing I have plenty of ice on hand. If I'm short on ice, I'll substitute cold water and put the tea in the fridge to cool. For sweetened tea, just add sugar (or lemon) to the brew basket with the tea. The pitcher has a wonderful feel and balance, and pours perfectly. This is a great way to keep ice tea on hand, for the family or for social gatherings. And a real bargain at about $19.
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Amount Paid (US$): 19.00