Pros: Fast and easy. Has worked reliably for years. Makes entertaining easier.
Cons: Filter hard to wash. Must remember to put lid on before starting the drip process.
From spring through fall, I am a big fan of iced tea and iced coffee. I have had the Salton Iced Tea Maker for many years. It quickly makes two liters of iced tea or coffee, and has worked consistently well for me over the years.
What does the device look like?
This is a small, white appliance. The base is roughly 8 by 8 inches, so it does not take up much counter space. The unit stands about 13 inches high, but you will need around 5 or 6 extra inches of clearance on top when you raise the lid to add water and your coffee or tea. The base holds the clear, acrylic carafe that has a clear handle and white lid. Its a nice looking unit, and still looks sharp even after several years of use. The cord is around 2.5 feet long.
How does it work?
It really could not be simpler. First, lets talk about making iced tea. First, you fill the carafe about halfway full with water. The carafe is clearly marked with a line labeled WATER in large letters, so you know exactly how much water to use. Then, raise the lid, and pour the water into the large tank. This is similar to adding water to a automatic drip coffee maker. Next, fill the carafe nearly to the top with ice. Again, there is a clearly labeled line marked ICE. Place the white lid onto the carafe and place the carafe on the stand. Finally, put a few tea bags in the filter device on top. Align the filter into its holder with the arrow pointing to the labeled word TEA. Aligning the filter this way partially plugs up the bottom hole in the filter, so that the water will filter through the tea bags very slowly (over several minutes) and the tea flavors will have time to seep through. Finally, plug in the unit and push the bright red ON button. A red light will indicate that the unit is functioning. In a few minutes, your fresh hot tea will be dripping into the carafe of ice, and voila, you have fresh iced tea.
Now, onto iced coffee. Iced coffee is made in a similar fashion, in terms of adding the water and ice. The difference is that you add ground coffee instead of your tea bags. And, you align the filter to the arrow marked COFFEE. This opens the hole at the bottom of the filter, so that the water runs through fairly quickly. Essentially, it is making drip coffee, but dripping the hot coffee into a carafe of ice.
How do you like to use this device?
I like to use various combinations of herbal teas, such as raspberry, hibiscus or mint. After making your iced tea or coffee, naturally you can add milk and/or sweeteners of your choice. The carafe will tend to stay cold for quite some time, but you can always refrigerate it to keep the contents cold overnight or longer. I particularly find this device handy when company comes over in the summer. Its nice to offer a big carafe of iced tea or coffee.
Can you make less than a full carafe?
Sure, you can make as little as you want. There is a water indicator level, with clearly marked lines. So, as you add water to the top, you can easily see how many servings you will be making.
Clean up and noise?
Clean up is simple. I toss the carafe and the plastic filter pieces right in the dishwasher. (Admittedly, washing the filter by hand can be a bit frustrating, since the filter has many ridges. It can be tough to get a sponge right in there). If the device itself is dirty, it can be wiped down easily with a sponge or damp towel. The unit does make some steamy noises when the last drops of water are filtering down to the carafe. It is not excessive.
Is there anything special to know about the lid?
Oh, I almost forgot about that. Silly me! I am sooooo glad you asked about that! Yes, there are two special points to be made about the lid. One is that the lid has a small hole in the center of it. This is naturally critical since the hot water will be dripping into the carafe. Secondly, it is actually MANDATORY that the lid be placed on the carafe before starting the drip process. You see, there is a spring-released hole in the bottom of the filter contraption. The unit is designed so that when the carafe WITH LID is placed on the stand, and the filter is dropped into the top of the device, the carafe lid will actually push on the spring and open the hole, thus allowing the hot water to drip out of the filter and into the carafe. If the lid were not on the carafe while the drip process were operating, you would end up with a mess because the hot water would just overflow over the filter. With time, it just becomes second nature to always put the lid on. If you dont put the lid on, you will be very unhappy with the results and probably wont make that mistake again. (believe me, Ive done it!)
So, whats so good about this?
I like how simple it is to use. You simply dont have to think about how much water, how much ice. You don't have to use a burner on the stove for boiling water. When I'm busy entertaining guests, I appreciate the simplicity. Its practical and fast. It has held up to years of use. And when company comes over, its nice to offer a fresh pot of herbal tea, as an alternative to other soft drinks. Just remember: place the lid on the carafe before pushing that ON button.
I would like to thank the Home and Garden Category Leads for adding this item to the database at my request.