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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Update: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL

Update to my previous review

Breville Website http://www.brevilleusa.com/tea/one-touch-tea-maker.html

The cord is wrapped around the base and needs to be unwound not tugged on - so the cord is plenty long enough now!

The auto-on feature is amazing, life changing, and delicious! You set the time for it to start the steep, put in the water and leaves, and wake up to freshly brewed tea. I've now used it twice and will keep using it daily. It is a slight bit stressful to have to select your tea the night before, but only a little.

The default settings (green, strong) work fine when you aren't sure what to do with a tea, and the ability to adjust those (custom time and temp) are KEY features. I know what it plans to do, and can adjust it to what I know I prefer for certain teas. I can go up or down in 30 second intervals.

I thoroughly enjoy that it also acts as a variable temperature electric kettle if you don't want to have it brew up the tea.

It is easy to hand clean, I have not considered putting it into the dishwasher as I use it too often and so have not bothered to validate if some parts are dishwasher safe or not.

The filter on the kettle lid is a nice touch to keep out some of the particles that do make it out of the leaf basket once you've steeped the tea.

It BEEPS clearly and loudly when it is done (this is great for those who are easily distracted like me). The entire thing, aside from the beep, is very silent aside from the sound of boiling.

If you could not guess, I am in love.

The worse I could come up with so far after a few solid days of use is:

It tends to get condensation up along the inside of the glass whenever I brew tea. There is nothing wrong with this I just find it looks ugly.

I do tend to get a dirty counter as the leaf basket has a perforated bottom and for some finer teas dust or chippies drop through.

I still am cranky about the whole milliliters on the kettle and not ounces.

I have not yet used the keep warm function.

I have not yet touched the basket button.

Now what you all have been waiting for...

Zarafina versus Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL

They both take up approximately the same counter space.

Zarafina allows for the brewing of 1 or 2 cups of tea
Breville allows for between 500 ml (2) and 1500 ml (6) cups of tea - this is not ideal when you have small samples or just want one cup

Zarafina is a black box experience where you select your tea type (Black, Oolong, Green, White, Herbal) - the style (loose, bagged) and the strength (strong, medium, mild) and it decides what temperature and time to steep your leaves at. You start the process by flicking a button.
Breville allows you to select your tea type (Black, Oolong, Green, White, Herbal, custom) and the strength (strong, medium, mild, custom) and displays its planned steep temperature and time. You then can change the settings to your known or suggested preference. You start this process by pushing a button or setting the time you want it to start.

Starting out with tea preparation it was mysterious and scary, and I was glad to let Zarafina decide what to do with my tea, now that I am comfortable with tea preparation I prefer to know what it plans to do, and to be able to adjust that.

Zaafina has a basket designed to drop into the water when it reaches the right temperature then pours the tea into a teapot when the steep time is over. There is no audio indicator the process is over. Once the tea goes into the teapot it is not able to be kept warm. The teapot itself tends to spill when pouring.
Breville puts the basket into the water by dropping it along a mount when the temperature reaches the desired number, then when the steep time is over lifts the basket out. This is followed by a BEEP and optional keep warm. It even has a time indicator to tell you how long since the brew completed.

The Zarafina must be pulled into 8 parts and cleaned with bottle brushes on some parts as they are too small to fit my hand into. 9 sometimes when the gravity feed dispenser area gets fouled by drips or something.
The Breville comes more easily into 4 pieces to be cleaned.

Obviously the Breville wins for me personally but hopefully i made it clear why. Please let me know if you have any questions!





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