I'm not a coffee drinker. I enjoy something with a little mocha flavor, but straight coffee as a beverage is too strong for me. On the other hand I love hot tea. I enjoy the seemingly infinite varieties of types and flavors. I love the ritual of wrapping my hands around a warm teacup and taking my first sip. I find it instantly relaxing.
My husband also enjoys hot tea, yet since we became parents we rarely indulged. We make tea from loose tea leaves and with the little ones around there never seemed to be enough time. Then we discovered the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker. It is the tea equivalent to a fancy coffee maker. It is expensive, but due to the generosity of my husband's parents, we were able to get one for Christmas.
You fill the glass kettle with water and the stainless steel basket with loose tea. Then you push a button to tell the machine which type of tea you are making (black, green, oolong, herbal, white...). The machine automatically determines the best steeping temperature for the type of tea you are making. Then you push a button to tell the machine whether you like your tea mild, medium, or strong determining the length of time the tea will steep. You push the "Tea" button and walk away (or, if you're like me, you sit there and watch the magic). The water is brought to the correct temperature and the basket is lowered into the water for just the right amount of time. A quiet three beeps tells you when your tea is ready.
You can choose to have the tea kept warm at just the right drinking temperature for up to an hour (you can even customize this temperature if you like yours warmer or slightly cooler). You can also choose to have the basket oscillate up and down during the steeping to gently circulate the water through the tea leaves increasing the intensity of the flavor. There is also a timer and you can set the machine up to have hot tea ready for you first thing in the morning. All of the settings (temperature and time) can be customized).
I've been completely amazed at this machine. I love it and I always have a pot of hot tea handy now. The tea tastes wonderful. I've completely given up soda and I don't even miss it. I would definitely recommend this machine to anyone who enjoys drinking hot tea made from loose tea leaves.