Most helpful positive review
102 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Compare newer models carefully!
on August 7, 2005
I had the old one with the orange top. That one has a top basket to hold the tea bags which incorporates a side lever to plug the bottom drain hole, and an overflow channel so just the last couple of cups steep the tea until you pull the lever to release them. The new one with the blue basket has done away with that lever (I'm guessing to cut costs) and just put a little bit smaller hole at the bottom. They also tell you to use a coffee filter in the basket in addition to the teabags themselves, which after all are little paper filters. This is probably to slow down the run-out of the tea to help it steep it a little bit longer. My favorite combination of bags is one bag or Celestial Seasons Red Zinger, one Lipton Mango, and two Red Rose decaf's. In the old one I would let this combination of tea steep for maybe 10 minutes, and it came out perfectly. Using the same bags with the new one makes *really* tasteless, watery tea.
I just found a new model that makes 3 quarts and has a dial on the front for what they call "brew strength". This is a decided advantage over the other revised model. Also, you get a quart more of tea per cycle. You pour the water directly into the unit, where there is a window on the front with markings for 1, 2 and 3 quarts. The container has markings for how much ice to use for 1, 2 and 3 quarts. This is a better design, IMHO. Also, the pitchers are shorter, so fit in more places in your fridge, and the handles don't attach at the pitcher bottom, so you can nest them for storage. This is a big advantage over the old style. The new one comes with 2 pitchers. You can turn them both upside-down over the base unit to save even more storage space.
My recomendation: don't buy the newer 2 quart blue basket model. Hold out for the 3 quart model. And here's the kicker- I found mine at Wal-Mart for $2.00 less than Target was selling the 2 quart model!
Once you get into the habit of drinking iced tea instead of soda, you'll never go back. The savings in calories, money and hassle of returnable bottles and cans will have you hooked.