on April 1, 2006
EDIT (11/18/2006): I just wanted to add that Mr. Coffee sent me a free replacement pitcher after I emailed them about this problem. If this pitcher also cracks, I'll update this review.
EDIT (11/01/2006): It's now been exactly seven months from my original review and now I'm sad to say that I was wrong. Even though there didn't seem to be any difference between the materials and workmanship of our new TM3 and our old TM3, the new pitcher has just cracked. I've uploaded a picture to Amazon so you can see what I'm talking about. At first, I thought it was just a seam in the pitcher that I hadn't noticed before. But, after making a batch of iced tea, I had a small puddle on the countertop (which is a new thing). Since the crack is right in the pour spout (which is how the hot tea enters the pitcher from the brewing area), some of the freshly brewed tea seeps through the crack instead of falling into the pitcher. A sad day. I'll be contacting Mr. Coffee to see what they have to say.
Original Review (04/01/2006): We've use a Mr. Coffee TM3 (TM3.5 from what I can make out on the bottom of the unit) Iced Tea Maker for YEARS (at least 5, but more like 7) without trouble. Finally, after all that time of constant, daily use, the pitcher started developing some minor cracks. So, we replaced the whole thing. Outside of some minor differences in the plug, this version is identical to our old version (the bottom plate still says TM3.5). It's interesting that the recurring motif in all these reviews is that the pitcher cracks. When we first got our old unit, we too had that problem. After looking at how we were using the thing, we figured out that the cracking was because of how we added ice to the pitcher: while holding the pitcher's handle, we just shoved the other end of the pitcher under the ice maker. The problem was that we were using the pitcher itself to apply the pressure needed to trigger the ice maker. We bought a new pitcher and used our hand to trigger the ice maker, not the pitcher. That pitcher lasted us all those years.
Because of the prevalance of the "cracking pitcher" reviews, I'll keep an eye on this and see if anything is different. But, since everything looks identical to our old unit (down to the feel and heft of the materials), I don't anticipate problems. Based on all those years of happy use of the identical model, I rate this at an Excellent 5 stars out of 5: I couldn't live without it.
on January 6, 2005
I owned a Mr Coffee TM1 model tea maker for several years and was pleased as punch for the most part. I was excited when I got a new one along with a new home, except the TM3 model pitchers in less than 7 months started leaking at the seams, and of course you need the pitcher to make the tea. The replacements are only around $8, but at 2 or 3 a year, that can get costly. I have contacted the company in hopes to get some type resolution. Happy New Year. Tina
on September 23, 2007
I've owned a Mr Coffee Iced Tea Pot for probably 10 years now. We bought one of the original models in a walmart years ago, and they looked pretty much the same -- White and teal with a clear pitcher. We took good care of that one (used a wooden spoon to stir it to avoid scratches, ran cleaner through the machine every few months to remove buildup, etc. The original package had 2 pitchers, and one of them was always in use it seems :)
Last fall the last pitcher finally gave up and started leaking from a seam, and they no longer sold that same pitcher as a replacement, so I bought a TM-3 and a 2nd pitcher, they looked to just be the "new" version of a well made product.
Sadly this is NOT the case. Where the old one had the filter-holder sitting on top of the pitcher, this one has you insert the spout into a slot, and line up a notch on the bottom. The filter cover and the lids don't fit together well, and its harder to wash the filter-holder.
The WORST part is the new pitcher. It has a "flip top" spout cover with a strainer on it, but its impossible to poor evenly! The tea "stream" is almost always wider than a common kitchen glass, so you're going to drip or dribble at some point.
Even worse, the plastic is VERY low quality; both pitchers, only a few months old now leak - oddly from the exact same point, in the lower front near the "square" notch in the base (There's a place where the seams meet)
It leaks slowly during brewing, but when done, i add the rest of the water to fill the pitcher, and the added "weight" begins to make the drip worse.
I'm going to order a replacement to see if it was a fluke, but I was saddened to see an old favorite get worse instead of better
on June 6, 2006
First, physical weaknesses: The pitchers crack and warp slowly but steadily, so won't last forever. You can replace them for about ten bucks, but with shipping that's half the cost of an entirely new unit. And you can't put them in the dishwasher, so you'll probably want at least several up front anyway, so that you can clean them.
Second, cleaning problems. Unlke the Hamilton Beach tea makers, the bags here go in the brewing housing, which has to be removed and cleaned separately from the pitcher. And if you forget to do that, you'll have yucky (even moldy) tea bags the next time you go to make tea, even if that's within two days.
Hamilton Beach instead keeps the bags' brewing area inside the pitcher itself, which you can refridgerate and prevent yuck and mold from occuring. Plus, the Mr Coffee station drips TEA on the counter as soon as you remove the pitcher, whereas the Hamilton Beach only drips WATER since the tea process is all contained in the pitcher itself.
Further, the Mr Coffee series requires that the pitcher get very close to the brew housing station, with the tea just BARELY getting into the spout, or else you'll get tea dripped on the counter WHILE brewing. That messiness increases as the pitcher begins to warp and crack. Hamilton Beach bests that both by including a pull-out tray that HOLDS the pitcher in the correct position, and by having the tea drip directly to the center of the pitcher rather than milimeters from the edge of the spout.
Above all, the Hamilton Beach series simply makes better tea. It includes a dial that allows you to make weak, medium, or strong tea, and that's all automated. The Mr Coffee series has no such setting, but requires you to "close" the brewing area for a period and then turn a dial to "open" before it starts putting tea in the pitcher. That manual step both slows down the tea production, and risks making quite the mess if you forget to go back and open the dial.
Finally, the Mr Coffee pitcher is a large and obtrusive ROUND cylinder that takes up lots of space in the fridge, even when there's only a glass or so left in the pitcher. The Hamilton Beach pitchers are instead elongated OVAL shapes, that fit in more places in the fridge, even in the fridge door, and are *shorter* so that you can put them on a shelf with a lower overhead.
Mr. Coffee: bigger mess, more manual, more cleaning, more risk, lower longevity, and lamer tea.
Hamilton Beach: no mess, no manual revisit, easy to clean, no risk, lasts longer, better tea, and more options when you make it.
on October 2, 2006
Over the past ten years, I have purchased three Mr. Coffee Ice Tea Makers. The TM3-2 3-Quart Ice Tea Maker is the most recent model that I purchased. If placed in the dishwasher, the plastic pitchers will crack over time. Knowing this from previous experience, I was very careful not to wash the pitchers in the dishwasher on this model. However, both pitchers still cracked from the spout down the side of the pitcher. This happened even though they were handwashed on each occassion. We went through two pitchers in less than a year. We are no longer able to use the machine since the pitchers leak and make a huge mess. Other pitchers are not compatible with the machine. The quality of materials is much lower than in previous models and I find them to be absolutely unacceptable. I will never purchase another Mr. Coffee Ice Tea Maker. I am now searching for another brand that uses higher quality materials.
on November 6, 2005
We replaced our old TM1 with the newer TM3 after many years of service. The plastic was looking old (tons of scratches), so my wife and I were interested in the newer TM3.
Well after 4 months, hand washing only, it started to leak.
It almost always dribble down it's side, you really need to pour SSSLLLLLOOOOOOOWWWWWW!
We are now looking to replace this and not sure what to get.
At least we know it will not be another TM3 and it might not be another Mr. Coffee.
My best friend got one of these before me and I was in awe. I've had mine for some years now and it is fantastic! Instant iced-tea? This is a Southern girl's dream! I make traditional sweet tea, but please don't think you are limited to the traditional. When I made Middle Eastern food, I used this to make mint tea for my guests. I often mix herbal and black teas to keep my people guessing.
I didn't like the results I got when I used loose tea, even with a coffee filter. Bagged teas work just fine. I've found that doubling the required amount of tea and brewing with the nozzle almost fully closed work best. You can supposedly put the sweetner in the compartment with the tea bags. I prefer to sweeten after the tea has brewed.
Clean up is easy, I throw the appropriate parts in the dishwasher with some Dawn Plastic Booster to remove any staining. My only complaint is that I wish this came in black, so I could leave it on the counter.
on February 4, 2006
I too have replaced with the new Tea Makers from Mr. Coffee and I actually wound up buying two of them One, the Christmas 2004 and June of last year. The problem we had was it leaked, What I found is that making the tea hot going into the spout of the pitcher made the seams leak over time. We also had a replacement pitcher sent to us, so we had 5 pitchers and two tea makers, We are now down to only one pitcher and threw all the rest out, when this one starts to split and leak, then this will go to and over to Hamliton Beach we will go!
If you don't have to old TM1 don't buy the new one!
on July 6, 2006
I've had this icedtea maker for three years and it still works great. It is quick and easy to use. When I have a summer barbecue, I can make several pitchersfull without taking much time away from all of the other busy things that have to be done when I am feeding a lot of people. I'm going to buy another one for iced coffee.
on May 24, 2007
I read all the reviews people gave this thing and put it on my wishlist. My mother actually bought it for me. I use it every day and love to try different kinds of tea combinations. Using white, green and black teas.-- then flavorings. Yum!
I have absolutely no problems with mine. The person complaining of leaking, that sucks. It sounds like a series of unfortunate events.
My little tea makers works perfectly. At first the directions confused me. It tells you to "close" the little latch on the top, but I got worried about the water and how it would get down into the tea pot. So I kept it open, until I realized there's a small opening the tea will travel down once the tea level in the strainer gets high enough. The directions didn't say that. I can also be kind of ditzy.
Anyway, great product! I love mine and it's already paid for itself in the week I've owned it!