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on May 15, 2006
As an avid tea drinker, I was excited about ordering this new product. When it arrived, I couldn't believe that it worked just like a coffee maker and wasn't suited at all for tea.

1. It doesn't heat the water to boiling, which you need for good tea.

2. The tea never steeps, despite the advertising from Sunbeam. The water drips through the tea quickly, just as water drips through coffee grounds. I didn't see any difference in the settings on tea strength. All the tea is extremely weak, as when you just dunk a tea bag in warm water for a few seconds.

I called customer service at Sunbeam to find out if I was doing something wrong. The person I reached tried to work a machine himself, and then went to his supervisor. He finally said that my machine was working fine, so there was nothing to be repaired under my warranty. He asked me how long I expected the tea to steep, and I said that most teas recommend 5 minutes, but that this machine doesn't steep at all even at the highest setting. It just drips through, like a coffee maker, and so I felt their advertising was misleading. He said he would pass my complaint on, but there was nothing he could do for me. I could return it, he said, if I had a sales receipt.

That did not seem sufficient for me, so I am writing this review. I wish I had read the other ones before purchasing it! It is just a coffee maker that is over-priced and inaccurately advertised.
1313 comments| 155 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 13, 2006
this is not a tea maker -- it is a "wanna-be". as some others have commented, it doesn't steep the tea -- it is just a modified coffee maker & it passes the water over the tea. perhaps for those using grocery store tea bags (which use very finely chopped up tea leaves) it is sufficient, but a true tea lover uses loose-leaf tea or high quality (larger leaf) tea bags which require steeping for 4-6 minutes for most varieties. steeping means letting the tea sit in the hot water to infuse the flavor. even setting the unit on the longest brewing time we got little more than colored water. i was able to get a decent cup of tea only when i used about 4 times the amount of tea i would normally use (and i don't drink my tea particularly stong). when i am paying $39 a pound for my tea, that is an unacceptable solution. very disappointing. this one's going back to the store.
11 comment| 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 27, 2006
BACK STORY: I bought the Tea Drop to replace a Mrs. Tea unit that was MANY years old (but still working). I like the shape, color, and weight of the Tea Drop much better. For tea purists, the fact that automatic tea brewers do not bring water to a boil is problematic. For me, it matters not. I am a pragmatist. I just want a good pot of tea with a minimum of attention to the process. I want to push the button, go take a shower, and know that my tea will be waiting when I return. I brew my tea "in the pot"--the same way I had to do it with the Mrs. Tea.

INSTRUCTIONS: Here's my Tea Drop process: Open the top of the water chamber. Remove the holder mechanism and the filter. Fill the water chamber with no more than 30 oz. of water. Replace the holder mechanism, but NOT the filter. Press the chamber lid down at the side tabs until you hear them click and make sure the little directional spout tray (under the word 'Sunbeam') is fully pushed in, otherwise your water will escape as steam and the pot won't fill properly -- I learned that the hard way ;) With in-pot brewing, it doesn't seem to matter much which setting you choose (mild > strong).

Remove the teapot lid and place 4 tea bags in the glass pot. (You can use loose tea, but it's messier and you'll need a strainer when pouring tea into your cup.) When I want just a hint of flavor. I use three black tea bags and one specialty bag (e.g., Earl Grey, Ti Kuan Yin (oolong), orange herb, apricot, mint, etc.) Replace the pot lid, place pot in machine, press the 'on' button and walk away!

It takes about six minutes for the water to heat and pump from chamber to pot. The tea will reach a temp of about 170 degrees F. Well, that's too hot for me to drink, so I generally turn off the power switch and let the tea brew and cool for a while (sort of like sun tea, which also doesn't reach 212 degrees, but is delicious nonetheless!)

RATING: All in all, I am very pleased with the Tea Drop and would recommend it to anyone who, like me, doesn't want to stand around waiting for the proverbial pot to boil. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because of minor problems with the water chamber lid and the directional spout which could, of course, be considered "operator error." However, the words "Click to close" on the lid would help, and a click-tight spout fitting would not allow the spout to be dislodged so easily if tapped when removing the glass pot.
22 comments| 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon November 24, 2006
This tea maker workers like a coffee maker, however the "steeping" time is controlled by slowing the passage of the tea/water through the tea grounds into your cup when darker tea is desired. With about twice the normal amount of tea, you can get an okay cup of tea when you select the darkest setting. The trouble is, for really good tea, you want the water to be brought to a rolling boil and you want the water and the tea to stay in contact for 2 to 6 minutes depending on the kind of tea and the strength you like. Neither of these things happen with this tea maker so even when you add twice the amount of tea, you can get a darker cup, but you won't get the kind of full-bodied tea taste that tea lovers like to savor.

That said, this tea maker does keep the tea you have made nicely warmed, so that is a plus. If you're not a fanatic for awesome tea and you don't mind using twice as much tea, you might find this teapot a nice convenience.
0Comment| 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 21, 2006
This falls in the "I can no longer live without it, what did I do before I got it?" slot in my book. For anyone wanting to add more tea (healthy antioxidants)this is the thing. I got it hoping it wouldn't be another item on my counter that would eventually find its way into the give away pile. It has replaced the spot on my counter normally reserved for the coffee pot. The coffee pot is now relegated to a less accessible corner as I don't use it as much as I used to. You can make your own blends of teas easily with the brewing baskets. The brew settings are a nice feature. I usually just use the strong setting but the mild settings are nice for some green and herbal teas. I can now make a whole pot of tea to put in my iced tea jar easily. No hassle, no going back to brew another cup of tea. If mine ever meets some sort of disaster, I will buy another one.
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on June 22, 2006
This is not a very good hot tea brewer. The tea doesn't steep hardly at all and there is no difference between the strength settings. The water is also not heated to boiling. It is really just a glorified coffee maker. You would be better off purchasing a more traditional teapot for far less money.
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 14, 2006
The tea produced with this device is not steeped. The water simply runs through the tea leaves similar to how coffee is made. I timed how long it took 28 oz of water to run through on the mild and strong settings. On the mild setting the cycle completed in 5 minutes 5 seconds. On the strong setting the cycle completed in 5 minutes 19 seconds. This is not a tea maker.
0Comment| 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 3, 2008
the 5-stars are not tea drinkers. a real cup of tea from loose leafs should steep anywhere from 3-5 minutes. meaning the leaves have to be immersed in water that has been BOILED for this time. this machine does what a coffeemaker does. it heats water to HOT, about 30 degrees under what it should be for tea. it then drips the water over the tea and immediately into the cup. not enough time for the "steeping" process. if you just want to drink tea to replace coffee and have no knowledge of what tea should taste like beyond the cheap, bottom-of-the-barrel stuff you get at the gas station in the morning, get a coffee pot. it does the same thing.

if you are a real tea drinker, move along. or save your receipt.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 22, 2006
I wouldn't call myself a great connoisseur of tea, but I do like to drink it throughout the work day and this is for tea drinkers what a coffee maker is for coffee drinkers. It's easy to use and easy to clean. I'm not sure how strong the other reviewers consider a strong tea, but I do like my tea on the strong side, and the settings work fine for me. I've tried using coffee makers for tea, but as it sits on the warming plate, it seems to "burn" the tea. I don't seem to get that with this machine. I give it 2 thumbs up! I'd like to see some more features though. Like "pause and serve" and a programmable feature.
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on July 6, 2007
The water passes through the tea leaves very quickly, so it doesn't pick up all the flavours of the tea very well. This is especially evident when you brew certain teas like genmaicha, which are Japanese green tea with roasted rice. The tea gives a 'popcorny' flavour thanks to the roasted rice, but because the tea doesn't get steeped, the rice never really has the chance to release it's flavour.
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