Wanted: Iced tea machine that doesn't suck
Making iced tea isn't hard, but it is annoying.
This is my procedure:
- Go out and buy a bag of ice (one batch requires ~3.5 pounds of ice + tap-water-ice adds bad flavors)
- Fill electric kettle with water and turn it on
- Put some loose tea into one of these.
- Leave the room for 6-8 minutes while the water boils
- Come back, pour the hot water over the tea, then leave the room for 4 minutes while the tea brews
- Come back, fill a pitcher and a glass with ice, and pour the hot tea over the ice
This takes about 20 minutes, often requires leaving the house, and generates interruptions every few minutes throughout the procedure. Not acceptable. The coffee world has all sorts of expensive gadgetry to reduce the process of making perfectly acceptable coffee down to pushing a button--why shouldn't the same exist for the tea world?
Ideal procedure for making tea
- Put glass into tea machine, press button
- Wait 5-8 minutes for perfect tea
Requirements for the perfect tea machine
- Price: Under $1000 - it's a lot of money, but espresso machines can cost much more
- Inputs: loose tea and tap water refilled every few days
- Output: up to 32oz of iced tea at a time with clear ice cubes floating in it.
- Performance: 2-3 minutes + steeping time
- Process: The tea should be steeped at a constant temperature for a configurable amount of time
- Size: No larger than an espresso machine
- Noise Level: Silent if possible. If not, then at least quiet enough to use in an office
- Feature: Should be able to produce hot tea directly as well
The key idea here is that the machine should always be ready to go--ice cubes should be pre-made and held inside, water should be held in an internal reservoir, pre-filtered, and the tea should be waiting in an appropriately air-tight receptacle. Then it's just a matter of simulting the process of brewing tea in a french press as closely as possible, then optionally pouring it over ice.