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Does anyone else use an iced tea maker?

it's almost more trouble to set up than just boiling some water, but it's fast and doesn't heat up the kitchen. My Mr Coffee ice tea maker works like a coffee percolator, brewing the tea and dripping it onto a pitcher of ice to cool it down.
You have to rip all the tea bags open into a coffee filter. You can leave the bags in the basket but it definitely doesn't work as well.
I found a supplier of loose bulk tea which should make the whole process easier. Does anyone else do this? After some reaiding I've noticed that some teas have to be steeped at different temps...
Is my unitasker a Chowhound faux-pas?
If anyone else uses this device and has some advice, I'd love to hear it!

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  1. Can you use a coffee filter to make cleaning the basket easier? That's what I'd do. I don't drink enough iced tea to make a purchase worthwhile, but I like the idea of just putting the sugar in the carafe and letting the dripping hot tea dissolve it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Isolda

      I use my ice tea maker all the time, and it is much more convenient than boiling water and making it the old fashioned way. For one thing, we use Luzianne tea bags, which are large and designed to be used to make iced tea. I add tea bags of Twinings or Stash in various flavors in addition to Luzianne when we want flavored tea. I find starting with ice in a pitcher, and the ability to drink it right away, worth the $20 I spent on this thing seven years ago.

      If you want to use loose tea, you can buy loose tea in stores and don't need to rip open a million bags. I don't understand why this is how you have to do it.

      BTW, I meant to reply to the OP, not you Isolda.

      1. re: RGC1982

        I do the same; Luzianne tea bags and leave them intact.

        We've been using Mr. Coffee Ice Tea Pots for 20+ years now. It's the easiest way to make a bunch of tea with consistent results every time. I prefer an older style maker; they seem to change the design every few years.

        My husband goes through 3+ quarts per day and when my son comes over, two pots are the norm.

        1. re: Dee S

          Ours is over 19 years old and still going strong. Brews an average of a pot a day year round. We have replaced lots of pitchers but like the old style brewer too. Found an unused one at a thrift shop for $3 & bought it in case ours gives up the ghost. (And for the pitcher.)

          We brew into the pitcher - 2 family bags - no ice. Dilute with water to the line, put in the fridge to cool or pour over ice in the glass. Usually have two pitchers in the fridge - one unsweetened regular and one unsweetened decaf..... 0 calories & keeps me from going for the cokes all the time.

          1. re: _jj_

            If I did more garage sales or thrift shops, I bet I can find one. We have an old style 2-qt maker but during the summer, 3-qts is the way to go.

            It's a unitasker that's used to most.

    2. I had one of these I used to use for similar reasons - it was simple, quick and easy and didn't heat up my kitchen in summer. I hated having it out on the counter though...but we used it a lot during the summer so I left it out during the hot months even though it annoyed me to see it there

      Like you I preferred loose leaf to bags and used a coffee filter with the loose leaf teas. It only brews at one temp so is best suited to black teas or tisanes rather than green teas if you want to be a purist about brewing temperature.

      I quit drinking coffee early this year though and bought myself an electric kettle for drinking tea. Once I had this on hand it became even easier to boil a pot of water(the electric kettle doesn't throw heat either) and use a glass pitcher to brew the tea. I've been doing that all year both with bags and with loose leaf. I'm happy not to be using the plastic pitcher anymore as I prefer to avoid plastic when possible.

      I just gave my iced tea maker to Goodwill this past week when I was cleaning out closets

      1. I use a zojirushi hot water pot and just make ice tea fresh by steeping it and then adding ice to dilute. I don't like the tea that comes out of those iced tea makers

        1. We have one. Don't know where it came from, but it never gets used. I think it is much easier to just boil water in a pot. I use the big luzianne tea bags for iced tea. I only boil half as much water as I need, steep the tea, then dilute it with cold water, so it is good to drink over ice in only a few minutes.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ShawnPA

            That's the way I do it, except I add sugar after steeping the tea, and when that's dissolved, dilute it with cold water and ice.

            Honestly, I clicked on this thread because I've always been confused about why in the world this product exists. I had not thought of the "heat up the kitchen" part. I always forget that people in some parts of the country don't have a/c.

            1. re: danna

              That's part of it- we can't afford AC, but also it's ready very quickly and sometimes we need that. Some nights after work I have to make dinner and a pot of iced tea in about 30 minutes.
              However I do question the quality of the tea it produces.

          2. I received my "Mr. Coffee Ice Tea Pot" as a housewarming gift, 22 years ago. I only use it during the summer months. I fill the filter with 7 Red Rose tea bags (removing the tags) and less then a 1/4 cup of sugar. I put 1/2 can of frozen lemonade into the pitcher with the ice. Perfect every time.