So, you got yourself a nice, top-of-the-line iced tea maker, one that’s perfect for you. Good job! Now all that’s left is to start brewing that long-awaited first pitcher of cold, refreshing iced tea. Except, funny thing, you don’t have the faintest idea how to use the iced tea maker in the first place. The design of the machine looked simple enough, so you thought you’d have no problems operating it, but now that you’ve unpacked it, you’re not so sure anymore.
Not to worry, because we’re here to give you a quick and easy-to-follow tutorial on how you can get started with brewing your first glass of iced tea and do it right too!
How to use an iced tea maker in 4 easy steps:
Clean your iced tea maker before brewing a fresh batch of iced tea
Cleaning your iced tea maker is a relatively easy task if you know how to, that is (click here for a detailed explanation on how to clean your iced tea maker). But why even bother cleaning the iced tea maker?
Well, for one, it’s important to take extra care of hygiene when you’re dealing with edibles and beverages, lest you want to spend the next couple of days with a bad stomach or something even worse. Cleaning out your machine is especially important before your first use, or if you’re using your iced tea maker after having stored it a long time since the insides are probably caked with dust. And you DON’T want to drink tea with sand mixed into it, believe me.
Another reason why you’d want to clean your iced tea maker before use, however, is in between different batches of tea, when you’re swapping out old tea leaves and bags for new ones. Suffice to say, old tea leaves don’t pack the same punch as new tea leaves, and their residue in the leaf chamber will only spoil your tea. Thankfully though, you don’t really have to do much here; a quick rinse of both the pitcher and the steeping basket is more than enough to clear out any residue from the last batch.
Select your blend and load it into the iced tea maker
With your iced tea maker clean and ready for action, it’s time to start loading the steeping basket with your tea leaves and/or tea bags so you can start brewing. There are a couple of different things you can do at this stage, all of which will greatly affect the tea you’ll end up brewing.
For starters, there’s the question of whether to use tea bags, open tea leaves. Using tea bags is the preferred way to go since they’re not only handy to use and easily available, but they also make far less of a mess when cleaning up afterward. That being said, it is undeniable that using larger, open tea leaves do provide its own kind of flavor to your iced tea, which is something that’s definitely worth considering.
You can also choose to load up your steeping basket with slices of fruit at this stage. Popular choices are slices of oranges, lemons, and apples, but you can even experiment with vegetables and spices like cinnamon. So long as it can fit inside your iced tea maker, I encourage you to try out any combination of flavors to find out the perfect iced tea blend for you.
Fill up with water and ice
The next step is to fill up your iced tea maker with water so that you can start brewing your tea. In the case of most iced tea makers, you’ll find that each has a small water reservoir that can be filled up through an opening of some sort. You’ll also find that the pitcher that came with your iced tea maker has markings on its side, indicating the amount of water you should fill in the reservoir, and another marking for ice (consult your owner’s manual if there are no such markings).
Fill your pitcher with clean, drinking water (tap water should do just fine) to the indicated mark, and empty the water into your iced tea maker’s reservoir. Make sure to not fill up the reservoir completely with water, to avoid building up pressure inside the iced tea maker as the water boils. With the reservoir ready, fill your pitcher with ice to the indicated mark (or as much as you like), and set it back inside the iced tea maker.
You are now ready to start actually brewing your iced tea.
Brew and serve!
Plugin your iced tea maker, making sure the cord is secure. Select your desired brew setting depending on how strong you want your tea (for your first batch, opt for the medium option to get a fair idea of what your machine is capable of), and switch your iced tea maker on.
At this point, water in the reservoir will start heating up and will be hot enough for brewing in 3-6 minutes. Now, depending on your model, your machine may start brewing tea on its own, periodically pouring hot water onto the tea leaves in the steeping basket, and then passing down the brewed tea into the pitcher below filled with ice. If the process does not start automatically, however, you might need to initiate it with the push of a button located in the vicinity of the brew controls.
After approximately 10 minutes of brewing, you should have a pitcher of chilled iced tea (with much of the ice still intact) ready for serving. You might, however, find yourself impatient and unable to wait for the entire pitcher to fill up before you can have your iced tea. In this case, you can pause the brewing (using a pause button, or pulling out your pitcher if you have a model with the “Pause & Serve” feature) and pour yourself a glass. Regardless of whether you wait or not, though, in ten minutes you’ll definitely be kicking back with a chilled glass of iced tea.