It’s no wonder that Zarafina won a 2007 Housewares Design Award for
their electric Tea Maker. Not only does it make for a perfect
wedding gift, it creates a perfect cup of tea.
Choose your tea. Loose is best, but a bagged
tea will do. There is a “cutter” on the top of the infuser basket
to remove the label. A scoop is provided to measure for either one
or two cups of loose tea.
Pour water to the proper level. Place the
screened infuser basket in the housing, cover the top, and choose
the settings. Normally, you would be brewing tea by pouring some
almost boiling water over a tea bag or tea infuser and letting it
brew for what you have to guess is the correct amount of time. If
you are knowledgeable about the particular tea, you can determine
the proper amount of brewing time for a perfect cup. This tea
maker, however, takes the guesswork out of it.
There are three different settings. One
relates to the type of tea that you use: black, oolong, green, white
and herbal. Another allows you to select whether you have loose or
bagged tea. The last determines whether you want tea steeped
strong, medium or light. Flip the switch and you can watch the whole
In just a short time, out comes the perfect cup
of tea. Now, here’s where the elegance reigns. The tea maker sits
on a ceramic base which doubles as a serving tray. Tea is dispensed
into a white ceramic teapot and two ceramic teacups are part of the
set. It even comes with a cap to place on the bottom of the
removable internal steeping chamber, as you don’t want water to come
in contact with the metal part that attaches to the unit.
If you’re having more than two drinkers, you’ll
have to provide other teas cups. However, since preparation and
brewing time is not all that lengthy it will give tea lovers the
opportunity to choose a different tea.
Perhaps you are interested in purchasing the
tea maker for yourself, but you’re not knowledgeable about tea. A
Website called Serendipitea provides the following information:
- All tea comes from one plant, camellia sinensis.
Beverages made from anything else (herbs, fruit, etc.) are
not tea, but tisane.
- Tea is withered after picking. This is the process by
which water evaporates from the leaf, making it more flexible
and easier to shape. After withering, the tea is dried.
- The color and flavor of the tea depends on the degree of oxidation
that takes place as the tea is processed. Oxidation occurs when
enzymes in the leaves are exposed to air, causing the leaves to
change color and flavors to develop. Oxidation is sometimes,
incorrectly, called fermentation.
- Other factors determining the character of tea are variations in
altitude, soil composition, rainfall and exposure to sun.
- White Tea made from unopened buds that are
withered and bake-dried immediately after harvest. There is
minimal oxidation, as the leaves are not rolled or tossed to
release the enzymes that initiate the process. White tea is very
delicately flavored and nearly colorless in the cup.
- Green Tea is steamed immediately after
picking to neutralize the active enzymes that cause oxidation.
The leaf is then withered and shaped to achieve the desired leaf
finish (long needle shapes, rolled pellets, etc.), then steamed
again or pan fired. Because there has been no oxidation, the tea
remains green. Although produced in many countries, green tea is
the variety most often associated with Japan.
- Ooolong Tea is not steamed, as the enzymes
must remain active. It is basket tossed after withering to
bruise the edges and expose the leaf’s enzymes to oxygen,
initiating partial oxidation. After 15 percent to 75 percent
oxidation occurs, the leaf is pan fired to stop the process.
Partial oxidation results in delicate, nutty flavors and floral
aromas. There are many varieties of Oolong, most of which come
from China and Taiwan.
- Black Tea is the most popular style of tea
in western countries. It is roll-broken after withering.
Roll-breaking cracks the surface of the leaf exposing more of
the leaf’s enzymes to air and initiating fuller oxidation.
Complete oxidation results in a dark, richly colored drink. The
leaf is then finished with forced hot air. The most famous and
prestigious black teas are from India (Darjeeling and Assam),
but China, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Thailand all produce
- Scented and Flavored Teas have the added aromas or
flavors of fruits, flowers or herbs, and can be made with any of the
above teas. Scented tea is packed with layers of flowers, such as
jasmine or roses, to absorb their scent. Once this process is
complete, the flowers are discarded, although dried flower petals
are sometimes added later for appearance. Flavored tea is tossed
with small amounts of fruit oil that imparts flavor to the leaves.
Earl Grey tea, black tea flavored with oil of bergamot (a citrus
fruit), is the most famous example. Some teas are flavored by the
addition of dried herbs and spices, such as mint, cinnamon or
cloves. Masala Chai is the best known example.
- Tisanes (herbal infusions) are herbal,
fruit or spice “teas” that do not contain tea. Rooibos (South
African “red tea”), chamomile and mint are popular examples.
Most tisanes are naturally caffeine free. Incidentally, Rooibos,
a tea that comes from a honeybush, can steep for several hours
without gaining an acidity or aftertaste and provides more
antioxidants than blueberries.