Device: Craftea Ultimate Electric Tea & Chai Maker – One could say this is the Mr. Coffee of the chai tea world, but that doesn’t quite cover it. This can make you, they claim, the perfect cup of chai, or most any kind of tea, for that matter. If you love chai, this gizmo stands alone, and proud, on its own. It works. It’s unique. You’d be the only one on your block to have one.
The Dream: Coffee is so… well, good. But, move over standard coffee and tea, as there is a new drink in town. Well, new isn’t exactly the word. Let’s say hip, fashionable, cool, delicious. This gizmo allows you to do an automatic brew, exactly as you want it, day after day, with no variance. Or, you can turn your chai preparation into more of an experience with the highly customizable mode. It whirs, beeps, spins, starts and stops and brew the perfect cuppa chai at just the right temperature. Gizmo lovers take note, while this looks like a one trick pony, well… let’s take a look.
The Hype: Craftea says…
“Steep tea, brew chai, and more with the Craftea Ultimate tea maker. Using proprietary vortex technology, Craftea simplifies the chai making process and prevents messy boil-overs, allowing the user to create gourmet beverages in a matter of minutes, extracting maximum flavors from fresh and healthy ingredients. Using preprogrammed temperature and steep times, this machine can boil water, create gourmet hot drinks, and make custom infusions with fresh herbs, ground spices, and citrus. The control panel features an LCD screen, user-friendly three-button interface, on/off button, and, best of all, is sealed from water spills. Backed by a one-year replacement warranty, the Craftea Ultimate tea maker has removable parts that are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
6-3/5″ L x 10″ W x 12-3/5″ H, with a 34 ounce capacity”
- “ENDLESS CREATIONS Using fresh or dry loose leaf tea, herbs, spices, fruits and flowers
- FLAVOR INFUSION Our patented vortex technology efficiently extracts flavors from your fresh or dry ingredients
- TOTAL CONTROL Use pre-programmed or customize brew, steep time and temperature control for up to 4 cups
- NO BOIL OVERS No scalding and boil-overs when adding dairy or dairy substitutes
- TIME SAVER Built-in strainer, dishwasher safe with easy to disassemble parts, BPA free“
A Sample Recipe:
Sample Recipe: DARJEELING GINGER CHAI
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons cup freshly grated ginger root
- 1/2-cup whole milk
- 5 teaspoons natural sugar or other sweeteners
- 1 tablespoon Darjeeling tea leaves
Fusion – Add water, ginger. – CRAFTEA™ Fusion time – 5 minutes
Steep – Add Tea, Sweetener – CRAFTEA™ Steep time – 2 minutes
Brew -Add milk-CRAFTEA™ Brew time – 3 minutes
The directions above are pretty automatic. Add ingredients when the machine prompts you. In auto mode you add them all at once.
More recipes below.
The Reality/Verdict: If you really like chai, and don’t already have a well established “chai ritual”, I highly recommend this gizmo. There is a quick automatic mode that makes relatively short work of it, but I enjoy using the custom chai setting, which allows me to adjust the timing on all phases. Want a stronger brew? Make it so.
I bought one of the very first units, because that’s the way Mr. GizmoCuisine.com hangs, and there were issues with the first stir parts. That was fixed in quick order, and mine has lasted for a few years now. That early customer support was superb… though I don’t expect you’ll need it now that things have been ironed out.
The upside is that it just does it right… every time. No scorching. No issues. Let’s make this sophisticated chai latte recipe made with fresh ginger root and crisp Indian Darjeeling black tea. The normal process would be:
Add water to medium pot and place on high heat. Add ginger and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add milk and sugar, increase heat and stir. While you are standing around, don’t let it get too hot, and really DO keep stirring so the milk doesn’t scorch. When it comes to a boil, turn off heat, add tea and cover. Stand around some more as it steeps 3-4 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and serve. Clean pot and strainer.
Or… you can do it automatically with the Craftea. Even in the custom mode timing and temperature, both very important elements, are set and controlled. It is easy, but there is just enough involvement in the custom mode to feel as though you are really doing something cool… and right.
Given the way this machine works, it’s pretty easy to experiment. Keep all the variables of time, temperature and stirring the same, but modify proportions of spice, or try new ones.
The downside is the price. For some, spending $200 on a “teapot” seems absurd. Well, I suppose it is, but it sure makes a good cup of tea or chai.
Be aware that… well, I’ve got nothing. Reviews are quite good amongst the buyers at Amazon. I did see one review about the stirring unit jamming. I’ve found that so long as you don’t stick in pieces of cinnamon stick that are too long, it does just fine.
Bottom line: I like it. OK, I really like it. Great chai. Cool gizmo.
Time saved: Mostly you save on fussy time. Is the water the right temperature? Tea aficionados feel each kind of tea deserves to be brewed at just the right temperature in order to bring out the right flavor while preventing bitterness. This controls that very well.
Cleanup: One pot, with the strainer included. I find a good rinse and quick scrub with a long-handled brush is all it needs. I’d say it takes about one minute.
Grade: A + It makes Mr. GizmoCuisine.com happy, but really, you could do without it. Still… you deserve the perfect cup of tea… so…
There really isn’t any direct competition. Pots like the one below say something about chai, but it really isn’t as specialized in its function.
Online Recipes and Hacks:
This gizmo can make: View All
Chai Tea Recipe Site
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