10 Gadgets for Making the Perfect Brew

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Dr Samuel Johnson – the clever fella who compiled the first English dictionary – once wrote, 'A day without tea is a day without joy'. He certainly knew his stuff.

Us Brits quaff 165 million cups of the stuff each day, so it's little wonder drinking a nice mug of cha has become a national pastime. But tea also boasts a whole raft of hidden health benefits: It can help reduce the risk of heart attack, is a natural source of fluoride to protect against tooth decay, and contains antioxidants which may help prevent all sorts of cancers. 

So, in celebration of the Great British brew, we've unearthed the best gadgets to help you achieve the perfect cuppa. 

1. Sage Tea Maker Kettle



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The daddy of tea gadgets, produced by culinary alchemist Heston Blumenthal, the Sage Smart Tea Maker claims to be the world's first automatic brew creator. Impressive, huh?

Just fill the kettle with water, place your leaves in the diffuser basket and select your favourite type of tea. The leaves are automatically lowered into the hot water, where they brew at exactly the right temperature, for precisely the right amount of time.

There's even a delayed start function, so it can be ready when you wake up. Consider it a 21st Century teasmade.

2. Temperature-Controlled Kettle



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This is along the lines of automatic tea makers, but not quite as fancy... or pricey. These energy-saving kettles – and there are several different makes available – have an automatic shut-off to stop them from exceeding your chosen temperature. Some even keep the water at the desired level for up to 30 minutes after initial heating, meaning you can bin that old tea cosy!

General guidelines suggest using water at 70 degrees for white teas, 80 degrees for green teas and 100 degrees for everything else.

3. Digital Measuring Spoon



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Once you've found the exact volume of loose tea leaves to produce your ideal strength of tea, there's no going back. This handy little gadget, which has an in-built measuring scale in the handle, ensures you can replicate that perfect cuppa every time.

Yes, it may make you look a bit pedantic when friends come round for a brew, but it'll be worth it. Just imagine... no more insipid cuppas, or over-stewed brews. Hoorah!

4. Flavour Infusion Pitcher



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Prefer your tea fruity and iced? Then infusion pitchers are for you. Fill the core with your choice of fruit or herbs, then top up the jug with water or cooled tea and let the flavours infuse. Try citrus fruits with ordinary black tea (brewed in either hot or cold water, depending on your taste) for a classic iced tea; infuse blueberries, lemon slices and fresh mint leaves with peppermint tea; or try oranges, lemons, strawberries and mint with black tea and a generous splash of Pimm's. Add ice to keep it cool and sugar to taste. Delicious.

5. Tea Infuser Stick



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Much like the debate about round versus square (or even pyramid-shaped) teabags, the verdict on the best shape of loose leaf diffuser varies wildly. Whatever your view, the diffuser stick is certainly the most chic.

The Frieling Infuser has a spring-loaded top, the Tovolo Infuser looks a bit like a musical maraca, the Alessi Infuser is the king of style, while the Tala Infuser has a scoop on one end to make it easier to fill. Take your pick.

6. Folding Kettle



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So you've finally discovered the perfect brew, the holy grail of tea that's the only thing guaranteed to get you ready for the day ahead. So what happens when you go camping, backpacking, boating or to a festival, where tea-making facilities are few and far between? Get yourself a folding kettle!

Yes it sounds a bit like an April Fool's joke, but we can assure you that these clever little space-savers really exist. Made from durable silicone with a stainless steel base, they can be used on gas or electric stoves. 

7. Tea Timer



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How long should you leave your tea bag in? And once you've cracked it for your specific taste, how can you replicate that every time? With a simple tea timer, that's how.

Choose a traditional sand-timer set, containing a one-, three- and five-minute hourglass, or go more high-tech with a pre-programmed steeping timer for green, white, black and herbal tea. Kurush Bharucha, Tea Expertise Director at Unilever (which owns PG Tips and Lipton) recommends brewing green tea for one-three minutes, black tea for three-five minutes and herbal teas for up to five minutes.

8. SmarTea Tea Pot



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No one who considers themselves to be a tea aficionado should be seen without one of these. Elegant and functional, the SmarTea teapot has nailed it. The glass vessel has a removable stainless steel infuser – ideal for loose leaf, bagged or flowering teas – and a stainless steel lid. Some models even have a tea-light holder in the base to keep your beverage warm. Glass teapots also enable you to keep an eye on the colour of your brew, so you can monitor its strength.

9. Teabag Squeezer



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There's nothing worse than a watery brew lacking oomph, and these inexpensive teabag-squeezing gadgets are the most effective way of getting every last drop of flavour out of your bag and into your cup. Rectangular, round, metal or plastic... just get squeezing!

10. USB Cup Warmer



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If you like your tea piping hot and are partial to a cuppa at work, then the USB cup warmer is a great little gadget – and a sure-fire conversation starter. The warmer plugs directly into a USB port and keeps your cup (proper cups and mugs only, no plastic or foam) toasty at 50 degrees.

What's more, they come in all sorts of shapes, colours and designs; from standard silver to this fun cookie-shaped option. Or you can go one step further and try a USB warming cup – some of which even feature automatic stirring, if you're feeling particularly lazy!

Looking for More Great Kitchen Gadgets?



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Check out guide to kitchen gadgets that'll help you eat more healthily, and make the most of sunny weather with these ingenious gadgets for the barbecue connoisseur.
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