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Can You Use a Coffee Maker to Brew Tea? The Do’s and Don’ts

If you’re out of options, you may be wondering – can you make tea in a coffee maker?

Simply put, yes, you can brew your preferred tea drink using an ordinary coffee maker. However, you have to go through some additional steps to get your coffee brewer to work well on tea.

There are many things to consider if you want to improvise and use your coffee maker to make tea. Read on as I cover the dos and don’ts as well as techniques and the steps you can follow to brew tea in a coffee maker.

Can You Make Tea in a Coffee Maker?

coffee maker with tea box and cup

You can use your coffee maker to brew tea, but before using your coffee maker, you have to think about water temperature and steep time requirements for tea brewing. This is important since coffee makers are designed for completely different water heating qualities, i.e., instant and non-boiling.

Generally, it is not recommended to use a coffee maker for tea. Besides the common manufacturer disclaimers, issues arise as coffee makers aren’t really designed to address the sensitive tea brewing concerns. Such concerns stem from imbalances in primary brewing variables, including water temperature, steep time, cleaning requirements, and quality of the brew.

Let’s evaluate these mismatched brewing qualities to understand why coffee makers aren’t so ideal for making tea.

Water Temperature Disparity

woman holding a cup and coffee maker

Getting the desired quality of tea drink depends on heating water to the right temperature when brewing.

Tea, especially white and green tea, requires moderate water temperature, i.e., 176 deg F maximum. The limit is higher for black and herbal tea. This temperature does not match the non-boiling, instant heating properties of coffee makers.

Coffee makers are designed with unique heating output meant to preserve the bitter flavors that are highly sought by coffee lovers.

By contrast, tea must be exposed to boiling water to extract as much flavor as possible.

This disparity in water temperature requirements explains why it is not recommended to use coffee makers for brewing tea.

Steep Time Imbalance

freshly brewed tea with some herbs image

Teas normally take a longer steep time—somewhere between 2 and 7 minutes depending on the type—to produce the desired quality of brew in the end. Coffee makers, on the other hand, are designed for instant brewing processes meant to preserve coffee’s essential flavors.

This difference automatically disqualifies the use of coffee makers in teas. So, you will be greatly inconvenienced by the steep time requirement if you use it anyway.

You should note that steeping your tea for an incorrect amount of time will lead to a bland and weak brew.

Cleaning Concerns

For starters, cleaning coffee makers is no fun even for enthusiastic cleaners. Introducing the insoluble tea leaf residue to this machine makes the whole cleaning process a lot messier.

Primarily, coffee makers are designed to handle soluble coffee powder. Consequently, it may not be necessary to separate parts during regular cleaning processes.

This means that you may have to disassemble your coffee maker into cleanable parts after using it for tea. If you do this a lot, it will obviously shorten the lifespan of the device.

So, you would be in a much better position if you don’t choose to clog your coffee maker with insoluble tea residue.

Compromised Quality of Tea Brew

It goes without saying that you will get a low-quality tea brew if you use a coffee maker instead of a regular teapot.

Of course, your coffee maker will miss the essential tea brewing attributes along the way. Your espresso will most likely fail in realizing the right water temperature. It will also fail to subject your tea to the correct steep time for optimal soaking. These two “mishaps” alone will significantly lower the quality of the final drink.

Therefore, you stand a higher chance of ruining your tea drink if you use a coffee maker anyway.

Step-By-Step Process of Making Tea in a Coffee Maker

If you want to use your coffee making to make tea, follow these steps.

Step 1: Put your tea bags into the coffee carafe.

OR, Add 2 teaspoons of loose leaves into the coffee filter to make one cup of tea.

Step 2: Set the brewing temperature according to the type of coffee you are using, i.e., between 180 deg F and 190 deg F for green and white teas, and between 200 deg F to 212 deg F for black and herbal teas.

Step 3: Start brewing your coffee. You should remove the tea bags from the carafe 5 to 7 minutes from when the drip starts.

Note: Coffee filters tend to weaken the tea intensity by nearly 30 percent. So, you should put your tea bags directly into the carafe to prevent filtering.

Best Coffee Makers to Make Tea

The quality of tea, in the end, depends on the type of coffee maker in use. So, a Turkish ibric can be superior to a drip filter depending on variables, including the presence of an anti-drip mechanism and how long is the tea left to steep, among other variables.

Ultimately, the quality of the tea will depend on various factors at play, but let’s look at the types of coffee makers that can produce the best quality tea.

French Press – A Near-Ideal Coffee Maker for Tea

The French press seems to be leading its peers both in the quality of tea produced and ease of use.

The high-quality tea drink produced is likely because it’s quite similar to the typical teapot. It’s also easy to use as it separates the tea leaves from the brew.

Also, the French press machine allows you to adjust the water temperature. This is similar to the way you can add tea leaves or tea bags, and add the hot water in the conventional teapot.

Therefore, feature similarity makes it easy for the French press coffee maker to replicate the standard tea brewing process.

So, while coffee makers should not generally be used in tea, the French press could almost match all the brewing requirements of both tea and coffee drinks.

Turkish Ibric – Knows How Tea Is Supposed to Be Made

What makes the Turkish ibric a darling for tea preparation is that it allows users to adjust the quality of their brew as desired.

Conveniently, the Ibric doesn’t discriminate on the type of tea products to be used in the brewing process. So, whatever kind of tea is available will suffice to brew the expected quality of the drink.

Also, you can control how hot or cold the water should be when adding the tea leaves. The other good thing about the ibric is that you can control the time for the tea to steep. Thus, you can avoid burned or bitter tea brews.

So, the Turkish ibric in many ways justifies the use of coffee makers for tea in the first place. Thanks to Ibric’s flexibility we can bend the rules. Otherwise, the rules would remain rigid – teapots for teas and coffee makers for coffee.

Worst Coffee Makers to Make Tea

Moka Pot Coffee Maker – Will Burn Your Tea

The Moka pot is a complex brewing machine that uses a much more complicated brewing process, thus making it a no-go for teas.

This old-style brewing master consists of three chambers, which simultaneously run to brew your favorite beverage. The lower chamber takes the water, the middle one holds the tea leaves or bags, with the upper chamber preserved for the resultant brew.

The main reason why the Moka is terrible with tea is that the ultimate brew depends on the near-boiling water in the lower chamber to rise through the brewer to form the final product. This extreme temperature will burn the tea.

By contrast, this procedure is excellent for coffee since it is resilient to severe heating. That is why the Moka pot is still in use up to this day.

Espresso Machine – Will Scald Your Tea

Like the Moka pot, espresso does not give you the luxury to regulate the temperature to match particular tea ingredients. So, there’s a big chance of burning your tea.

An espresso machine is designed to produce a quick and strong coffee shot in less than a minute. This completely goes against the sensitive and delayed steeping in teas. Thus, it’s an automatic disqualification.

Furthermore, the water temperature of over 194 deg F in an espresso machine is too hot for green tea – green tea turns bitter and darker when heated above 176 deg F. White tea is even worse. The extreme heating in espresso will damage the delicate and floral qualities that make white tea what it is.

Nonetheless, the espresso machine is a lot more friendly when you are working with tea pods. Tea pods, unlike loose leaf teas, are resilient to an unregulated supply of heat.

Black tea can also withstand a high temperature of water in an espresso. But you will have to do a lot of delicate balancing to get the desired tea brew.

How to Use Your Coffee Maker for Both Coffee and Tea

If you must use your coffee maker for both coffee and tea, you should arm yourself with useful tips. Since you cannot alter the functional mechanics of your coffee maker, you should focus on getting the right tea ingredients for such improvised brewing instances.

Stock up a variety of tea products in your cupboard to avoid subjecting the delicate ones to the “harsh” brewing processes of coffee makers. Variety ensures that you pick the right tea product for particular brewing instances.

Use tea pods instead of the regular loose leaves and tea bags. This safeguards against the burning of your tea since tea pods can withstand the high temperature from coffee brewers. Black tea is also preferable to green tea or white tea as it can withstand extreme heating instances before scalding your drink.

If you can’t get tea pods, go for tea bags instead of loose leaves since they work well with inaccurate steep time control.

Teabags are easy to manage around the brewer, thus reducing the risk of clogging the delicate parts of your brewer. They also don’t subject you to hectic cleaning of insoluble loose-leaf residues from the brewer.

Final Thoughts

So, can you make tea in a coffee maker? The thing is, coffee makers don’t do well with the relatively delicate tea brewing procedures. Coffee brewers make it difficult to regulate water temperature and steep times. Thus, you could end up either burning your tea or producing a bald, weak drink.

Even so, you can still get your ideal tea drink from an ordinary coffee maker. You just have to stick to the right procedure discussed above and you are good to go. Also, choose the right coffee maker and follow the tips I’ve suggested in this article to increase your chances of success.

Krista Haws

Known among her friends as 'the caffeine fiend', Krista loves all things coffee. From an extremely short, strong espresso to a 3 day cold brew, Krista loves them all.

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