I’ll admit when I first heard of this tea machine, I though “why on earth would you buy a machine to make tea, ever heard of a kettle?” but I’ve tried it now and invite you to grab a cup and read my thoughts on it. Cheers!
I’m not a coffee drinker but I like the occasional cup of tea. I’m not one of those fanatics (like the lovely Brits) who desperately needs their cup every morning, I just appreciate a warm drink sometimes and by elimination (don’t like coffee, I wish I could have hot chocolate whenever I wanted) tea is the right drink for me!
Just as I’m not a tea addict, I’m also not a connoisseur when it comes to the different types and tastes. I just know what I like and base my future tea choices on previous experiences. Last time I was in London (I neeeeeed to go back) I bought some tea at Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, my British Food Walhalla. I love gift packs like these because you don’t have to choose and it comes in pretty packaging!
The Harrods selection is a very classic selection which I like, but I do favour the Fortnum & Mason Fruit-Flavoured Tea bags. Peach, Lemon, Apple, Strawberry and Cranberry: yum! These are what I call “beginner” teas. I’m sure everyone appreciates a nice fruity drink and although I haven’t tried it, I think these could be great for some refreshing homemade iced tea.
And then I heard of this Nespresso-type machine for tea… I couldn’t see the point to be honest, but when my mother-in-law gave me one, I couldn’t wait to try it either, curiosity for the win!
The machine comes in several colours, I have the green “Japanese Garden” version.
You can now buy it for €99,00, a temporary lower price (as opposed to €119,00) valid until September 13th 2015. There is one version (Diamond) that is slightly more expensive. You will also receive a Welcome Box to get started. It includes a selection of 12 capsules, a cup and saucer (I got the China design) which you can buy separately, a water filter and free shipping.
Alright, you’ve got your machine, 12 different flavours to try, time for tea making madness. It’s not difficult to get started at all, everything is explained in the manual that comes in the box. The only maintenance you will have to do is replace the water filter from time to time (the machine will let you know), and occasionally clean it.
The concept is very similar to Nespresso and its counterparts. You just fill up the water reservoir, turn on the machine, choose a capsule, put it in the machine, push the button and wait for magic to happen! You don’t have to wait long at all, it goes really fast.
The used capsules end up in a little tea trash can inside the machine, genius!
Onto the capsules now. The flavours are divided into 6 categories from the classics (Earl Grey, English Breakfast,…) to some more novelty blends (Blueberry Muffin, Caramel Gourmand,…). There is something for everyone here and thanks to the 12-piece selection you can try before committing to bigger quantities.
When you’ve sipped your way through these, you’ll want to get some more tea. How does that work?
There are no stores, unfortunately, it’s all done online. One box has 10 capsules (no mixing here, 1 flavour per box) and one order must contain a multiple of 5 boxes, resulting in a 5 box minimum (50 capsules).
An order of 10 boxes will get you shipping at half price, orders of 15 boxes or including a machine or accessory get free shipping. Shipping is done by GLS.
That’s the general info, but did I like it?
The machine is really easy to use and clean and I love the selection that came with it. The first tea I tried was Blueberry Muffin (how could I not be intrigued by this?!) and boy oh boy, that was so good! I worked my through all the flavours and kept note of the ones I liked or really didn’t like. You can also add flavours to your favourites on the website, easy to keep track of your likes and dislikes!
The cup is not really my cup of tea (I’ll get my coat…), and my favourite (tall) cup won’t fit, boo! I’ll find a new favourite that fits, no worries.
Time for my first order. I chose 5 flavours (a few I liked and a few new ones like Caramel Gourmand, oh yeah) and placed my order. Unfortunately I couldn’t pay with my debit card and had to use my credit card. Just a personal payment preference though…
That all went very smoothly and then I got an e-mail from GLS announcing the delivery of the package and giving me the opportunity to change the delivery address in case I wasn’t home (let’s call this location A) at the designated time. Of course I wasn’t, so I used this possibility. They automatically provided a GLS Parcel Shop (location B) but I modified it to a closer GLS shop (location C) which was kindly confirmed by mail.
That’s when things went a little haywire… I expected another notification when the package was available for pick up at the chosen location. I didn’t, but I did receive a message from Special.T asking me to fill in a questionnaire now that I had received the package. So I tracked the package and it says it had been at location B since Friday (order placed on Wednesday, fast!). I contacted them asking to please deliver it to location C, as confirmed in their e-mail. The first reply was that it wasn’t possible to change now that the package had arrived (what?!) and if I could pick it up at location B anyway. How about no? I politely reminded them they did confirm I could pick it up at another location, so I expected it to be there. I got another reply saying it was at location C all along!
So… the tracker info isn’t accurate at all. And neither is the info you receive from the Parcel Shops. Thank god we didn’t give in and drive to location B, because the package simply wouldn’t have been there…
All in all, very quick delivery and great service by Special.T, it just took a week longer to get here because of these silly GLS shenanigans. Obviously it all worked out fine, but I was annoyed at how poorly the problem was addressed the first time around.
The package itself was perfect and I got a complimentary box of Masala Chai.
I did forget one thing though… I totally should have ordered one of those cute capsule holders! I will definitely order it next time.
If you’re a tea traditionalist/purist that likes the whole ritual of putting on the kettle, infusing the tea etc you might not be interested at all. However, if you want a quick way to a really good cup of tea and if you can handle another device in your home then I would definitely recommend this. I’ve been drinking more tea since I got this because it’s just so convenient and the flavours are delicious.
Are you a tea or coffee person? Would you buy this machine?
N.B.: I just noticed they have some Iced Tea accessories and some of the flavours can be used for Iced Tea, I need to try this!