The Cuisinart PerfecTemp Programmable Tea Steeper and Kettle TEA-100 pales in comparison to the Breville Tea Maker BTM800XL's quality and design, but this automated tea brewer is a serviceable, more affordable option for heavy tea drinkers. Most users say it brews great-tasting tea and is easy to operate. Although there appears to be a high incidence of defective units, which may be a sign of inconsistent construction, the kettle comes with a three-year warranty.
Frequent defects. Unlike the automatically lifting tea basket in the Breville BTM800XL, the Cuisinart TEA-100's basket must be lowered and raised manually. After boiling the water to one of the preset temperatures, you lower the basket and set an adjustable timer to remind you to remove the tea from the water. Some Amazon.com users find this manual infusion to be inconvenient, but others like the added flexibility. Most say the device makes great-tasting tea. A large number of owners complain about receiving defective products that break after a few weeks, but many get a replacement by making use of the three-year warranty.
Cleaning can be a chore. The most common complaint among Amazon.com reviewers is that this kettle is difficult to clean because the lid can't be removed from the tea infuser. Examiner.com's James Cooper reports that the kettle and electric base aren't dishwasher safe, and it's difficult to get rid of brown discolorations at the bottom of the glass. Otherwise, users and experts call the appliance easy to operate. According to Cuisinart and owners at Amazon.com, you can add ice cubes right to the kettle to make freshly steeped iced tea.
Dependable features. Although the Cuisinart TEA-100 does contain some plastic, no plastic components touch the water while it's heating and the kettle is completely BPA-free. It automatically shuts off when it reaches the selected temperature, and comes with both overheat and boil-dry protection. Amazon.com users say it beeps very loudly when the water is ready.
After using the Cuisinart TEA-100 about eight times, Cooper says it produces good tea but can be difficult to clean. He gives it an overall rating of 3 stars out of 5.
Review: Cuisinart Tea Steeper and Kettle, James Cooper, April 9, 2012
This basic site contains a few reviews of electric kettles. Kinennara lists the Cuisinart TEA-100's primary features and briefly describes his experiences using it. "Although I haven't done any testing with thermometers…I can say that my teas always taste perfect, which is the mark of steeping for the correct time at the correct temperature," he says.
Review: Reviews Cuisinart TEA-100 PerfecTemp Programmable Tea Steeper and Kettle, Anindya Kinennara, Jan. 30, 2013
The Cuisinart TEA-100 gets an overall rating of 3.7 stars out of 5 after input from about 70 customers. Several call it difficult to clean and some say their kettles were defective, but most find that the Cuisinart brews excellent tea.
Review: Cuisinart TEA-100 PerfecTemp Programmable Tea Steeper and Kettle, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2013