Did you see a Mr. Coffee ice tea maker sitting on the shelf when you were at the store looking for a coffee maker? Did you have a little laugh thinking why spend money on an iced tea maker when you can boil water, brew tea, and ice it yourself at home? For free! That person used to be me, and now here I am with instructions on how to make iced tea in a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker!
Years ago my parents rented a house in Sun City, Arizona for the winter. I came down to visit for a week and during one of our walks around town we passed a second hand store. In the window was an iced tea maker. I pointed it out and laughed, thinking that was a waste of money. Why buy a machine? Save money, boil water in your kettle, brew tea, and put ice cubes in it.
The laugh’s on me.
A few years later when I decided to find a healthier alternative to diet pop, I remembered that iced tea maker. I checked out the stores, but it was nowhere to be found.
In fact, to this day, Mr. Coffee does not sell iced tea makers in Canada, though they sell their coffee machines up here. What’s up with that? Only Americans enjoy iced tea? We can’t even buy fresh brewed iced tea or sweet tea in restaurants.
I headed over to eBay and found a used one on auction and bought it for $5. Iced tea ready to drink in 10 minutes. I was hooked.
Of course the secret to iced tea in 10 minutes is that it brews into a pitcher full of ice.
Over the years I’ve had to replace the iced tea machine, mostly due to the plastic parts wearing out after a few years of being used at least once a week. The handle broke off the pitcher of the first iced tea machine I bought from eBay. Crazy glue fixed that. When I bought a new one, I gave that old one to friends who still use it.
Start off buying a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker. They can only be bought in the states, and fortunately I live close enough to drive down and buy a new one as needed, or I remember to pick a new one up when I’m vacationing in the states. My go to place to buy a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker is Wal-Mart.
The price of a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker has remained pretty steady over the years at Wal-Mart. It costs around $20, but I’ve seen the price fluctuate up and down by about $2. Sometimes they’re on sale!
The Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker is also available on Amazon.
(Disclosure: if you click the link in the above photo and purchase from Amazon, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral.)
The first thing is to fill the pitcher with water. You’ll notice there are fill lines at the bottom of the pitcher, depending on whether you want 1, 2, or 3 quarts. Let’s make it easy. Choose the 3 quart level. That iced tea is going to disappear fast!
Open the lid on the Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker, remove the tea basket (it just lifts right out, it’s not attached to anything), and pour the water into the reservoir. You will also notice at the front of the iced tea machine that there is a see-through area with lines for how many quarts of iced tea you’re making. It’s very important not to overfill past the 3 quart line or the water will spill out onto your counter during the brewing process!
Put the tea basket back in and put your tea bags inside. You can also use loose tea, but you’ll have to buy coffee filters and put one in the basket first. The amount of tea bags will vary depending on how much water you’re using and your personal taste. For the 3 quart level, use between 4 and 6 tea bags. I like fruit herbal teas and I find that using 4 bags is sufficient.
Close the lid. Select the strength of the tea, between mild and strong by pushing the dial to the desired setting. I usually choose strong with the 4 tea bags.
Then fill the pitcher with ice. Again, you will see lines on the side of the pitcher for the level of ice cubes to be used depending on whether you’re brewing 1, 2, or 3 quarts of iced tea. For the 3 quart level, that means filling the pitcher pretty much to the top. I find that takes 5 trays of ice cubes. Put the pitcher lid back on, ensuring the larger opening is facing the pouring spout. The lid has two pouring options, on opposite ends. One is a full opening so when you pour, the ice cubes can come out with the tea. The other side has grates on it, preventing ice cubes poured into your glass.
Push the pitcher snug up against the Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker. Failure to do so means iced tea will be leaking on your counter!
Make sure your machine is plugged in.
There’s a button on the side of the Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker, towards the bottom. On my machine, when I’m facing it, it’s on the lower left side. This is not an on/off button. Once you push the button, an orange light comes on and stays on until the tea is finished brewing.
There is no off switch. If you must stop the tea brew process, unplug the machine. The Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker has a memory on that timer. If you unplug the machine, the next time you plug it in, it will continue the brewing process. Do not let that machine brew without water in the reservoir. If you’ve made a mistake, unplug the machine. Remove your tea. Remove the ice cubes (if you got that far). Make sure you have water in the reservoir and plug the machine in again. Let it run through the brewing, and when it’s finished, throw out the hot water.
It takes about 10 minutes and the iced tea is ready! Keep an eye on the machine when the light button goes out. There might still be tea in the basket that hasn’t dripped into the pitcher. If so, just leave it a few more minutes until there’s no tea left in the basket.
You’re ready to drink a glass of iced tea you’ve brewed in your Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker. Fast and easy! Enjoy!
One more note, I want to say that Sunbeam, the manufacturers of the Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker offer the best customer service. Alas, one time I ended up with a defective machine and they replaced it for free. They wouldn’t ship it to Canada because it’s not sold here – even though us Canadians like iced tea too! They sent a replacement iced tea maker to a friend’s address just over the border in Washington and I drove down to get it. Read that story here.