Can You Make Tea in a Coffee Maker? Should You?

Updated on: September 18, 2022
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Can you make tea in a coffee maker

For many people, a cup of tea is the perfect way to relax after a busy day at work. But what if you don’t have a teapot at hand? Can you make tea in a coffee maker instead?

Here’s what you need to know. 

Is Making Tea in a Coffee Maker a Good Idea?

Technically, you can make tea in a coffee maker.

The hot water will extract the flavor from the leaves. But just because something is possible, doesn’t mean that you need to do it.

The negatives of making tea in a coffee maker are numerous.

The benefits? Almost non-existent.

Here are three reasons why you might want to avoid making tea in a coffee machine.

1. Unsuitable Water Temperatures

Herbal teas and black tea will require a higher water temperature than coffee to properly extract the flavor from the leaves. On the other hand, more delicate teas like white or green tea require lower water temperature than coffee.

Because of this, when you use a coffee maker, you may be left with an unpleasant, weak, or bitter flavor.

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2. Hard to Control the Steep Times

Another issue is that it will be difficult to get the right steep time, which is required to get the best flavor out of your tea.

If you don’t steep it long enough, the tea will be weak, little more than flavored water. Too long, and it will become bitter.

With a coffee machine, you will have little to no control over this aspect.

3. You Will Have to Clean the Coffee Maker

Cleaning your coffee maker is always important. You’ll need to do it every few months to keep the machine in good working condition.

But you’ll have to thoroughly clean it every time you want to make a cup of tea (i.e. dedicate a good half-hour). This will be enough to test anyone’s patience, and coffee grounds or flavors could still find their way into your tea cup.

No Need for Fancy Equipment When Making Tea

Most importantly, though, you simply don’t need to use a coffee maker at all.

All you need to make a wonderful cup of tea is hot water and a tea bag (or even better, tea leaves). You don’t even need a teapot or a tea infuser. In the unlikely event that you don’t have a kettle, you can just put your cup into the microwave to heat the water.

This article talks you through the basics of making tea with limited equipment.

Best Types of Coffee Makers That Can Make Tea

If you are desperate to make tea in a coffee maker, it can be done. Though it will be a lot easier if you choose a coffee maker that is better suited to making tea.

Here are some of the ones that you might want to consider.

French Press

This is the ideal option for making tea. All you need to do is add the hot water, then the loose leaf tea. Decide how long you want to steep the tea to give yourself the best flavor. Then, push down on the handle to contain the leaves to the bottom of the press and pour.

Ninja Hot and Cold

This Ninja coffee machine is a rare example of a coffee maker that has been designed with tea drinks in mind. There are separate baskets for a tea or coffee pot, and the water temperature and steep time can be adjusted. Because of this, the experience will be similar to making a conventional cup of coffee.

Keurig Machines

You won’t be able to brew tea leaves or tea bags in a Keurig machine. But you don’t have to. You can get tea K-Cups. These are designed to slot into the machine, producing a delicious cup of tea. You’ll be able to customize the settings, so the tea matches your tastes.

Regular Coffee Makers

Technically, all coffee makers can be used to make tea. Though, it’s best to stick to making delicious coffee with it. They are designed for brewing coffee after all!

This list of top coffee makers will tell you the qualities that your machine should possess to make tea.

Making Tea in a Coffee Maker

How to Make Tea in a Coffee Maker

Let’s assume that you are stuck with a regular coffee maker and want to make a cup of tea. There are a few approaches you can take.

Using Tea Bags

First, run the machine without anything in it. This will pour hot water into your cup. You can then, add the teabags and wait for them to steep.

Though it’s one of the most impractical ways of boiling water imaginable, this method will get the job done. The good news is that this approach is fast.

Of course, to avoid coffee-flavored water (depending on your machine), you must clean your coffee maker very well.

Using Loose Tea Leaves

If you only have loose leaf tea, you can place the leaves into the basket and run the machine.

Again, unless you like bitter tea, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the basket first. You should also run some vinegar through the machine, to cleanse away any remaining coffee remnants.

Run the machine again, with just water. This gets rid of the vinegar flavor. This article talks you through the process of cleaning a coffee maker. Then, you can play around with the settings a little to get the best steep time for your tea.

Be prepared, these machines can take a while to clean. Sometimes, it can be up to 30 minutes before you’re ready to start brewing your tea. Whether it’s worth doing all this prep work for a lackluster cup of tea is up to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use a coffee filter for loose tea leaves?

It’s a good idea to use a coffee filter when using loose tea leaves. This will make it a lot easier to clean up the machine when you have finished. You’ll simply be able to remove the filter and throw it away.

How long should tea steep for?

This will often depend on the type of tea you are making.

Some types of herbal tea can require 10-15 minutes to steep, giving the nuanced flavors that tea lovers are familiar with. Black teas typically need 5 minutes whereas more delicate green teas can be ready in as little as 45 seconds.

Can you make iced tea in a coffee maker?

Yes. In many respects, making iced coffee is the same as making regular tea. You’ll need to follow the same procedure as you would making hot tea. Then, place it into a cup or jug and put it in the fridge to cool down. 

Is coffee maker water hot enough for tea?

This depends on the type of tea. For example, black tea requires water of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) which is higher than the ideal temperature for making coffee. For green tea, though, it will need to be slightly less warm at 175 degrees Fahrenheit (79 degrees Celsius) which is cooler than coffee maker water. Because of this, you might notice a slight bitterness when drinking.

If you want to be pedantic, you can use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water when it comes out of the machine. Then, compare this to the temperature your tea requires. You might need to leave the water to cool for a few moments before adding the tea.

Green Tea and Coffee Beans

So, Can You Make Tea in a Coffee Maker?

Coffee makers can be highly versatile, offering a plethora of settings to create the perfect blend.

You can even use them to make tea. Though brewing tea in a standard coffee maker will take a long time and produce a lackluster result.

Instead, you’re often better off using the kettle and perhaps a timeless and beautiful cast iron teapot.

Felipe is a tea expert with an engineering background! He loves to drink and learn all about tea and coffee. His love for tea was discovered while living in Japan and his favorites are Sencha & Pu'er!
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