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There’s nothing worse than over or under brewed tea but for most of us tea drinkers this happens all the time. Usually the culprit is not paying close enough attention to the time you started your brew, or walking into another room and forgetting entirely. If you, or someone you know has this problem, then they need to find the best tea timer for their lives. Trust me, it’s worth it.
The Best Tea Timer
Last update on 2024-02-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Having a tea timer on hand is something you probably didn’t even know you needed… But it will change your life. The only problem is… Which one do you get? And who knew there were so many options for tea timers out there?
Personally, I frequently forget about my tea brewing in the kitchen. Wasting the tea is bad enough but the true disappointment comes from having to re boil the water and wait for it to brew again. Sigh.
How Long do you need to brew tea for?
Brewing times vary depending on the type of tea and your preferences. Some people even opt to steep at lower temperatures for longer. For black tea, usually weak tea brews for about 3 minute and strong tea for 5. White and green teas, on the other hand, should steep for 1-3 minutes on average.
It’s best to follow the brewing directions on each of your tea varieties because it can be highly variable from tea to tea. Especially when you opt for tea blends or loose tea.
What to CONSIDER in a Tea Timer
- Are you very particular about your tea brewing or do you just want something that gives you a general idea?
- Do you know how long your tea needs to steep?
- Will you need an alarm to let you know when the tea is ready?
- Do you already own a kitchen timer?
Can I just use my oven timer?
Most of us already have a timer right in our kitchen: the oven or stove top. While this timer is great, it’s still nice to have a dedicated tea timer. First of all, you can carry the smaller timers with you around the house. Perfect if you want to wait in a different room while your tea brews. Second, if you’re already using your oven timer to time something that’s in the oven but want to brew your afternoon tea you’re out of luck. Third, oven timers are often more difficult to set.
Let’s be honest: If you don’t already use your oven timer to brew tea you’re probably not going to start now. Pick up something that’s easy and convenient to use instead!
A Digital Kitchen Timer
This is a great option if you’re looking for a tea timer that’s easy to use and inexpensive. Plus, since it’s programmable, you can use it for all your kitchen timing needs without having to buy a separate product. If you drink a variety of teas and want very specific, accurate brewing times then this is definitely your best bet.
- Accurate digital timer counts down minutes and seconds
- Can be used for other things besides brewing tea
- Small and compact so it’s convenient to use
- Plays a sound so you don’t need to stay in the room during brewing
- Memory function lets you set it back to your last time so if you always brew the same tea for the same amount of time this is super convenient
- Timer is loud and can’t be shut off until it’s done
- Buttons are sensitive
- Stand just isn’t all that great
Best for: Someone who wants accurate tea brewing times
Perfect Tea Timer
This sand timer is kind of part tea timer and part decorative item for your kitchen. The three hourglasses time your brew for 3, 4, or 5 minutes depending on your strength preference. What’s nice is the simple design: no batteries, no app, just sand. It would also make a nice gift idea.
- Adds extra style to your kitchen
- Takes the guesswork out of brewing tea
- Great for entertaining/guests
- You have to watch to see when your timer is up
- Sometimes sand can get stuck as it falls making the time inaccurate
- Other than something like charades or other short kitchen timing tasks, they’re not very versatile for other uses
Best for: Entertaining or as a functional yet decorative piece
Mechanical Kitchen Timer
Just turn this kitchen timer to the amount of minutes you want your tea to brew for and it will immediately start counting down. It’s nothing fancy, just a barebones kitchen timer that gets the job done. Once your time is up the timer will ding so you know it’s ready. The best part, though, is the cute tea kettle shape that this mechanical kitchen timer comes in.
- Easy to use
- Can time up to an hour (so it’s multi-function)
- Bell rings when your time is up
- Cute design
- Only some numbers are displayed so you have to pay attention as you choose the correct time
- Ding sound might not be heard from another room
- No second timer, just minutes
Best for: A person looking for a low-tech approach
Trio Tea Timer
Like the Perfect Tea Timer, the Trio Tea Timer also consists of three hourglasses. The biggest difference, though, is this one times tea for 1, 2, and 3 minutes only. According to this set, the times are for white tea, green tea, and black tea, respectively. With these times, depending on your brand and water temperature, your tea might come out a little bit weak but if you want something that reminds you of brewing times, this set is a good option.
- Indicates which timer should be used for each tea variety
- Stylish hourglass design
- Would make a great gift idea
- Times might not give you an optimal brew
- Sand timers aren’t always as accurate as other timers
- Not multi-purpose
Best for: Someone who likes weaker tea
Visual Countdown Timer
This larger timer is mechanical so it’s easy to set for someone who’s not very comfortable with technology. As the timer counts down, the red piece moves along revealing the design underneath. That gives you a great visual so it’s easy to see how much time is left at a glance. What’s more, you can set the alarm to two different volumes and a 3 or 60 second duration. Perfect if you frequently go into another room and forget your tea!
- Easy to use and set
- Multiple options for the alarm
- Counts silently (so no ticking)
- Can be used for more than just brewing tea
- Doesn’t count seconds
- Has a margin of error of up to a minute (not great when trying to brew tea accurately)
Best for: A person or family who wants a visual timer for their kitchen
Honourable Mention: Smart Speaker
Although I’m not counting this as a true contender for the best tea timer, smart speakers in the kitchen are way too useful to ignore. As accurate as a digital timer, your home smart speaker can be activated completely hands free which is useful when brewing tea while doing other things in the kitchen or around the house. Along with all the other useful functions you get, I would strongly recommend adding a smart speaker to your kitchen.
- Voice activated timer
- Can run multiple timers at once (great if you’re brewing for two people with different preferences)
- Super accurate
- Tonnes of extra features
- High price tag
- Technology barrier to set up (not great for people who aren’t into technology)
- Needs to be plugged to use
Best for: Someone who will benefit from all the features
What is the best tea timer?
If you’re not going to get yourself a smart speaker then there is a clear winner on this list for best tea timer: the digital timer.
You just can’t beat the accuracy that you get with a digital product both with setting the time and how it counts down. Digital timers have a lower margin of error than their analog counterparts which is important when brewing tea. Finally, some brews might be better brewed on the 30 second mark, something analog times just can’t do.
Digital timers are also relatively inexpensive and easy to find. You can find one at whatever level of technology you’re comfortable with; some have a lot of features and multiple timers, others are just a few buttons. You can also find larger screen ones for those who need large print.
Finally, you can use the digital timer for almost anything around the house, but especially in the kitchen. Since you can set it to any time you’d like, there’s a lot of versatility compared to sand timer or even mechanical timers.
Yes, you really need to time your tea
One final thing about tea timers: you really do need to use one. Guessing brew times is going to lead to disappointment and usually you’ll find your tea over or under brewed. Not only can using a timer help you enjoy your cup of tea even more, it will also keep you from forgetting that you have tea brewing in the first place.
By choosing the best tea timer for your needs you can improve your entire tea drinking experience.