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Plastic stink, design flaws
on 10 May 2014
As far as it goes, this is quite a good product, particularly since replacements for the classic Teasmade are now few and far between. The most pressing problem is the absolutely revolting stink and flavour of plastic it imparts to all the drinks it makes. I bought it anyway because other reviewers suggested that descaling would deal with this problem. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case with my model. I descaled it ten times before using it with double strength citric acid descaler, but it didn't make much difference. The tea it made was so disgusting that it was undrinkable.
It is possible to solve this problem, however, but it takes more than descaling. After examining all the components that come into contact with water it became clear that the main culprit is the plastic stopper of the water boiler, and particularly the soft removable silicone gasket on this stopper. The stink from these components is overpowering and utterly revolting. I have no idea whether they are also toxic, but I would urge anyone with the ability to carry out the necessary tests to see whether this is the case.
I finally managed to get the machine to produce drinkable tea by systematically treating the stopper and gasket over a period of several days. Several times per day I immersed both components in boiling water, left them to soak for a couple of hours and then left them to dry and repeated the procedure. The smell is still discernible, but if I only put the water in the boiler directly before making the tea it is drinkable. I still would not yet leave the water in the boiler overnight but I hope that this will become possible with time.
Apart from the smell and taste the machine works well. It really boils the water, so it makes good tea. It would be very easy to make it a lot better with some minor design and programming changes:
* It should be possible to have an adjustable timer sound between 2 and 5 minutes after pouring in the water so that you can take the tea out when it is ready.
* The lights in the display and buttons are much too bright, particularly the light in the button that is always on when the tea-making alarm has been set. This is particularly bad because the lights are blue, which has been shown to disturb the quality of sleep more than any other color. It should be possible to disable the display completely at night, with touch activation for checking it when necessary. Otherwise it's not possible to sleep properly without some kind of home-made cover over the display (which then gets soggy from the steam when the machine makes tea).