Can Coffee Machines Make Tea | Double Duty?

If you’re a tea and coffee drinker, you might have wondered if you can use your coffee maker to brew tea too. Having one multitasking appliance that can handle both hot beverages sounds very convenient. But is it possible to successfully make tea in a coffee machine?

There are a few factors to consider when using a coffee maker for tea. In this guide, we’ll cover if and how you can prep tea in three popular types of coffee gadgets:

  • Drip coffee machines
  • Single serve pod brewers
  • Espresso machines

Read on to learn if your java equipment has hidden talents for steeping tea!

Using a Drip Coffee Maker to Brew Tea

Traditional drip coffee machines are one of the most common household appliances. They work by pouring hot water over coffee grounds in a filter basket and directly into a carafe. Could these ubiquitous brewers also make a proper cup of tea?

The short answer is yes, you can brew tea in a standard drip coffee machine. There are a few tips to follow for best results:

  • Use a Permanent Filter – Metal or fabric reusable filters allow tea leaves to flow freely compared to paper filters.
  • Select Loose Leaf Tea – The leaves will steep properly and offer full flavor. Tea bags may clog the basket.
  • Program a Lower Brew Temp – Ideal tea steeping temp is 160-180°F. Most drip machines hit 200°F for coffee by default.
  • Brew a Full Pot – Tea requires a higher tea leaf to water ratio for robust flavor compared to coffee.
  • Steep the Leaves – Allow tea to steep 3-5 minutes in the carafe before pouring your cup.

With the right filter, loose tea and adjusted temp/time settings, drip coffee brewers can make a flavorful pot of tea. Just keep in mind it won’t have the precision of a dedicated tea kettle. But it’s a handy workaround in a pinch!

Brewing Tea in a Single Serve Pod Machine

Single serve pod coffee makers like Keurigs use sealed plastic cups of pre-portioned grounds to quickly brew one cup at a time. This versatile format has expanded to include tea options. Numerous brands now offer tea K-cups and compatible brewers.

When using a single serve pod machine, there are a couple factors for tea success:

  • Choose a Multi-Beverage Brewer – Many Keurig models accommodate tea, cocoa and more pods beyond just coffee.
  • Opt for a Lower Temp Setting – If available, select the 160-180°F brewing temp that extracts tea flavor properly.
  • Try Different Tea Pod Brands – Each may offer unique flavor, caffeine levels and ingredients to suit your tastes.
  • Watch Pod Expiration Dates – Tea pods have a shorter shelf life than coffee and lose freshness over time.

While single serve makers offer convenience, tea pods tend to be less eco-friendly and costly per cup compared to loose tea. But it allows easy brewing if you enjoy and rotate a variety of flavors.

Making Tea with an Espresso Machine

Espresso makers use pressure to push hot water through finely ground coffee. This intense extraction process results in strong concentrated coffee rather than a traditional tea. But there are still a couple ways to make hot tea drinks with an espresso machine:

  • Add Tea Extracts – Espresso machines can nicely combine chai, matcha or instant tea concentrates into lattes and other milk-based drinks.
  • Try a Tea Pod – Some brands offer loose leaf tea capsules compatible with espresso pod brewers to make tea lattes.
  • Use Steam Wand – The steamer makes it easy to quickly heat and froth milk to combine with tea bags or add-ins for chai lattes.

While espresso machines can’t brew a full pot of tea, their steaming ability lets you craft delicious specialty tea drinks. You can make chai, matcha and herbal lattes with the right concentrates and technique.

Other Tips for Brewing Tea in Coffee Makers

If you want to use your coffee equipment for quality tea here are some additional pointers:

  • Wash Removable Parts – Coffee residue can affect flavor. Always clean filter baskets, carafes etc. before tea brewing.
  • Stick to Black Tea – Floral, herbal or green teas are more delicate. Bold black teas like English Breakfast hold up better.
  • Swap Out Filters – Tea particles can clog paper filters. Use reusable ones for proper water flow.
  • Watch the Time – Don’t oversteep or tea gets bitter. Adjust machine brew cycles or steep yourself.
  • Adjust Water Amount – Program more water for tea as it needs a higher ratio than coffee.
  • Cool Before Drinking – Allow tea to come down to optimal sipping temperature after hot brewing.

Should You Buy a Coffee-Tea Combo Machine?

There are also specialty appliances designed to brew both coffee and tea! These combo machines have separate filters, temperature/time settings and carafes for each beverage.

Dual coffee and tea makers like the Sboly Dual Coffee and Tea Machine or the Ninja Specialty with Hot and Iced Brew Systems simplify making two hot beverages from one countertop appliance.

The benefit of an all-in-one machine is convenience – no adjustments needed to switch between coffee and tea modes. However, combo models also take up more space and tend to cost more.

Essentially, whether your current coffee equipment can pull double duty comes down to its features and your preferred brewing method. With a little creativity, you can likely enjoy both home-brewed java and quality tea from appliances you already own.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a coffee purist, a tea devotee or simply enjoy variety, modern coffee machines and brewing methods provide a range of options for crafting your preferred hot beverages. Experiment with different techniques, equipment and tea/coffee ratios to find what suits your taste buds best. From traditional drip machines to sophisticated espresso makers, with a little know-how and the right approach, you can delight in both coffee and tea without sacrificing flavor or convenience.

Kitchen Deals 4U is an excellent resource for reliable small appliance, cookware, and tool recommendations. Their experts provide not only product reviews but also culinary knowledge, including meal prepping tips and organization hacks.