The closest the Americans ever got to embracing the teasmade was the Mrs Tea tea maker HTM1. Health-o-meter, owners of Mr Coffee, introduced Mrs Tea in 1995. The first products shipped in September 1995. The full advertising campaign began in November to tie in with the Christmas shopping season, with advertising in print media and highbrow TV.
According to Mr Coffee’s British born CEO Peter Howell, Mrs Tea, and her name, was the inspiration of an outside inventor and product designer who sought a catchy product name that would be easily identifiable in advertising and promotion. Howell explained that advertising for the product was designed with calm Victorian styling to evoke an emotional response that said “this is for me”.
Mrs Tea’s teapot is heated, so the tea doesn’t cool down after it is made. It works by infusing the tea in a reservoir above the teapot, preventing stewing once the tea is made. The infusion dribbles through a small adjustable hole into the teapot. However if the hole is set too small the tea backs up and overflows onto the floor. Although some of Mr Coffee’s coffee maker models feature alarm clocks, sadly the Mrs Tea, although otherwise automatic, requires an external timer.
Later in 1995 Health O Meter introduced the Mrs Tea For Two, a smaller model which brewed three cups and sold for $30.
In 1998, Health O Meter (by then known as Signature Brands) was purchased by Sunbeam, and some Sunbeam branded versions of Mrs Tea appeared. The model was also marketed by De’Longhi (the Italian brand) as the ‘TeaPot’.
Despite Health O Meter’s initial enthusiasm for the product, they dropped Mrs Tea in 1999. The Sunbeam HTM5 Tea Drop is the company’s more recent foray into the tea maker market.