This model became available just before Christmas 2004 and we were soon hooked. The TEA:am retailed between £49.99 and £59.99, came with a 2 year guarantee and was manufactured in China.
The press release read:
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE TEA (OR COFFEE) WITH THE STYLISH NEW TEA:am
Waking up to a hot tea or coffee is a great way to start the day, but who is going to get up first and make it? Bring an end to morning bickering with the new TEA:am hot drinks maker from Morphy Richards. Bringing the traditional teasmade into the 21st century, this versatile appliance incorporates a radio alarm clock, which alerts you that 2 cups of tea or coffee are ready, so you can cherish a few extra moments in bed!
The trendy TEA:am comes in a stylish silver, curved finish and is compact enough to fit on your bedside table. Its clever “quick brew” technology means that hot drinks are automatically dispensed straight into the stainless steel cups, so you don’t have to lift a finger! TEA:am features a 2 band FM/AM radio alarm or buzzer if preferred, an integral quick start guide for easy set up, backlit 24 hour clock, removable drip tray and includes two stainless steel cups.
The Tea:am offered many of the features which teasmade enthusiasts most appreciate. The main drawback for some was the appearance, which was futuristic, and unfortunately a bit ‘plasticky’. A lot of teasmade users prefer a more traditional look, so it was a great compromise when the Tea:am eventually became available in white.
The Tea:am incorporates a 2 band FM/AM radio alarm clock which will wake you with your choice of buzzer only, radio only, buzzer and tea or radio and tea. You can even set the buzzer or radio to wake you up and then press the ‘tea now’ button later on when you are ready. Better still, you can set the alarm for weekdays only!
You can press a button to make tea at any time, and turn the radio on and off independently, neither of which will affect the alarm settings.
There are two baskets under the lid for tea or coffee – you can put tea in one side and coffee in the other if you want! You don’t need much tea – we found that putting a teabag in each basket was too strong for our tastes, so we use half a teaspoon of loose tea in each basket.
As with any automatic tea maker there is a certain amount of operating noise. The water begins to boil immediately, and the “quick brew” technology results in a sound rather like a dragon snoring (grrrrrrrrrrrrrr -trickle -grrrrrrrrrrrrrr -trickle -grrrrrrrrrrrrrr -trickle). It really does seem very quick. When the cups are full the tea maker clicks off, but after this the tea maker may still emit one or two loud sighs like the rumble of a distant thunderstorm. These unexpected noises make us giggle, but I suppose they could frighten the uninitiated and cause someone to spill their tea in shock!
The stainless steel cups are not to everyone’s taste, and are quite small. The Tea:am cannot boil more water than this, so if you like a huge mug, or more than one cup, this tea maker is not for you. It is possible to replace the stainless steel cups with small china cups, but these must be made from quite heavy china. If they are not heavy enough a failsafe mechanism will not allow the tea maker to boil. I found a suitable pair in Woolworths, so it is easy enough to find some that will work.
A useful feature is the integral quick start guide which slides out from the base of the tea maker to help you to set it up for the first time, and to remind you of its functions thereafter.
To set the Tea:am up as an alarm clock you will need to set the clock and alarm times, select the alarm type, and tune in the radio. Thereafter, each evening you will rinse out and replace the baskets, fill the water reservoir under the lid, and add tea or coffee as required. Finally you will put the cups in position. You can put sugar or milk in the cups at this stage, or add them in the morning after brewing if you prefer.
A common ‘fault’
I have had several reports of ‘faulty’ units which would not boil. If this happens to you please make sure that the silver metal drip tray is properly seated under all its lugs and that it can click a switch when you press it down. By repositioning the drip plate the problem is solved!
Sadly the Tea:am suffered from supply and quality issues, and eventually Morphy Richards decided they would not continue with it. After this availability became increasingly patchy. Morphy Richards said they would be looking at a replacement product but none appeared. By June 2007 there were very few units available in the UK. Morphy Richards announced that they would no longer honour their 2 year Guarantee as they could no longer replace faulty models on a like for like basis. They said they would refer buyers back to the retailer for a replacement if available. If the retailer couldn’t help, Morphy Richards would consider replacing the Tea:am with goods of a similar type and value, but they would not offer credit or vouchers.