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Instant Hot water Dispenser

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I sick of boiling water everytime I want tea (which is a lot these days). We been going through a lot of tea lately. So a friend suggesteding getting one of those instant hot water dispensers. They hold about 3 liters and are made by brands like Zojirushi and National. It seem like every chinease household I've been in has one.

What are people's experiences with them? Are they worth the $100 price tag? Which one do you recommend and where can I get the best prices? Any insight would be appreciated.

I'm also going to go from bag to loose leaf teas. What is your favorite on-line source for teas? Price is a consideration for me.

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I'm not Chinese, but I love my Zoji - the only thing I'm not crazy about is its large size - I was only able to find the 3L size locally when I was looking around. But it keeps water at 140 or 205 for as long as I want to keep it plugged in. I've been known to keep the same water in for a few days running, unplugging it when I'm not making tea, with no ill effect. It did take about ten or so fillings and keeping heated all day to rid it of a plastic taste to the water, but once that was taken care of, it hasn't come back. I know that it's available online - you can search for the lowest price - I just wanted mine NOW

I think newer models have three temps, with a 175 mid-range. That would be even better.

For your online vendors, try my favorites: SpecialTeas in Connecticut, Harney & sons in New York I think now, Capital Tea in Toronto, In PUrsuit of Tea, Rishi, TeaTrader in Calgary. Silk Road Teas in California doesn't have an online presence [there is a Silk Roads online, but it's not the one], but they're worth hunting out. David Hoffman is terrific.

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Mine came with my apartment. Almost all Japanese households (that I know) have one, and it gets used quite frequently. But not by me. I find it gives my hot water an odd flavour, so I avoid using it for anything but steeping ginger for ginger tea. Now you can bet after I'm done with it, it's really going to give hot water an odd flavour!

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It did take about ten or so fillings and keeping heated all day to rid it of a plastic taste to the water

Does this mean it uses a plastic lined holding tank or plastic tubing somewhere? I should think that for $100 they could just make it with a stainless steel tank and copper tubing.

But the very act of holding water that hot for any extended period of time creates hot water that differs in qualities from freshly boiled. You'll find that most savvy coffeehouses do not use the hot water from the espresso machine boiler for making tea - it's safe enough but yields tea that doesn't taste as good as hot water from other sources.

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I remember the hallway kitchenette in my dorm in Durham (in the UK) had something like this. It was attached to the wall and you just hit a button or something and it would dispense instant boiling hot water. Our maid (who cleaned our rooms everyday, even after we spent the previous night partying in our rooms) would use it to whip up a cup of Cadbury's Chocolate Break everyday after she was done, and sit around and talk to us about her caravan, dream of visiting American one day, etc. etc.

Of course, this being the UK, the sink below the hot water dispenser did not have a mixing tap. :rolleyes:

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In my childhood house, we used to have an extra tap in the sink that dispensed almost-boiling water (like 85C or something). I can't remember the brand name, but if you google "boiling water tap" you get some results.

I have seen those other appliances that you talked about, but IMO that's a waste of energy to constantly keep water at or close to 100C when you're only drawing from it, what, even every hour or so? I don't know the actual power draw of those units, but that is my gut feeling.

I also agree with phaelon56 - fresh cold water boiled is a different product than boiled "stale" water. So if quality is a consideration, and your kettle is inefficient, go buy a new super fancy one* for $50 and fill it only with enough water you need each time you make tea. Then it will only take a minute or two to boil the water each time.

*I have seen ones that change from blue to red when the water has boiled, very 50's-concept-of-the-future if you know what I mean.

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