Wednesday, December 25, 2013

David's Tea Perfect Tea Infuser Review: Part 1

One Mug + One Insulated Bottle + Two Boxes of Tea
Someone just started a tea project, bought a mug, bought an insulated bottle, and finally some tea bags. This was not a smooth journey unfortunately: the mug worked out great from the start, but the bottle leaked at the cap.

One Wet Backpack + Forty Nylon Tea Bags
This led to many wet backpack days. After realizing that the hot water was warping the cap, I managed to "fix" the leak by screwing the cap on tighter after letting it warm up. Having overcome such a great obstacle, only celebration in the form of new tea flavors was left in store. A few bucks later and all was quiet -- right up until Monday morning when I opened the first box and found out the bags were plastic. Research revealed that nylon tea bags started turning up a long while ago. Did I really go so far to find a nearly completely stainless steel water bottle and mug to dump plastic into it every morning?

= Ughhhhhh
Nope. All the tea I've purchased, in bulk at home and individually in public, has always been packaged in paper tea bags. Some of them had cotton strings, but not usually. Never before have I seen a plastic tea bag. To be honest, I was very impressed at first because the bag looked strange and awesome at the same time being such a novel thing -- no, I'm not a tea connoisseur.

Search for a Reusable Tea Infuser
I sucked it up with the first bag and just made tea with it. These 40 bags were a done deal and I wasn't going to trash them, so I wanted a stainless steel tea infuser to use with them. The plan was to rip the bags open and use an infuser to filter them. Plan B was to just dump the tea leaves in a cup and filter them with my teeth.

This took a lot longer than I thought. There were apparently tea balls with chains, cutesy tea balls, tea "spoons", and strainers for teapots. My first inclination was to get a tea ball, but it seemed like a matter of time before I'd be dunking my hand into the mug to fish the chain out -- done that enough times with cotton strings and tags. Something about all the mechanisms and joints on the tea spoon-type infusers that I didn't like, and reviews spoke of problematic joints over time. That left me with strainers, but they were teapots. It crossed my mind to get a teapot and I started searching for one. At some point, the idea of having to wash out a pot, an infuser, and the mug didn't sit well with me. And then I found a strainer for use directly in cups...

David's Perfect Infuser
David's Tea is a store that I had never been to. I had heard good things about it. The occasion to check it out never arose in the past as my tea needs were taken care of by Mr. Lipton and Tetley. Who would had thought that a specialty tea store would have good tea making tools?

To be honest, before I explored David's Tea, I found this guy: Norpro Tea Infuser and another similar style or two. It looked like they were just for proper teapots. The Norpro was not available locally, so I went looking and stumbled upon the David's Tea version.
David's Tea Perfect Infuser in use
At the time of writing, the infuser can be purchased with a mug for CAD$ 19.50 or alone for CAD$ 12.50. I chose the latter option at a local store. The one I picked up came in a small, cardboard box with the stainless steel infuser wrapped in a clear plastic bag, and the coaster/lid at the bottom. A rough measurement of the lid showed that the top lip, excluding the tongue that juts out, was about 3.5" in diameter. I actually had to verify this in the store using the width of my hand to make sure that it would fit on my mug.

The coaster was left in the box since I had no real use for it, and I washed the infuser before using. Nothing to it.

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