Popular Teas from TeawareSee All 51 Teas
Popular Teaware from TeawareSee All
Recent Tasting Notes
Hello all, it is time for another Tea Gear Review! excited cheering from the audience yes yes, I know these are exciting because we tea drinkers tend to ogle and hoard gear as much as we do tea. Possibly even much so since the tea gear is what brings us our delicious cups of liquid happiness. Today we are looking at the Shudei Kyusu from Den’s Tea, yes the one that I babble about periodically.
Backstory time! I first ran into the concept of the Kyusu (or Kyuusu) when I was in high school and going through that ‘obsessed with Japan and Anime’ phase (not that I have left that phase, it just has been nerfed a bit) and studying Chado and their tea culture. I was able to find a Tetsubin pretty easily but I never saw a Kyusu outside of books and online. Of course the prices online were intensely high and I am in the mindset of ‘when I buy a new piece of equipment, don’t spend too much money on it because chances are you will break it.’ I wanted a practice piece, and while browsing I found this beauty and its lovely price.
This Kyusu is made from Shudei, or red clay which has a higher level of iron oxide (and reminds me of the clay I would play with growing up in Georgia) which gives it a lovely color. There is a mostly convenient built in metal sieve for filtering out the leaves that try to escape. I say mostly convenient because being built in means it can be a real pain to clean.
I have used it quite a few times since I bought it back in late September and each time has been a treat. The size is optimal for two cups, but since I am the only one in the house that likes Japanese Green tea I usually only fill it up halfway. I like having the option of more servings should the opportunity arise. My favorite aspect of the kyusu is holding it, the handle is the perfect size for my grip and it just feels good pouring the tea.
I have noticed that it is not retaining any tea aromas or flavors (unlike Yixing) but judging by the sheen I am pretty sure this teapot has been given a glaze making it safe to use with multiple teas. Not that I am going to use it for anything other than my various Japanese greens. I am very happy with my Kyusu (it needs a name…I like naming my teapots, suggestions?) and I actually feel I do not need a fancy expensive one for my collection.
For blog and photos (and a few helpful links!) http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2013/11/dens-tea-shudei-kyusu-tea-gear-review.html
This is a good tea “ball”. It is just a tad smaller than an open top steeper, so there is room for the tea to move around. The only complaint would be that it has larger holes on the top of the “ball”, so smaller teas/debris escapes easily. However, this is great for using in my favorite tea pot because if I stand it up like in the picture (it has three little pegs on the bottom so you can stand it up), I am able to fit it in my teapot perfectly. It fits so that the water stops at about the line near the top. It was like it was made for my teapot! (p.s. the teapot I am talking about is the James Sadler Teapots – Tower of London Heritage. This makes clean up way easier on me than just straining the tea.
So, overall: This has its flaws and is a tad overpriced for the product, but it worked in my situation perfectly. I would only use this for smaller/medium tea pots or single cups. I would also avoid small leaf teas with this product.
I Had to drop my rating down, after about 9 months my kettle up and died. The little readout still works but it won’t heat up my water anymore. Maybe I used it too much and it exceeded its lifespan…live fast and yard and die young.
I am so bummed about this, since this is pretty much the cheapest variable kettle on the market (with the ability to set and know the temperature) I am probably just going to get another one since it is all I can afford. And of course this happened when I have a million teas to review on my blog, thanks tea kettle…no really, you were awesome…but why did you have to die?
Lets be honest, I drink a lot of tea and I am also antisocial. What does that have to do with anything, well I live in a house with other people and there are long periods of time where I don’t want to have to go to the kitchen because it almost always means interacting. The kitchen was where my stove was and if I wanted tea I had to submit to being around people. This became even more of a problem when I became a full blown tea blogger since I needed access to the kitchen more.
Luckily I have an awesome mom who got this beauty for me as an early birthday gift so I can have tea in my room. Also she knew my lament at having to use the ‘Chinese water boiling technique’ instead of having temperature control, it was a perfect gift. This kettle does a wonderful job of heating water to the desired temperature, even my most finicky greens come out perfectly. There are no weird tastes from the kettle that taint the water. There is also a function to have it turn on at a specific time so you can wake up to water ready for tea, I have not used this function yet but the idea is pretty awesome.
I have only had it about a month so I cannot really speak to durability, but I do use it multiple times a day, switching between temperatures, and using it at various water levels and it is still going strong.
Complaints? It is loud! I find the roar of the water heating up comforting because it means tea, but it has woken my boyfriend up a few times during my nocturnal tea drinking times. Also the noise terrifies my cats though they are getting used to it! The cord is pretty short, easily fixed with an extension cord.
I seriously love Libre. My first bookkeeping job was with Libre Tea and having seen some of the inner workings only makes me love it more. The owner of the company is one of the reasons I’ve fallen so hard for tea. I’d go up to the office and she’d bring me some loose leaf peppermint tea in one of these beautiful little Libre glasses and it made learning the ins and outs of the job all the more enjoyable.
Now that the rest of my family is catching up with tea, all of them are getting more use out of their Libre glasses. As someone who doesn’t like to oversteep tea even a little bit, I haven’t tried putting the leaves in the bottom of the glass and drinking through the strainer. I prefer just to steep and remove. But this glass is perfect for that. Minimal leakage, very hardy(I’m a dropper, I can’t help myself) and I’ve had no problems with my tea not being warm. I will always recommend this glass and this company!
it’s so pretty, so pretty. I want to love it, I do love it, but it’s got flaws.
Pros: SO PRETTY, especially with a gorgeous loose tea floating in there, i get a lot of people asking about it, it’s really almost a tea fashion accessory.
Love the size, and the fact that the inner is glass.
Mine was defective and the company sent a replacement which is working like a hot damn! This is with me at ALL times so I’m happy to have it without having a matching coloured tea stained shirt! Thank you Libre!
Canadian company is a huge pro, as is the holographic lid of gorgeousness. REALLY love the look of it.
Cons: Doesn’t keep tea hot for very long
expensive. I hummed and hawed over this for 2 years before buying it finally, I default to it only if I’m drinking something pretty. I’m shallow.
So I dropped by the Water Tower Place Teavana in Chicago to pick up some teaware. I’ll just be honest – I’ve never tried a Teavana tea that I’ve loved; I find them mostly plain and bland and poorly executed, and it’s vile how much sugar they put in the brewed samples they offer in-store.
Their teaware, though, is a whole other story. I think they carry beautiful tins and nice utensils and I’m all for going to Teavana just for that. I needed some filters, as I wanted to drink loose tea on my flight, and my thermos needed a proper wash before getting used again. Surprisingly, Teavana were about $2 cheaper for the same number of filters than every other store I came across, including grocery stores.
As for the function – they’re filters. Bags that filter tea. In water. They work just fine and predictably manage to do their job. No funny business.
Speaking of funny business, though, corporate culture doesn’t seem to have changed a lot since Teavana were acquired by Starbucks. I was still hounded by one of the salespeople in-shop who insisted that I try the samples.
‘Would you like a sample?’
‘No, but thanks anyway.’
‘Of course you want a sample!’
‘No, not really.’
‘But it’s amazing!’
‘Has sugar been added to the sample?’
‘No, not at all!’
‘Sorry, let me rephrase that – has any kind of sweetener been added to the sample?’
‘Well… yeah, but…’
And so on.
Hilarity ensued, of course, when there were ALL THESE TEAS that I just HAD TO BUY, and I was all, ‘Oh, but I don’t like your teas. I’m here for teaware!’. What do you even say to that? I felt like the most evil customer ever, but I swear I was really very nice and smiley about the whole thing, even as the salesperson got progressively more aggressive and rude.
Then upon checking out, I was told that these filters were ‘Pretty impractical’ (Whoa! Reverse sales technique! Mind blown!), and that the salesperson swore by this new thing.
‘Oh, but I already have your travel thermoses. They’re great.’ (But they could be easier to wash so I didn’t have to buy pretty impractical filters. )
‘This is much better, let me show you!’
And she showed me this: http://www.teavana.com/tea-gift-center/tea-gift-sets/p/tea-voyager-travel-kit which I do like a lot and have considered buying, but after researching it, I knew it wouldn’t meet my standards.
’It’s a full travel kit!’
‘Yeah, I absolutely love that, I looked at it online, and I would have bought it if the holes in the infuser had been smaller.’
‘Oh, but that’s not a problem at all! I have this product myself and that’s not an issue in any way.’
‘Yeah, but if you go read the reviews on the Teavana website, you’ll note that that’s THE MAIN COMPLAINT concerning this product.’
At this point the salesperson just stopped talking directly to me altogether.
I’m all for a hard sale, and with nice execution it can be a fun time for all. But incompetent salespeople who first talk down the product you want to buy (and which is absolutely fine – don’t cry, little filters, you’re quite adequate) all the while trying to push a product that’s obviously flawed without having the first clue about the criticism raised against said flaw..? Meh. Amateur hour.
Bought two; one for work, one for home. Needed a better way of guesstimating the water temp for tea brewing.
Negatives: Cord is too short.
Loud, very loud for an intimate office.
Positives: What a deal. Easy set up. One hour of keeping the water at set temp. No burnt leaves in my teapot.
Overall: Great buy, been using for about a month now daily with no problems in functionality. Now if only it had a muffler.
I am not sure if I should change my rating for this or not. On the one hand, it broke…not sure why or how but the seal between the two layers broke and I ended up with a tea infuser with no outer wall, and a large plastic mug. Both not so good for hot tea because it no longer keeps my fingers from getting burned.
When this was a functioning travel mug it was great (except for the leaking part) now it is kinda useless as a tea infuser mug. I use it as a large cup to drink my matcha lattes out of and occasional for cold steeping. Luckily I was planning on getting a leak-proof travel mug, maybe it heard me talking about my plans and broke out of shame?
Ah well, it was a good little friend while it lasted.
This infuser is probably the most useful thing in my tea tool arsenal, it beats out all my fancy tea baskets, cups, pots, and spoons…why, you may ask? Because it is extremely versatile!
The double walled plastic allows for the tea to remain hot for quite a while and it keeps your hands from also becoming hot, a huge plus. It is one of the most frustrating things to be out and about and stop at a tea shop for a cup on the go and even when those cups have little jackets I still find them too hot. This mug is insulated! I get to have one of those adorable crocheted jackets for aesthetics for once.
Another of this infuser’s HUGE selling points is its adorable flipping basket. There is something really entertaining about flipping the basket down into the hot water, watching it steep, and then flipping the basket back up until needed again. I wish that the basket could drop lower, because the tea sometimes does not reach the bottom unless you vigorously flip the basket a few times to stir it up.
I was warned in advance that this infuser leaks (it says it on the label) so as long as it is kept up right then there is no problem. Sure at times I wish this was a ‘toss in your purse and drink later’ kinda mug, but I worry things would be lost in the process (like the precious basket!!)
I have had this lovely mug for over a year and I have not noticed any staining or weird smells, so I continue to love it. I have microwaved the mug a few times and noticed it performs just as well as when I use stove heated water.
I have a Russell Hobbs kettle with tea pot and warming tray in my living room. It is plastic but works fine. When I recently set up a second station in my den I tried using a one cup drip coffee maker. It worked but it was slow and I don’t like waiting for the water to cool for green and white tea. I started to buy an inexpensive and very basic but mostly stainless kettle when I spotted this at Walmart. I am having a blast with this thing.
First the negatives:
It is 1.7L. I wanted smaller but those don’t exist in the land of super-size.
The lid is plastic as is the small viewing window. Neither of these bothers me as I only heat 12oz or less at a time so the water never hits the window anyway.
The cord is too short. You have to use a heavy duty extension cord if you aren’t on a kitchen counter with an outlet at the kettle.
Now the positives:
I did not pay $200 or even $100. It was only $40.
It heats very quickly and then holds the water temp for 1 hour unless you stop it.
There are five preset temps – it holds the last setting used in memory.
It easily can be custom set between 150F and 212F. (Can be switched to read C)
I haven’t had it long so I can’t speak on the durability. It feels solid. It heats the water just like it is supposed to do. I detected no off odor or taste to the water. The price is very reasonable. Honestly, I don’t know what else I would want from a $40 kettle – except contain no plastic and be only 16 ounces. Since that is not going to happen, this will do nicely.
I received this today and will rate later after I have spent some time with it. The only bottle I had was a Balance MIND Wild-Harvested Flower Essence Spring Water – Bottle…it didn’t fit exactly so water did drip…but not that it’s the products fault as it does come with size/fitted suggestions and this was an odd sized water bottle and design.
I’m almost finished cold brewing something else and this time I AM using a Dasani Water Bottle which was 1 of 3 bottles that was suggested in my information packet!
First impressions follow.
Since this came today, I decided to try it out with some Dragonwell. I heated up water, and poured it in. A bit went through to the other side while I put the lid on. I started shaking it. It feels a bit ridiculous, and at the same time it seems like there is no way this is going to make anything but slightly tea tasting water. But it definitely made me a good cup of tea. It’s not oversteeped, it’s not too light. Granted I should have probably used a tea I’ve had before so I can really check, but not bad.
I just wish I had better English instructions (it has a little card in Chinese in it and that’s it). I’m going to send them an email asking about how much tea should be used per each cup.
I’ve been told 8g is good, the tea should fill the top part when it’s expanded, so it’s basically more like a gaiwan than anything.
Other bits: The strainer will let in small bits but so few strainers avoid that anyway.
The caps get hot while shaking, but the body of the shaker isn’t too bad. Granted, I also have a high tolerance for heat when it comes to the palms of my hands, so I am not the best person to go by on this.
All in all, I can’t wait to travel with this. I’m thinking it just changed my mind about going on a trip, and I will go after all (okay, it was also that there may be a growler of beer just for me up there). Definitely easier to throw in a bag than anything else I have, so we’ll see how it works over the weekend for me! It might limit my tea options (tisanes are totally out of the question with this, I’d think) but it’s so pretty and intriguing and awesome that that is okay!
I got this yesterday as a Mothers Day present from the husband. It was smaller than I had expected and yields only around 3oz of tea once the leaf has unfurled (I did brew a Tieguanyin which is known for its expanding nature). The tea cups are tiny and I figured out very quickly that I would not be drinking out of them as I did not like the feel of them on my lips and the taste they added to the tea (yes I have drank from yixing cups before and that was enjoyable). Brewing yesterday was a bit of trial an error, my fingers got a bit burnt and I had to cut back on leaf and water but I eventually got some pretty good gongfu going last night. I had three sessions this morning before deciding to switch my leaf to the excess I had pulled out to dry last night. I rinsed the gaiwan with warm water but apparently not for long enough as when the water I had brought up to 200 degree hit the side of the gaiwan I heard a horrible pop and watched helplessly as my tea leaked onto the counter. Now I do mostly blame myself for this, but I will not be reordering this or another yixing clay porcalain lined gaiwan. For as striking as they may be, I honestly had a wierd feeling yesterday when I pulled this out of the package that it was frail and brittle, paper thin but not strong like bone china. The husband has graciously offered to order me another gaiwan, I will be selecting more carefully this time and am open to suggestions. I am just grateful that this was only $16 for the set and that the crack did not split the form, so it can sit on top of the tea hutch with its three thimble cups next to my bulky sage green dragon and phoenix yixing pot and cups, yep I’m a sucker for raised dragons. Sigh.
Best tea tumbler I’ve ever used. The basket has tiny holes instead of being a mesh, so I’m unlikely to break it and only the tiniest bit of tea particles get through. I love that you can flip it to stop the steeping, and you don’t have to take out the basket to drink it. Not so good for use when driving, but fantastic for drinking out and about.
Technically this was made for coffee but it is my tea brewing vessel of choice. I found this at Starbucks. It currently sells for $16.95. The carafe is borosilicate glass. The frame is 30% post consumer plastic. The plunger and filter screen parts are stainless. The 4 cup version holds up to 17oz (503ml). I generally fix a single cup at a time.
To use, the loose leaf is put in the carafe. Water is heated in a separate kettle and poured into the carafe. The lid/plunger assembly is placed on top the carafe with the plunger in the up position. The leaf is free to move about. When the steeping time is done the plunger can be pushed down or left up and the tea poured into the cup without the leaf escaping.
Clean up is as simple as removing the lid, turning the carafe upside down over a compost bowl and wiping with a paper towel. Since it is glass it does not absorb any of the flavor of the tea so a simple rinse is usually sufficient. Honestly, most of the time wiping with the towel gets it clean enough. It is dishwasher safe. Occasionally I dismantle the stainless filter assembly for a more thorough cleaning.
This is excellent especially for green and white teas where holding the heat in is not as important. It has the added advantage of allowing you to observe the dance of the leaf during steeping. To me if you can’t watch the leaf you are missing an important part of the experience.
I also use it for black, puerh, and oolongs. Puerh generally uses such short steep times that heat dissipation is not an issue. For teas that require long steep times of several minutes, you may prefer another method but I personally have never found heat dissipation to be a problem. Rooibos and very fine leaf is better served with a Finum basket.If you push the plunger down after steeping, it does not actually press the leaf. There is a good half inch of space between the screen and the bottom of the carafe. If you don’t push the plunger down, you will need to put a finger over the lid to keep it from sliding and causing some spilling.
I chose the press over a gravity feed system (like IngenuiTEA) because this was glass, not plastic, and it was cheaper. I also was concerned any device that pours tea out the bottom might eventually leak.
I got this as a present from someone who knows I love tea! I washed it up and brought it to work today to try out. It doesn’t seem like it holds very much, but I appreciate the mesh tea strainer. I’m drinking some Oolong from Verdant this morning. The tea strainer is easy to use, although I wish I had a place to put it until it’s time to steep again.
I accidentally screwed on the lid wrong and tea dripped out and burned my arm. Make sure you screw it on carefully and look to make sure it’s straight across. If it’s tilted even a little it will leak as you try to drink.
Okay, the arm-burning aside, I like this! It has kept my tea warm for hours. HOURS! This is even with the lid that has openings to drink — not the screw-on one. I think it seemed like it didn’t hold much because it has some serious insulation in there. It really works! Usually my tea is ice cold by this time of the morning. YUM, hot tea! The person that gave this to me was right on the money.
As far as portable infusers go, this is by far the most superior one in my humble opinion. The sole reason for this is not the aesthetic, nor the BPA-free plastic and what have you. It is for the sole reason that the little strainer can, with the switch of a lever, be taken out of the water at will and thus you have nearly full control over the steeping time.
This is key to any tea epicurean, not so? Even the finest Yi-xing clay tumbler has nothing on this piece of plastic for this one reason. None of the portable glass presses that I’ve seen, or any other tea traveler, mug or tumbler has this option. All except this one, will leave the leaves in the water until you empty the tumbler – this is a fatal shortcoming.
All other qualities are touched on in the other review. I’ve had mine for 6 months and have had no problems with it. Water stays very warm, never spilled in my bag etc. I’ve dropped it x times to many though, far too many, and it’s not as pretty as it used to be – but it steeps as well as ever.