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VeryPisces said

Alternative to metal tea balls?

I have yet to find the perfect method to drink tea at work. I’ve tried making tea bags at home, but find it rather messy and wasteful (of paper). I’ve tried multiple mesh tea balls, but I believe they are getting rusty, which worries me.

I’ve tried a ceramic strainer that fits in a mug, but then I have to dump the wet leaves somewhere and haven’t figured out an easy or graceful way to do it (my job is in Cubicle Hell where we are timed for EVERYTHING so the more efficient the method, the better). I’ve been eyeing ceramic tea balls, but I’m afraid I’ll break them in transit to work, and at $20 a pop, they seem pretty expensive.

What do you do at your jobs? And what alternatives are there to the dreaded metal tea ball for the workspace?

35 Replies

Grab a plastic bag and put the ceramic strainer w/ tea leaves in there; then you can re-use them (maybe), but either way, you save time at work.

I bring a tupperware container and put my strainer with the leaves and all inside and close the lid up. I can brew them again if I like or just toss them later if I decide not to.

Uniquity said

I have a Perfect Tea Mug from Davids Tea – the mug has a metal infuser which can rest in the lid when done steeping. Once my tea has all been drank, I put it all back together until I re-steep or wash it out. Easy peasey! They come in different colours and prints, I have one clear glass one and another blue ceramin with birds. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you could simply get a metal infuser designed to fit in mugs, many teashops carry them.

VeryPisces said

I like this idea as well. I have a new mug with a ceramic infuser that I could try that with. Teas amenable to multiple infusions would work great in my work environment, and I have a few of those. Thanks!

NikkiNikki said

Can you use the infuser that comes with it in other mugs as well? Or does it only fit in the Perfect Tea Mug?

Uniquity said

It fits in any mug with a wide enough mouth (most mugs). It’s pretty sweet. :)

Katiek said

Could you also use the disposable tea bags that you can fill with your own loose leaf tea?

VeryPisces said

That’s what I used to do, but I felt bad about tossing out all that paper and having to buy refills.

Kittenna said

Instead of making tea bags at home with disposable materials, have you thought about making re-usable tea bags from a mesh sort of cloth or something? I picked up a set of cloth steeping backs a couple weeks ago and have successfully used one to brew a couple different teas. The only caveat to this is that if you drink teas with ingredients such as chocolate chips/sparkly balls that actually need their ingredients to get into the brew, this method doesn’t work so well (but that would be true with paper teabags too). I don’t know what the general Steepster opinion is as to such things, but I felt like cloth bags were a good solution for me. The downside is washing them, though, and you probably wouldn’t want to brew different tea types from the same bag in case flavours carried over…

VeryPisces said

I have never seen cloth tea bags although I have seen spice bags- it’s the same idea. They’d probably look cute, too. :-)

As a solution to the cubicle hell timing thing… can I recommend this: http://www.amazon.com/Primula-Flowering-Half-Moon-40-Ounce-Black/dp/B002T1TUHC/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1331943599&sr=8-4.

It’s not fancy, but it infuses 40 oz of tea at once (with a little steel mesh strainer that sits in the top). You still have to take out the mesh thing and dispose of the leaves, but significantly less often. I actually take mine out and set it in a spare cup to await a second steeping, but if you’re not a multi-steeper, you can still sit it out until you’ve got a break or lunch to deal with it.

There’s some mixed reviews on it, but I can tell you I much prefer it to the glass Grosche one we’re using now. So I have it at work, in my cubicle :)

VeryPisces said

How do you keep the tea warm? Is it well insulated? Do you think one of those mug warming electric things would work with something like this?

It’s not insulated super well, but it does stay warm for what I would consider longer than ‘normal’ due to the plastic casing around half of it (the same reason a lot of people don’t like it, mind you). However, I’m not good at having tea “hot”. I actually need it to cool down considerably before I can even start drinking it. At home, I have a big wide cappuccino style cup so the tea has a wider surface area to cool :). So, my concept of warm tea is probably cooler than most.

The very bottom of the glass is flat and exposed, so it should sit on a large-enough-sized electric warmer just fine. In my head though, most of the electric warmers I have seen are designed to fit the standard 12-oz coffee cup, and I don’t believe that would work here.

Pithy said

tea leaves + tall glass + hot water

If you use nice enough leaves they can sit in the hot water without getting bitter and you can keep adding water until it loses flavor. The simplest way to drink tea at work, hands down.

VeryPisces said

I was considering this today. The dragon pearls black tea I got from Adagio don’t seem to turn bitter, and they sit nicely at the bottom of my mug. Also, Dragonwell green tea seems suited to this as well. I will definitely give this a try.

Take some sort of empty tupperware container to work, use disposable filters (you can buy ‘em too – curious to know what you’re making your own out of?) and put the used filterbags in the container. At the end of the day, take the filterbags home and compost ’em!

VeryPisces said

Composting those tea bags is a great idea- although I live in the mojave desert region so I’ll have to be creative in finding uses for the compost!

VeryPisces said

These are all great ideas- now I feel like I worried for nothing! Thanks, everyone!

Uniquity said

Tea drinkers gotta drink! : )

I actually just bought one of these from Amazon:


In case the link doesn’t work, it’s a Finum brewing basket. It has a really fine ‘gold screen’ mesh, reinforced with a rubbery-plastic skeleton. It’s fantastic. I’m going to have to try it out on my Spicy Seattle Chai to see if it filters out all of the tiny little pepper particles, but I’ve got high hopes. Would totally recommend it (especially at $10, woo hoo!)

VeryPisces said

I’ve used those for coffee. Looks like it would be great idea for teas that leave particles in the water. I had mate today and ended up drinking all the little floaters, there were so many.

It actually works better than I had thought it would.

The genius of the design on this is that the ‘cap’ is also a base. The little black cap comes off, and then you set the basket (full of wet leaves) on top of it. Viola, no mess! Deal with it later, or resteep!

And not a single particle gets through.

VeryPisces said

I just bought one.

Barb said

i have one of these, too. It’s such fine mesh that it works well for every kind of tea/tisane I’ve put in it, and it’s surprisingly easy to clean.

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