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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
The coolest tea travel mug around! Just make sure you screw the caps on tightly! I love using this tea tumbler for cold steeps and iced tea, but it also does well with hot green and white teas.
I got this travel tumbler from http://zentealife.com/
The bad? It advises not to use boiling water in the instructions. You wouldn’t want to use anything more than 200F anyways as the body also gets pretty hot. The filter is also on the small side and is a tight fit if you use whole leaf teas intended to make a full 16oz tumbler of tea.
I still love this tumbler though – no leaks and it looks really cool!
Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/t-free-hourglass-travel-tea-tumbler-tea-ware-review/
With this bottle, the mesh is not immersed in the boiling water as with other infusers.
If you watch the videos online, they point out so many ways to use this wrong, making it sooooo easy to use. I make my tea, let it stand 5 minutes to let steam escape, put the lid on, throw the bottle in my bag, and I’m on my way. It might leak if you bump the lid, but it’s only drops.
I like the idea of the see-through infuser but I’m always afraid of breaking the glass ones and my Bodum tea press leaks through the top.
The Libre Tea bottle is perfect… now if only I could find it in a bigger size for road trips, etc.
I’ve been using this for about a month now and still use it everyday! Love it! I still wouldn’t tip it upside down to brew however…it leaks sometimes still. But as in a previous review by Hesper June I too have sometimes been brewing tea in it! Since I don’t have a gongfu teapot or a gaiwan, this seemed perfect (technically a bit big) for gongfu brewing but it does the job and I don’t spend more money:)
I bought the large mug specifically for Rooibos teas or herbals where you can leave the leaves brewing for an extended period of time. I love that the filter strains the Rooibos when I am drinking it. I have never had any problem with the rooibos passing through the filter. I have tried brewing the tea the alternate way (by putting it in the filter and tipping it upside down after the required cooling period) and have gotten occasional leaks. I contacted the company and they have been very helpful with hints etc and even offered to send me a new seal! I am still not sold on the inverting method of brewing the tea in this mug—by the time the hot water cools to the point that i can invert it my black tea doesn’t seem to brew nicely; however it is great for brewing my rooibos. I use the mug everyday!
The only gripe I have about this system is that the strainer doesn’t stay level in the cup. Yes, I know this is a minor gripe, but sometimes I’m a little bit compulsive, and you would think that a strainer/cup/lid designed for each other could fit together PERFECTLY. I also like to fill the cup up as high as possible. Since the strainer isn’t level, I often fill the cup just a hair too high for the low end of the strainer and get a few leaves floating over into my tea. Besides this minor MINOR complaint, I love it!
I ordered myself one of these after using my mother’s a couple times and really enjoying it. Annoyingly, even though I ordered a design with birds and magnolias, the cup I received was plain white. I wrote to Amazon to complain, and they did nothing, then wrote to Tea Forte and they sent me a replacement and said to keep the first cup. So, these are my current favorites to use, and I really enjoy having two to switch around and use during the day without having to constantly wash.
The cups keep tea nice and hot while it steeps, and the lids also help a lot. The strainer is fairly effective, and better than many I’ve tried at keeping small particles out of the liquor.
Full Review will be on http://sororiteasisters.com/ on the 12th. Its a lengthy review but here are the snippits for now:
I have mixed feelings about my Libre Tea Glass n Poly Original.
To begin, there is one strong point about this tea glass that I want to point out. I have no idea why it is not highlighted more on their site, perhaps it is and I have not found it, but it is one of the most breathtaking parts about this item so if I were selling them I would have it very easy to find on the site. The part I am talking about is the lid! (stunning photo will be included in the full review on http://sororiteasisters.com/ )
More on sipping: Maybe it is me, maybe I really do have a drinking problem, a tea drinking problem that is, but sometimes if I am not being mindful enough, when I take a sip there is a dribble, usually ending up on my shirt. I feel it has to do with the small sipping radius of the opening, and the threads where the lid screws on. The opening radius is small – my entire nose more or less has to go into the glass to get my lips around the opening. That makes it even more difficult to sip while the tea is still hot. No worries though that does not last too terribly long. Also due to the radius it is difficult to get enough of my mouth in the right place for proper sipping. Granted I may have a big mouth but it is something I have noticed. Due to it being a travel glass however I really don’t want the hassle of having to be all that mindful while sipping on the go. Ease of use could be far better.
Size: Yes it does matter. I got the original size Libre. Its a decent size. Fits my small hand perfectly. If I liked it more, if it retained heat better, I would probably also get a larger size for longer travels as I can sip a tea down in light speed. However I will pass on getting a larger one due to the issues I have with this one.
For me the downfall is I truly do not ENJOY sipping my tea out of the Libre Glass n Poly and tea should be enjoyable to sip.
I address heat retention and other issues as well so don’t miss the full review! :)
Tried mine for the first time today. Had some issues. I am not rating until I give it another go. Was not user error – I read the instructions – watched the video ….
Not thrilled but giving it more time and more usage.
Will do full review when I am not exhausted – plus need to go get the tea stains out of my pants from the earlier disaster.
Full review on http://sororiteasisters.com/ on the 7th but here are my snippits:\
The sifter comes with this scoop like tool that helps you push or drag the matcha along the screen to sift it.
Its easy to clean as well which for me is a HUGE plus!
The canister is quite large. I have sifted a full 60 grams of matcha and had plenty of room to spare.
I find it far more convenient than using what I had in the past which was just your basic kitchen strainer. I always made messes when using that and wasted some good matcha!
Please visit the blog to find out more!
I have had my Aladdin tea infuser mug for at least four years and I still love it. It is a double walled plastic thermos mug with and internal fine mesh basket in the lid that sits above the water line until you lower it. You fill the basket with your tea, fill the thermos to the fill line with hot water and when you are ready to lower the basket in the water or raise it, you use the lever on the outside of the lid to move the basket. You never have to open the mug to steep your tea. I read that it is microwave safe, but I have never put mine in the microwave. The lever mechanism has metal, so it would I’d microwave only the mug part.
I first bought one for my sister as a gift and a few months later purchased my own. When comparing notes with her, she complained that the infuser basket on hers would always fall down into the water. Mine clicks when put up and stays in place. I called the company to inquire about the difference and they offered to send a replacement! The new one was just like mine with a clicking sound when the basket is raised. I have read other reviews complaining about the falling basket and I’m guessing Aladdin was paying attention to it and fixed the issue in later models.
My experience with this mug has been fantastic. I do try to keep it upright and and not just toss it in a bag and I haven’t had any leaks. The inside of the mug has etched a little over years of use and slightly discolored, but it doesn’t seem to hold onto smell much. Pouring boiling water and baking soda resolves both those issues. The basket mesh is fine enough that I haven’t had any issues of smaller particles finding their way into my tea. My only complaint is that the basket is small for teas that need lots of room for expansion, but it would make the whole mug bulkier so it’s a trade off I can live with. With the double walled design, the mug keeps tea warm for a while. I find it irritating when I want to drink my tea sooner than later, but it’s better than the opposite problem and my tea is still warm if I forget it for a while.
Someone asked me how well it holds heat so I did an experiment. I poured boiling water in the mug and took the temperature every half hour. It was sitting inside my house (kept at 70F) and I opened the part of the lid that you sip through to stick the thermometer in, then closed it again when I got a temp. Here is what I got: @0m/188F, 30m/149F, 60m/130F, 90m/120F, 120m/109F, 150m/98F It won’t keep your tea warm all day, but it will be warm for a couple hours.
Overall I’m quite satisfied with this mug and I would happily buy it again if it eventually gave out.
Dear reader, I feared this was a gimmick. I can not resist gimmicks even when I identify them correctly and had been craving this for, like ever, and never been on stock or available from any place with reasonable shipping. Till now, when thanks to a friend who spotted the very last one (obrigada!) I got one of my very own! Would it live up to expectations?
By the way this is theoretically Yumchaa´s Magic tea Filter http://www.yumchaa.com/produkty/tea-making-equipment/38/ though the box says this is Magic II by Cha Cult and patented to them though it seems there are tons of different versions of this. It´s a sort of good-plastic mug with a good silicone filter at bottom. You put the tea in, pour the water and after steeping, place over a mug which is smaller in diameter than the bottom of this infuser, the pression at bottom makes the water pour from the bottom. Gimmick or not?
At first, without figuring out how to remove the filter or lid for easier cleaning I very much feared it was a gimmick. Fun but so not easy to clean up. What would be the point of something much more difficult to clean than a regular teapot if it does not brew better than a regular teapot? But then I figured out how to remove the filter and lid for easier rinsing and cleaning, and OK that changes everything. Particularly for rooibos teas or for multiple steeps of the same tea – it really is more convenient while not being any more difficult to clean. I love seeing how the leaves expanded and opened during the infusion. I am pretty happy with it so far!
As drawbacks, well, you got to let the tea leaves cool a bit before removing them to clean the filter – I surprisingly more difficult to remember this than you would think. And for some reason this little .5 liter pot and the transparency of the pot I keep misjudging how much leaf to use – I suspect it will come with practice. But in all, more than a gimmick, a very nice well thought tool I am glad I got. BUT and there is a but, while really very convenient for a few brews (multiple steeps, rooibos), I am not sure this makes better tea than any old regular teapot with loose tea and a strainer.