Review: The ingenuiTEA Tea Infuser

In 2005, I switched my primary source of caffeine from coffee to green tea. I made this change because I wanted to reduce the amount of caffeine I was taking in every day without eliminating it entirely. I also didn’t want to give up starting the day with a nice hot beverage. Tea seemed like the answer, and green tea has been rumored provide have some potential health benefits.

The green tea I found at the local grocery was easy to prepare, and the caffeine release was slower and more mellow, just what I wanted. But the taste wasn’t great, and I knew I could find something better. That’s when I recalled my previous experiences with good teas in the past — the leaves had always been loose, steeping inside of a special device or filter.

High quality loose leaf tea — like the kind sold by Damn Fine Tea and Adagio (still my main supplier of loose-leaf tea) — is a night-and-day difference from even a higher-quality tea bag, and although it’s a little bit more expensive, it’s well worth the cost.

Once you have some loose leaf tea, you need to prepare it.

The Infuser

Although the traditional method used to prepare Chinese or Japanese tea is elaborate and requires a high level of skill and practice to get right, it’s easy to make a nice cup at home, so long as you’re using good leaves, the right temperature water (more on that later) and have the right vessel to steep it in.

Enter the ingenuiTEA. Although it might not be the traditional way to prepare tea, it produces great results every time with minimal preparation and little clean-up. It’s made from super-hard plastic, and features an attached handle and removable lid. Inside is a filter which is removable for cleaning. But the real magic is in the bottom of the infuser. When you set it on top of your favorite mug, the pressure opens a channel for the water to flow out of the infuser and right into the cup. Here’s a video so you can see what I’m talking about.

When you’re done, you just dump the used tea into the trash, down the disposal, or into your compost heap, and you’re ready to make the next cup.

Traditional tea preparation

A Note About Temperature

The temperature of the water used to make tea is very important. Too hot and you’ll get bitter swill, too cold and the tea won’t release its full flavor.

When I first started making this kind of tea, I’d boil the water in an old tea kettle on the stove, and then let it cool down to 160°, measuring with a digital thermometer. This quickly became tedious, so I purchased a tea kettle that allows you to set the temperature the water will heat to for perfect brewing each time. Adagio makes one of these as well. Having one is convenient, but not mandatory if you’re willing to use a thermometer … or you can use the microwave. Just fill the ingenuiTEA with water and pop it into a microwave (it’s safe). Note how long it takes to get the water to 160° and you’re set.

Next Steps

I’ve been using the same ingenuiTEA to prepare my green tea several times a day for about 4 years now, and it’s still working great. During that time, I’ve run the circuit of teas and believe me, there are a whole lot of them to try. My current everyday tea is Adagio’s Sencha, an affordable Japanese tea. A few other places to try include Peet’s, Teas, Etc., Damn Fine Teas, and the amazing Silk Road Teas.

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