Moving from bagged tea to loose leaf means either a) drinking carefully as to not end up with a mouth full of leaves or b) having a (growing) collection of strainers, infusers, and other things to hold the tea leaves while steeping, and to remove them easily to drink.
The leaves need enough room to expand and still infuse with the hot water, so one of the gadgets I’ve tried is the Tuffy Steeper. (The link will take you to the Teaopia page where you can get one in blue, but I purchased mine at the Banff Tea Company, and I’ve seen them all over the place at other tea and coffee/gourmet food/kitchen gadget/etc shops.)
This gadget has a few really cool features over some of the other strainers/infusers I’ve tried. First off – it has it’s own lid, so for one-cup servings, it’s like having a little tea pot for your drink. The lid also doubles as a saucer for the strainer when you’re ready to drink. The size fits most mugs I’ve tried so far, and there’s a little handle to pull it out. It collapses, so it takes up a very small footprint in my bag (or purse, or drawer..) it’s heat resistant silicone, which means it’s dishwasher safe, and you can pop it inside out for super-fast cleaning. Hurrah! It does attract some dust (ahem, at the bottom of my purse…) but cleans up easily.
The only downside….the holes are still too large to successfully steep a rooibos tea without the little leaves escaping. As seen above, in the snapsot of my Glacier Springs Marzipan Rooibos. Still, for green, black, and herbal teas, this is probably my most frequently used strainer at work. I recommend it! (Especially if you don’t drink a lot of red teas..)
Want another blogger’s review of this gadget? Check out the Tea Guy’s comments!
While you’re at it, I stumbled upon “Crafty Veggie” – a fairly new blog about “student-style” (I think that means cheap) vegan and vegetarian dishes. I found my way there because the writer also loves the Banff Tea Company, and I TOTALLY want to try out her Tzadziki recipe.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough… check out this VIDEO about the Tuffy Steeper…. and if you’ve used it too, let me know what you think in the comments below!