Official Blurb: "This tea egg is very simple to use. One-handed operation. Makes drinking loose leaf tea as easy as using teabags. Durable stainless steel construction. It can be use with any cup or mug. " (from product page)
I have an old, brandless tea infuser that looks sort of like two teaspoons ratcheted together after having holes knocked in them. Its design is simple with one flaw, it barely allows tea any room to expand during the steeping process. This can cause, in some teas, the two halves to push apart and tea leaves go everywhere.
The Tea Egg (and for the all the papers I wrote in collge, I have no idea if that should be "in quotes" or italicized) changes the format in two specific ways. First, it has a larger bowl, over twice the size. Secondly, it uses a syringe method for opening and closing.
I made a double cup of Twining's English Breakfast. It is a good test blend since it is cut so fine and tends to challenge even the most sensible tea strainers. Though the Tea Egg can easily hold two teaspoons of tea, it seems to me to be more comfortable with one. At the second, it gets just a tad overfull.
The design has one overarching flaw, and that is because of the sliding, syringe mechanism, if the tea swells past the half way mark it starts gumming up the opening and requires a little extra back-and-forth to get all the tea to wash out. This is not major if you stick with green tea or black and a single teaspoon. It is annoying with an oolong (oolongs have a have a habit of expanding greatly).
The many holes allow for a proper amount of steeping. No problems there. The stainless steel did not flavor the tea at all. Again, no problems. I had about as many dregs (with the English Breakfast) as I would have had making it in a traditional tea pot with no strainer and then pouring it into a cup. This is not technically a problem for me, but should be kept in mind. Twining's EB is just about the tiniest you can get, though, so it is an extreme example.
Clean up was not too bad, you just need to get the hang of which part of the "syringe" is going to extend out (obvious if you take time to look) so that you can open it in a way that does not make a mess. With a little water, it washes out nicely.
I run into the standard problem with such a thing, though. I often want another cup/glass after I am done and it takes time to get the kettle back to a boil. Ah well, c'est la vie. In a lot of ways, the idea of "by the pot" is still the best. A few centuries of tea drinking cannot be wrong.
Right now I could not say if I prefer it or my "more standard" tea infuser. I have a sneaky suspicion that the older model will last longer. This one definitely looks more distinct.
Written by W Doug Bolden
For those wishing to get in touch, you can contact me in a number of ways
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".
"The hidden is greater than the seen."