“ Brand: Chatsford / Product Type: Mug „
*When a teabag just doesn't cut it*
The British public has a long held love affair with tea and from chamomile to Ceylon, millions of cups must be drunk every day. Most households have their own tea traditions, with involved preparation rites involving pre-heating, brewing and bringing the tea together with or without milk and a wide range of sweeteners, ranging from chemical derivatives to wildflower honey (my Mum swears by it!) The tea delivery system of choice is normally the humble teabag, but there are some occasions when a teabag just doesn't cut it!
I've recently started drinking herbal tea to help build up my immune system and while the jury is out on the scientifically proven benefits, I'm certainly feeling good. Herbal teas (and many good quality loose teas) differ from the everyday varieties in that they aren't typically available in tea bags and when they are aficionados are almost always suspicious as to the relative freshness of the herbs/tea contained.
It became apparent very quickly that a good quality tea infuser was going to be a must have purchase, as my girlfriend would only tolerate me pinching the one from our teapot for so long.
The Chatsford mug infuser with lid is manufactured by the London Teapot Company - a name that has a very good reputation in our house as my Mum, sister and girlfriend have all been very pleased with purchases from them in the past.
While it's a very well made product, the design is pleasingly functional and does away with much of the faffing involved in making a good cup of tea or a herbal infusion. In essence it is a roughly conical plastic beaker that sits in your mug and has a plastic frame with sides made from very fine gauge mesh. It is slightly narrower than similar products on the market, which is useful as it will comfortably sit in a wider variety of mugs. There is a sloping plastic 'lip' that sits over the edge of your mug and prevents the infuser from floating away and a sturdy lid that may help to keep the heat in when you're infusing something that takes a bit longer - some herbal teas can take ten minutes or so to brew.
It seems robust enough, is dishwasher safe and the manufacturers state that it should last 'many years' with careful use. I believe them!
It may not be the prettiest creation ever, but it certainly does the job.
This mug infuser is completely painless to use and is genuinely idiot proof. The fine mesh means that you get a very clear cup of tea with only the most minute particles left at the bottom of your mug. I don't mind the odd stray leaf in a cup of tea, but some of the herbal teas are quite bitter to begin with and having them catch at your throat can be quite unpleasant.
It's safe, easy to clean and I really don't see how they could improve upon the design.
As a canny shopper I normally head straight to eBay in search of a bargain. Apparently tea infusers don't do so well on the UK's favourite auction site, so I had to look online at the more traditional retailers (isn't it amusing how the internet has gone full circle and people already think of 'traditional' online retailers?)
It's worth taking a look at:
www.allabouttea.co.uk - £3.09 (Free delivery if you sign up for their newsletter, but minimum order of £3.50. A good site, however, and one I'll be reviewing shortly).
www.cookwareessentials.co.uk - £3.29
www.amazon.co.uk - £3.29 (Similar infusers, but slightly larger and might not be suited for small mugs)
www.saltandpepper.co.uk - £3.65
I'd also imagine that these are available in most good cookware stores, but much to my chagrin I don't get to visit these very often...
*Further information, contact details etc.*
The London Teapot Company Ltd
PO Box 497
Tel: +44 (0) 845 230 4566
A convenient solution for single cup or mug loose leaf tea preparation