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As well as a coffee addict, I am a huge tea lover. My cupboard is packed with different types of tea. When I say packed, I mean if opened tea WILL fall out. Because of this, at Christmas, a lot of my presents will be a new tea I haven't tried yet or some new tea gadget. This was one of them that id hinted at my dad to get me. I loved it modern look and have always trusted Bodums products.
The teapot is plenty big enough for a group of people to share when you have guests around. Though this tends to be used mainly by me and all to myself. This is used pretty much like a coffee maker if you have used one of those before. You put 2-3 teaspoons on tea leaves in depending on the strength you like. With a warmed up pot you pour boiling water over the leaves and inside and cover it up without pushing down on the handle to keep it warm for three minutes. You then push down to stop the tea from infusing and there you have it.
It's very simple to use and very easy to clean. The only hassle I have is sometimes getting the tea leaves out but this have little to do with this particular tea pot as it happens with any other I have used.
Having worked with this product as a demonstration model in the retail tea environment I have mixed feelings about these teapots.
On the plus side it is convenient to be able to control the over-brewing of tea leaves with the plunge effect (similar principle as a cafetiere) and the glass body mean you can also enjoy viewing the tea liquid as it brews. However due to the insert you cannot see the leaves in action!
As negatives, the filters do allow a lot of fannings/dust and small leaves to come through as the holes in the filter are rather large. Should you want to re-use the same leaves (as with green or oolong tea), attempting to pull the plunger back up can be a problem. Due to the suction created when plunging you will need to exert some force on it, and if it has been used fairly recently it will conduct a lot of heat and is often too hot to handle. The handle will conduct a lot of heat within about 2 minutes, and you probably wont be able to move this until about 20 minutes have passed and some heat has been lost through liquid being poured and heat being lost exothermically.
Another downside is that you cannot use to the teapot without the filter as the lid fits inside the filter and not the rim of the teapot.
The glass body also does not keep the liquid hot for very long, or a decent quality tea cosy is needed.
You're probably looking at it keeping the tea liquid hot for about 20 mins, after that the heat is lost very rapidly. Although a slight plus is that even though it is glass, it doesnt crack if you pour boiling hot water into it. And considering its glass and how the lid heats up, the handles does not conduct the heat, so you can pick that up happily without scalding yourself!
All in all I would say it's good for larger leaf standard class teas, such as a Orange Pekoe, anything small cut, be prepared for dustings. Anything higher in quality I would recommend using something which allows the leaves more space to move around.
In terms of cleaning I would recommend that you spoon out the tea leaves (messy and not very convenient), the filter and lid/plunger can be put in the dishwasher however I would encourage you to wash the actual pot by handle, with nothing else in the bowl. When knocked, these will break, they are glass afterall! Periodically as well you will probably wont to soak the filer in some steriliser etc just to get rid of the tannin stains, but thats mostly for the sake of appearence.
One good thing is that they dont have a spout, which is one less thing to hit against something and break!
Liquid wise, although it gives 1lt as it's capacity in terms of cups of tea (which is what really matters) you're looking at 4 cups of tea, or 2 decent size mugs
All those downsides however, I would still rather people used one of these than a PG Tip teabag!
Price wise, look to pay around the £30 mark for this currently. A similar item is available but the handle and lid is plastic, dont bother with that version, looks and feels cheap (and does cost about £15).
Top tips for use would be, pour in hot water slowly so the leaves dont move around too much, so that all the dustings dont get sent to the top of the liquid and therefore through the filter holes, give your leaves a bit of a stir before plunging., and pour at a constant flow, if you go too slowly or quickly, it will drip.
Short name: Bodum 1801