VariaTea takes a look at the Iced Tea Press from DAVIDsTea. . .

When DAVIDsTEA announced the release of their iced tea press, I had mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the one hand, it seemed like a pretty cool take on a french press to easily make iced tea on the go. On the other hand, I have always been told not to squish teas and that is definitely what gets done with this press. Each time new colors are released, I him and haw over whether I want one but could never bring myself to buy one. However, when a friend took me into DAVIDsTEA and told me to pick what I wanted, I went with something I would not buy myself…the iced tea press.

Of course now that I had it, I immediately had to give it a try. The first thing I noticed was how hard it was to remove the inner piece from the outer shell. I took this as a good sign because it meant the seals were tight and thus the press was most likely leak-proof. When it came time to prepare the tea, I used two perfect teaspoons of a fruit tea and poured the hot water up to the specified line on the outer shell, maybe even a little higher. I filled the inner piece with ice, and screwed the lid on top, then I set the inner piece within the outer shell and waited for the tea to finish steeping.

When I began to press the tea, I got a lot of push back. It just wouldn’t stay down. That was probably my fault since I didn’t have the lid opened so there was no where for the air to escape providing space for the tea to replace it. When I removed the lid, it slid with ease but only filled about 3/4 of the way. The rest of the tea remained in the outer shell, moving up the sides and spilling out where the two pieces connect whenever the tumbler is tilted. Needless to say, this didn’t go very well for me on my first try.

Nonetheless, there are still perks. I do think this is an easy way to make iced tea and I don’t have any gravity steepers left in the sink and needing to be cleaned. I also like the fine mesh used to press the tea as it filters out anything and everything. Another positive is that it gives leaf plenty of space to expand. Though that is not necessarily a relevant factor when it comes to fruit teas, it is an important part of brewing proper tea leaves.

Finally, I think if I had the lid open as intended and didn’t pump the tea before getting a proper press, the ratio of hot water and ice would be more balanced, making for the full 16 ounces of iced tea.

Some things I could see being a downfall with this press, other than the leaking I have already experienced is oversteeping as the tea is not fully removed from the hot water. This isn’t really “on-the-go” as you wouldn’t want to carry around the components while they are separated.

Also, you could not really cold brew in this as there is no lid for the outer shell where the tea steeps. Lastly, I worry about the longevity of the seals as they are silicone and I fear they may wear with time.

Ultimately, I can see this being a fun new contraption. I probably need more practice in light of my fail but I think I am up to the challenge. Granted, I won’t be tossing this into my purse and letting it roll around anytime soon but it is definitely an alternative method to using all my gravity steepers for iced teas.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Teaware
Where to Buy: DAVIDsTea

What if we told you there was an all-in-one gadget to steep, ice AND sip your tea, at home or on the go? Meet the mug that’ll change how we make iced tea forever. Made of BPA-free, durable Tritan™, it makes iced tea prep quick, easy – and ridiculously fun. Just add your tea and hot water, and scoop your ice into the inner compartment. When you’re ready to sip, press it together to instantly ice your tea. No fuss, no muss. Plus its super-fine mesh stops the infusion, so even the most delicate tea won’t be oversteeped. Now that’s refreshing.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

PRODUCT REVIEW: One-Touch Tea Maker from Breville

Where to Buy:  Samovar

Product Description:

The new Breville One-Touch Tea Maker is a revolutionary tea experience. The fully automated tea basket moves down, then up, gently agitating the leaves to precisely infuse your tea. Push the basket button and watch the basket cycle in and out of immersion. Seeing is believing.

Different tea varietals such as Black, Green, White, and Oolong require exact water temperatures and controlled brew times to allow their unique flavors and aromas to develop during brewing. The One-Touch Tea Maker eliminates the guesswork so you can enjoy a perfect cup of tea, every time.

Fully programmable for all types of tea, water temperatures, and steep times. The moving tea basket allows water to circulate freely around the individual tea leaves for maximum infusion. Set the timer and wake up to the aroma of your favorite brew. The German-made Schott glass kettle is durable and stain resistant.

Relaxation – from start to finish.

Suggested Retail Price:  $249.00


I want to preface this review by saying I have wanted one of these devices for well over a year, but, let’s face it, $249.00 is quite a lot of money to shell out, especially for what would appear to be a uni-tasker (borrowed that term from Alton Brown)  But, since I drink tea all day, every day, it eventually became a price I was willing to pay.  Perhaps the occasional tea drinker may see no need for such a lavish price for a tea maker, but, those of you who drink tea as often as I do, I think you probably know where I’m coming from.

My First Impression:  THRILLED!  I was practically stalking my front window watching for the FedEx truck!  In fact, once while I was waiting, a FedEx truck did drive down my street but was delivering (or picking up) something from the house a few doors down.  So when it finally arrived, I think I actually did a dance.  I can’t tell you if I did or not, because the details are all a little blurry – yeah, I was that excited.  Samovar’s shipping of this product was very prompt, and they have excellent customer service too!

It was simple to clean and prep for the first use, just a quick sudsy bath for the tea basket, tea basket lid and tea pot lid, and then fill the kettle to the max fill line with water and bring it to a boil, discarding the water once it’s boiled.  Then it’s ready for use.  It almost seemed too easy to me, so I decided to do a second boiling, just to make sure I was rid of any production dust.

It’s simple to use too.  Just measure out the desired amount of water in the kettle, and then measure the appropriate amount of tea into the basket, snap on the basket lid, and slide the basket onto the magnetic thingamabob in the kettle.  It’s a strong magnet!  Then click the controls, I used the custom controls for my first steeping as I’m still getting familiar with the device.

The resulting tea?  Fabulous!  Just as good as if I would have poured the boiling water into the teapot, set the timer and allowed the tea to steep, and then strained the leaves from the brewed tea.   Only… I didn’t have to do any of that.  I just had to add water and tea to the device and it did the rest.  It could also be argued that the tea from the Breville One-Touch is even better than the old-fashioned process, because the water retains its heat as it steeps, which in turn allows the leaves to steep properly.

Cons:  Well, having only owned it for a couple of weeks now, I don’t have a lot of cons to discuss, but, there are a couple of things that I would change for future models.  First, I would like a louder chime.  I don’t know if this is something I can regulate myself, I guess I should consult the manual!  The chime is very quiet and unless I’m in the kitchen, I can’t hear it.

Second, I would like better custom controls.  I can only adjust steeping time at 30 second intervals, and I would like to adjust them by 10 or 15 second intervals.  Thirty seconds is a large span of time when it comes to brewing tea.

There are those who might suggest that the short cord is a “con” but, in my opinion, it is a “pro” – I like the short cord, because my kitchen has many outlets throughout the kitchen, and I seem to have an abundance of excess “cord” from the various appliances that I have on my counters.  This cord doesn’t get in the way.  It is the perfect length, and I like that there is a spindle at the bottom of the base that allows me to wrap or unwrap the cord, which allows me to keep the cord at a manageable length.

Overall, I love my Breville One-Touch and I’d recommend it to anyone who drinks more than a pot of tea on a daily basis.  I’ve had my tea maker for less than a month now, and I don’t know how I’ve lived this long without it!  It has not only become an essential appliance in my home, but, it is also probably second only to the refrigerator the most used appliance in my house.