Village Tea Company, a new vendor based in Texas, has a small but growing line of tea and tea equipment. One item on the product list is their Mobile Teapot, or infuser mug. Village Tea Company says, “Take the rich flavors of Village Tea with you everywhere you go with our BPA Free Mobile Teapot. With a built-in reusable filter, you can enjoy a fresh brew of tea, then quickly prepare another great spot of tea with any of our great flavors. Bring the Village with you no matter what part of the city you’re in.”
The mug is made of a BPA-free, clear tempered plastic, holds almost 13 oz of tea and has the standard tall cylindrical shape of travel mugs, which fits easily into a cup holder in the car. There is a separate molded plastic and metal ring that screws on top of the mug itself, which provides a smooth edge to drink from, as well as contains the metal mesh strainer. A molded plastic lid screws on top of the strainer and drinking ring.
Village Tea Company contacted me and sent a free Mobile Teapot for review. After a month or so of occasional use, I have found that this infuser mug has both good and bad points. The good points: it is very convenient, allowing the brewing of loose-leaf tea with no more fuss than it takes to use a tea bag. You just remove the strainer ring, put some loose tea in the mug, screw the strainer ring back on to the mug, and fill the mug with hot water. Keep the strainer ring on the mug and drink through it to keep the tea leaves in the mug. Refill with hot water as necessary. The mug is also easy to clean, either by hand or in the dishwasher. It rinses clean easily, too, and all sharp edges of the wire mesh are enclosed so they don’t catch on your dish sponge. The mesh strainer is fine enough to keep all of the tea leaves in the mug, unlike the conventional pierced porcelain infuser baskets that are part of most other infuser mugs. It’s very easy for students and others who like to keep a cup or mug of tea nearby to drink from all day long.
The negative points: you have to be careful about the kind of tea and the temperature of the water that you use with this mug, if you don’t want your tea to get bitter from sitting in the hot water for more than 5 minutes. This will inevitably happen because you can’t strain out the tea leaves without pouring the tea into a separate mug for drinking, which kind of defeats the purpose of an infuser mug! Whole tea leaves instead of broken or CTC teas are better for this, because they take longer to release their tannins. Even though it’s generally best to infuse black teas with boiling water, it is not recommended when using this style of infuser mug; hot (steaming, not boiling) water will help infuse the tea more slowly and minimize bitterness. The infuser mug also got untouchably hot on the outside when used with boiling water, and because there is no handle on the mug, I had to wait several minutes until it was cool enough to pick up and drink from. Water at simmering temperature or slightly cooler, allowed the mug to stay cool enough to handle and drink from right away.
The Mobile Teapot costs $24.99 from the company website. So far, Village Tea Company products are only available at Vitamin Shoppe, 3150 Stevens Creek Blvd., or online to San Jose residents, but a similar infuser mug can be purchased from Satori Tea Company in San Pedro Square. If the above suggestions and cautions are followed, the Mobile Teapot will make a very handy tea product to have around! It would make a good birthday, holiday or other gift for yourself or your favorite tea-drinker.
Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach
For more information:
“Village Tea Company Review” on SocialVixen
“Review: Amandine Decanter by Teavana”
“Review: Vital Tea Leaf Angel green tea and Siberian Rose tisane”
“Review: the Royal Wedding tea from Lisa’s Tea Treasures”
“Review: Buccaneer blend from SerendipiTea”
“Review: Orange Blossom 100% White Tea from The Republic of Tea”
“Review: Passion blend from SerendipiTea”
“Review: Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea”
“Review: Twinings Earl Grey tea”
“Birthday gift ideas for the San Jose tea lover”
“Gift ideas for the San Jose tea-lover”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“Study with tea instead of coffee!”