I am a daily travel tumbler user, so I was really excited to have a chance to review the just-released Sei Sei Portable Tea Infuser Bottle. Believe me, I shopped around for a long time before I settled on the tumbler that I use now, and I wish this one had been available back then. Let's dive in.
To say I fell in love with the look and feel of the tumbler when I pulled it out of the box is not an exaggeration. It comes with an insulating "koozie" type sleeve that has a strap. That seems like a small detail but I frequently go up and down the stairs at home carrying a lot of things and like having some way to dangle my mug from my fingers. It's the little things.
The tumbler is glass and all BPA free - which these days is a big deal. I love the wide natural wood cap. It even smells like wood! And, I love that the infuser basket is made of metal. The look of the whole thing is sleek and authentic and it is substantial to hold without being heavy.
The tumbler itself is composed of four pieces: the lid, the glass tumbler, and the screw-together infuser insert.
The tumbler is made so that the insert snaps easily into the contour of the bottle and the top of it can be used with or without the infuser basket. This is important because the top metal piece is what keeps any stray tea leaves from floating into the drinker's mouth. I like that the glass tumbler is really wide at the top, so it is easy to clean. My current travel tumbler is really small at the top and I don't think I have ever seen the bottom of it. Eek.
The description of the tumbler said that it holds 15 oz, and that's probably true up to the very top. I found about 13 to 14 to be a comfortable level for me when I was using the infuser. Based on that, I used just under 2t of leaf. I picked one of my favorite teas (I'm looking at you Plum Deluxe) so that I could judge how the brew turned out in the tumbler versus how the tea usually tastes. Also, you can see that there is plenty of room in the infuser basket so the leaf can expand and move around.
The top of the infuser basket screws on smoothly and it's very easy to snap it into the tumbler.
The tea started brewing right away and it was so much fun to watch it through the clear tumbler. This would be a great vessel to use with blooming teas.
While the tea was brewing, I tried to see if I could make the tumbler leak. I found if the lid is fully tightened, it won't.
Edit 9/8/15: I have used this several times by now and learned that it's best to release pressure a couple of times if you can. It got stuck on there really tightly once due to pressure and I had issues opening it.
At this point there are a few options. If you're a fan of "grandpa style" brewing, you can just leave the leaves in there and go on with your day. I know a lot of people do that, and you could do it either with the brew basket or without - depending on if you want the leaf to be contained or not.
If you're like me and don't like to brew the tea too long, you'll want to pull the brew basket out. When I pulled it out I saw that the upside-down lid made a great little seat for the basket. If you like to rebrew leaves (and are somewhere that it's convenient) you can just leave the basket for another brew later. Or, if you're out and about you can dump the leaves and put it all back together.
Since I work from home I usually don't use the brew basket at this point and just leave it in the kitchen. Here's what the bottle looks like with the top part of the infuser in there but without the bottom.
So now the important part - the drinking!
There is something so nice about drinking from glass instead of plastic or metal. I really enjoyed the mouth feel of the glass. The top of it reminded me a bit of drinking from a Mason jar, and that's a good thing. The tea brewed up just as I expected it and was the strength that I was used to.
While the bottle felt very warm, it was comfortable to hold since it has a double layer of glass. I definitely can see that the outer sleeve needs to be there to help keep the tea hot longer, but I chose to not use it for the first brew. Definitely let the sleeve air out a bit since it has a bit of a smell initially. After it sat out for a while the smell dissipated though.
So bottom line, I really like this tumbler. The price is right (it's on sale right now for $24.99.) It looks beautiful and has many features that are obviously well thought out. It is not cheaply made and the quality is obvious both when looking it and and when using it. I love that it adds so many sensory qualities to the experience of drinking tea on the go. The only potential issue I had with it was that if I didn't really tighten down the lid it leaked a couple of drops, but when I made sure to get it on there very tight it wasn't an issue. I tend to not toss my mugs into bags without them being upright anyway so I don't think it will be an issue.
This is definitely a great choice if you're looking for an infuser on the go.
Thanks to Sei Sei for providing this mug for review. I was not compensated otherwise for the review.Share on Twitter Share on Facebook