Made of stainless steel and silicone, the Eva Solo Tea Bag looks pretty slick and has appeal for those who don’t want to throw away a disposable teabag each time they steep a cup. But is the cool factor enough to offset the price tag?
Gadget name: Eva Solo Tea Bag
It looks like: A stainless steel teabag—complete with a flexible metal “string” for easy removal from your teacup—with heat-proof silicone base and tab. Its hipster chic is undeniable; its looks were stunning enough to draw oohs and ahs in the Test Kitchen.
How it’s supposed to work: The silicone base pops off (it’s attached to the metal “string” so you can’t misplace it). You fill the metal “bag” with loose tea. Pop the base back on, put it in your cup, pour the hot water, and steep. When you’re done you can pop off the bottom, remove the used leaves, and toss the whole thing in the dishwasher. Non-reactive stainless steel struck us a good choice for handling tea, where flavor matters, so we were interested.
How it actually works: Pretty well. It infused tea well enough to compete with our winning Copco Tea Infuser, and standby paper T-Sacs. A few tasters thought the resulting brew was weaker than that made by the other methods, but it didn’t release bits of tea leaves like the Copco and never fell into the cup where it was hard to retrieve like the T-Sac.
Drawbacks: Alas, there were a few big ones: First, pushing larger quantities of whole tea leaves into the diminutive bag was difficult. When we tried to fit 2 teaspoons of stiff silver needle white tea in the bag, we had to shift and shake to get everything in and still had a couple of leaves sticking out around the silicone plug. Worse, though, was cleanup. Unlike our Copco infuser, this one didn’t come with a resting place, so you were left with a puddle of tea each time you pulled it from a cup. Perforations in the metal bag don’t go all the way to the top and bottom, so tea leaks out the sides when you tip it to remove the silicone base. If you have big fingers, you can’t reach in to pull out the leaves, and it’s hard to rinse away leaves trapped at the top where water can’t flow through. Finally, after just a few uses and four trips through the dishwasher, its sleek body has a few dings and that cool flexible metal string sports a permanent kink.
Overall: While the Eva Solo Tea Bag looks good and makes tea that tastes fine, it’s not worth the hefty price tag. For now we’ll stick with the Copco tea wand for a single cup of tea.
What’s your preferred way of brewing tea (and what kind of tea, for that matter)?