So I will preface this review by saying I am not a tea drinker, and I’m not much for coffee either. My wife will usually make tea every morning in her Mr. Coffee and even then it’s made from teabags. We do have loose teas in the house and a couple steeping contraptions kicking around that don’t see a lot of use. So I thought, let’s give this one a try and see how it performs up against the others.
Like it said in the description on Amazon, this is not for fine or ground teas. This is definitely true. Even with our Ahmad English Tea No. 1 loose leaf tea, which is to this untrained eye fairly leafy, the finer particles do sneak through the mesh holes. This happens both when the tea is dry and when it’s steeping in water. I don’t know if this is a dealbreaker to tea drinkers. I, myself, am the kind of person who puts pulpy orange juice through a strainer because I’m not having any of that nonsense, so I guess you could probably guess what my preferences would be with tea. If you have teas that are less fine, this is certainly a good steeper.
What I envision using this strainer for is cooking applications. I could imagine putting whole or chopped fresh herbs in it and allowing it to hang out in a simmering soup or crockpot braise. The strainer is pretty decent size – definitely bigger than the fine mesh tea balls we have around the house, so this could serve as a holding tank for the bay leaves I put in sauces or other cooking liquids that I can never seem to fish out when it comes time to serve.
One particular thing I like about this strainer is the lid attaches quite firmly to the base, so I don’t feel worried that it would come apart and drop its contents into whatever it’s floating in. It has three latching points that hold it very securely, plus a short chain (a few inches) with a little hook to keep it tethered to the side of the vessel.
It’s stainless steel, and seems to clean up with a good rinse and rubbing of fingers to dislodge any tea leaves that get stuck in any of the holes (one or two in my case). It’s 18/8 gauge so it’s not going to take a bullet for you but it won’t get too dinged up in most cases. The manufacturer says it’s safe for dishwasher but I would also agree with them that it’s likely best cleaned by hand. I can’t yet attest to its longevity or rust resistance, but with proper care I wouldn’t envision this going south too quickly.
Overall, it’s not the absolute best tea strainer on the market since it’s too porous for really fine teas, but it makes a good overall choice for larger teas, course ground coffee, and cooking – especially because of its ample size. I think it’s a good bargain.