Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The Magic Filter

I got a magic filter on semi-impulse after I started my new job. I hoped it would be a way of facilitating tea making while at work. I had already experimented with a teapot, paper filters and variations on metal strainers with limited success. Ultimately, you need a proper work surface and a sink to hand to avoid the mess and inevitable drips that seem to materialise whenever making tea in cramped quarters. Having neither, I was hoping the magic filter would mean I wouldn’t have to resort to the infamy of PG Tips for eight hours of the day.

A magic filter is basically a cup with filter mechanism under it. You fill the cup with leaves and water and leave to brew. When the time is up, balance the filter over your tea cup. Pressing the mug into the bottom of the filter releases the lock and the tea streams out into your cup. Take away the mug and the stream stops instantly. Rather nifty.

So far, it has worked pretty well though I have given up making oolongs or Darjeelings. Their qualities were simply not in evidence when preparing the tea in such a slapdash method. Even the cheaper grades were wasted as I couldn’t regulate water temperature or timing very well. This is the fault of my other equipment (and lack of) rather than the tea filter itself.
Robust black teas such as Assam, Black Pearls, and a Lavender Earl Grey however stand up very well to the challenge of poor water quality and 100oC water. It’s certainly a fresher, more flavourful brew than that made with PG Tips.
Green teas also worked quite well, though a generic green leaf tea allows you to brew up something tasty quickly without feeling like your wasting something precious. I wouldn’t suggest bringing your stash of Gyokuro to work.
All in all, a great gadget that makes a cup of tea equal to materials you present it with.

You can buy them online from Nothing But Tea. I bought mine from Ringtons in Canterbury. Ringtons now make their own brand version called a Teafuser. Their website has a video of one in action.