Just before Easter I got send the activiTEA by Adagio to review but as you know, life got in the way and I took a bit of a blogging break, so I didn’t get round to writing up a post about it until this weekend.
To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to write a review post. Of course I love a free product and I am a huge tea drinker, have even used green tea in my Ochazuke bento (see post here) so anything tea related is a big hit with me. But I was, and still am, a bit doubtful, whether it would fit in with my blog (after all my blog is mainly focused on lunches, not at tea) and whether my readers would like or not like me to review products. I know I have written before about products, but those were products that I use regularly to make my lunches, and I had always paid for them myself (with the exception of the book I won).
Anyway, I gratefully accepted the free gift and did check that I could write my honest opinion, so here we go 🙂
The activiTEA is a portable tea tumbler, with which you can enjoy loose leaf tea on the go. It consist of 4 parts: a double walled container/tumbler, a holder (with strap), an infuser and the lid. It holds 300ml. Although the instructions on the box doesn’t indicate it, there is a video on the website which tells it’s dishwasher proof.
It came securely packed in a box with instructions on it, and it looks very pretty, a bit sleek & modern and size wise it fits very nicely in my hand. Adagio also very generously sent me lots of tea samples, including favorites like Earl Grey, Jasmine Pearls and Green Tea varieties.
The first tea I tried out was a Citron Green which smelled gorgeous when I opened the packaging. It is a green tea mixed with lemon and lime and the smell is both soothing and refreshing. All the tea samples that I received – and I thus assume all their loose tea- were packed in a resealable package and have the appropriate steeping instructions on it. However…those instructions said 180°… eek… I suspect they meant 180F, which google tells me is 82.22°C…. 🙂
Luckily my kettle has different temperature settings, so 82 it is…(or at least as near to 82 as I can get…). I filled the tumbler with water, measured 1 teaspoon into the holder (fitted with the infuser) screwed that on, closed with the lid and turned it all upside down to steep. Upside down! Yep, because the infuser is quite shallow (unless other infusers, this one doesn’t “descend” in the water), you have to “bring” the water to the infuser by turning it upside down.
I didn’t screw the canister and lid tightly enough and it leaked a bit….. Oops….so I quickly remedied that and the tea steeped merrily upside down until it had reached my desired strength (the packaging also gives instructions on quantity and steeping time, but of course this may vary according to your taste. I like my teas quite weak).
After steeping, I turned the whole thing up again, removed the canister bit (you can see how much the tea leaves have swollen), and screwed back on the top lid. Drank the tea 🙂
I later did the same thing over again, but tried a black tea, the Earl Grey Bravo, and this time I measured the tea first, and poured the water through the tea into the tumbler. (The instructions on the box says first water, than holder with tea, the video says first holder with tea, then water…). The upside is that your tea steeps quicker, the downside is that you need to pour quite slowly to avoid over-drowning the opening.
Lastly I tried using the activiTEA with the Phoenix Jasmine Pearls. Jasmine Pearls need quite a lot of space to unfold and to properly infuse the tea, and I just felt there wasn’t enough room for that in the infuser/holder, so I put the pearls directly in the tumbler and use the infuser to strain the leaves whilst drinking. I always tend to drink multiple cups from just 3 pearls so this way I just kept topping up with water.
The teas I received were all delicious. I especially liked the Citron Green as it has a very nice refreshing taste without the citron being too overpowering. (Apparently it can also be drunken cold, so will have to give that a try.) And I love the Phoenix Jasmine Pearls! The smell is just gorgeous and I love how you can make multiple use of the pearls without having the tea turn bitter! I am actually drinking another cup of this tea whilst writing this post 🙂
Adagio sells a lot of different tea varieties, or as they call it “artisan loose leaf teas”, divided in categories such as black, chai, herbal, green, masters etc and both as a loose tea and in tea bags. They also sell teaware, including something called ingenuiTEA which looks actually quite clever, and pretty teapots and mug/infusers. Their website doesn’t tell much about the company, but I did found this article with some background information on them.
So, what are my thoughts on the activiTEA?
- It looks very good, it has a sleek and modern design.
- It also feels very comfortable in your hand and the outer wall doesn’t get too hot (when using 100°C water)
- Tea keeps longer warm than in a regular mug.
- Once you know how it works, it’s very simple to use.
- I am not sure if I would use this for travelling. Although it feels pretty robust and is leak proof (if you screw the lid/canister on properly), it’s still glass…
- The holes in the infuser are quite large, so it wouldn’t be suitable for all loose teas, as finer tea leaves slip through.
- Also, the tea doesn’t really have much room to expand & infuse, so you could consider user the infuser the other way around, as a “sieve” to avoid drinking the leaves, but probably only for non black teas (as I did with the Jasmine Pearls).
Would I recommend?
Hmm, maybe not as a travel mug, although it looks sturdy, I wouldn’t want to risk taking it on the London underground! But as an loose tea infuser to use at work, or at home, definitely yes. As said, it is very pretty, keeps your tea warm and once you know how it works, it’s easy to use.
It would be great if it there were different infusers that fitted in the holder, with different sized holes, for different teas, or even an deeper infuser that wouldn’t have the need to turn it upside down. I also missed a little drip holder for putting your holder (with the wet tea leaves in it) once you have finished steeping.
I think that most reviewers give an end score, so my score would be 8 out of 10. Good, but not perfect. Yet 🙂
Just to point out again, I was sent this product free of charge in exchange for writing a review on my blog. The above is my true and honest opinion of the product.