The Eight Cranes "Perfect Steeper" travel infuser is different from any I have seen. To use, first you separate the three components and add tea
leaves to the brewing chamber. Then, you add hot water into the "cup" portion of the brewer and reattach the brewing chamber and lid. Slowly flip the infuser and steep. When you're done steeping, flip it back over and remove the brewing chamber. Voila! You have brewed, strained and served loose-leaf tea without any mess.
Ease of Use
The "Perfect Steeper" from newcomer Eight Cranes functions differently from other travel infusers, but once you've tried it out, it's incredibly easy to use. Here are a few of my favorite features:
- It seals well to prevent leaks.
- The components twist on in the same direction, preventing inadvertent loosening.
- The lid keeps the brewing basket from leaking or dripping in between infusions.
- The entire steeper handles well and the 8-ounce cup is comfortable to drink from.
- The brewing basket is large enough to handle rolled oolongs and leafy tisanes, which require lots of room to infuse.
Steeping in Style
Unlike many on the market, this steeper has a fairly neutral aesthetic that suits a range of lifestyles. It's clean and modern in appearance and features brushed stainless steel accents. There is nothing extraneous or interfering about this design. As with many great designs, function dictates form.
There's also a cool design feature that is both practical and healthy. The exterior is made from plastic (as most travel infusers are). However, the inner layer is made from glass. Admittedly, some plastic will touch your brew while it's infusing, but if you're trying to avoid using plastics in your food preparation, this is a huge step up from other infusers.
Ideal for Oolong Tea
The wire mesh filter in this steeper isn't quite fine enough for rooibos
and other tiny tisanes/teas, but I find that the overall design suits all true loose-leaf teas and is ideal for oolongs. The brewing basket is large enough for tightly rolled oolongs to fully expand. The smaller serving size is ideal for brewing in a gong fu-type approach -- using more leaves and shorter brew times to allow for many infusions of the same leaves. The fact that the brewing chamber doesn't drip in between infusions also helps with this approach to brewing. The tall, narrow shape of the cup is perfect for savoring the abundant aromas that great oolongs have to offer. I also enjoyed watching oolong leaves unfurl in the brewing chamber -- something most travel infusers don't allow for.
The "Perfect Steeper" isn't quite perfect -- it isn't suited for rooibos and other super-fine leaves -- but it's the closest I've seen to perfection in a travel infuser. At about $40 a pop, it's an investment, but it's one that serious tea drinkers who want great tea on the go (particularly oolong tea on the go) will find well worth the price.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy