Teastick Gems Loose Tea Infuser Review

I’ve been a tea drinker my whole life. No stinky coffee for me thank you very much! ;o) I was raised on cheap Lipton bagged tea. But as an adult, I discovered loose tea and am always trying new varieties of green, black and white teas. To fix a cup of loose tea, you need some type of infuser that will hold the leaves as they brew. Gamila Company’s Teastick Gem is just such an infuser. Let’s give it a try…

Teastick Gem Package

The original Teastick is made of stainless steel, but the Teastick Gem is made of a material called Eastman Tritan. It’s a thick plastic that has been FDA-approved, taste-free and BPA free. In other words, you can place it in 200+ degree water and not have to worry about chemicals leeching out of the Teastick and into your tea.

Teastick Gem other infusers

I’ve used several other types of loose tea infusers, including the ones you see here. The one on the Left is a spring loaded steel mesh ball that you can squeeze to open. The cup shaped infuser has a nylon mesh basket that you fill with tea and then set the whole thing in your cup. Both of these infusers work fine, but have a couple issues. As you can see, the nylon mesh in the cup infuser is stained brown from tea and starts looking nasty soon after using it. It and the other infuser are also a pain to clean because the wet tea leaves tend to stick to the mesh. These reasons are why I was interested in testing the Teastick to see if it has a better design.

Teastick Gem

Teastick Gems are available in two colors: Amethyst or Sapphire.

Teastick Gem two parts

This infuser is made of two parts. A spoon / handle part and a mesh tube cover part that can slide off. It can only slide back on in one direction.

Teastick Gem mesh screen

The tube cover has a stainless steel mesh top that has a very fine weave to help keep tea leaves out of your tea cup.

Teastick Gem with scoop of tea

To use the Teastick, you slide the mesh cover off the handle and either use the Teastick like a spoon to fill the bowl area with dry loose tea, or you can use a teaspoon and fill the bowl.

Teastick Gem ready to brew

You then slide the mesh cover in place where it is held there with friction. It feels a little awkward to slide the cover closed when there’s dry tea in the bowl. I also found that the cover doesn’t stay closed very securely. But as long as you are careful and hold it so that the tea area is pointed down, the leaves won’t spill out.

Teastick Gem in cup

Once the Teastick is full of tea, you place it in your cup, heat up some water and …

Teastick Gem brewing

… pour it in over the Teastick. You then wait a few minutes, depending on the type of tea that you’re using, while the tea brews.

Teastick Gem finished

When the tea is the strength that you like, you remove the Teastick from the cup and drink it. I actually had to swirl the Teastick around in the cup before I removed it from the water, to make the tea a bit stronger.

Teastick Gem leaves

To clean the Teastick, slide off the mesh tube and dump the leaves. Some wet leaves will stick to both parts of the Teastick though, so you’ll have to thoroughly rinse both parts to remove them.

When it’s all said and done, I think Gamila Company’s Teastick makes an ok cup of tea while looking very trendy. The thing is that the Teastick is not any easier to use than my inelegant cup shaped infuser shown above. The Teastick is actually more awkward to use and clean since there are two parts involved. I think cup shaped infusers are better because they have a larger area for the tea leaves to ‘bloom’ in. So, for now I’m sticking with cup shaped infusers.

Do you have a favorite tea gadget? If so, let us know about it.

 

Product Information

Price:12.0
Manufacturer:Gamila Company
Pros:
  • Can be washed in the dishwasher (top shelf)
Cons:
  • Cover doesn't snap closed
  • Two parts to clean
Posted in: Home, Kitchen

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Sean Inglis December 3, 2008, 2:31 am

    I bought a couple of the stainless steel versions of this, one for myself and one as a present.

    I really wanted to like it, but I habitually use my old spring-loaded infuser: although the Teastick looks great and is a more convenient shape to tote around, it’s definitely more awkward to clean. I also found that being able to scoop the tea into the “barrel” isn’t much use if you’re a frequent drinker and if, like me, you can’t be bothered to ensure it’s bone dry each time before use.

    Much nicer to look at though, the stainless one doesn’t discolour like my mesh infusers, and it’s a bit of a conversation piece.

  • Julie December 3, 2008, 6:30 am

    Sean:

    I used to buy empty tea bags and fill them myself. This was the most convenient method, but that gets expensive and wasteful since you throw away the bag. I also like a French press, of all the infusing methods, it is the hardest to clean.

    I really can’t think of a better design than the cup shaped infuser. They even make gold plated ones ;o)

  • Kezza December 3, 2008, 10:17 am

    When I’m at work I drink tea out of a 12oz stainless thermal mug. Unfortunately, the cup-type infuser doesn’t sit far enough into the mug to steep well, and the ball-type infuser that I have is too large to fit into the mug. Right now I mostly just drink a taiwanese tea that doesn’t need to be filtered out, but for other teas I think I’ll give this stick-type infuser a try. I used to use disposable filter bags, but that seemed wasteful. For a little while I used a reusable cotton drawstring tea bag, but it was a massive pain to clean.

    [Edited at December 03, 2008 10:18:18 AM.]

  • Julie December 3, 2008, 10:20 am

    Kezza:

    Tell me about this Taiwanese tea. You say it doesn’t need filtering? Do you drink the leaves too? Or is it powered?

  • Kezza December 3, 2008, 12:23 pm

    Julie –
    It’s Tung Ting oolong (also spelled Dong Ding by some retailers). The leaves are large and whole, so you don’t get tiny bits of leaf floating around. It’s a fairly green oolong, so steeping forever doesn’t make it bitter. It’s traditional in China (and Taiwan) to drink some teas without filtering. A coworker of mine from the region that produces Lung Ching green tea doesn’t filter hers, either. We both just add hot water to our mugs throughout the day.

  • Julie December 3, 2008, 12:39 pm

    Kezza:

    Interesting! Thanks for the info. I’ll have to try to find some online and order it. :o)

  • Hai December 3, 2008, 3:34 pm

    Like you, I am drinking tea every day, but will occasionally drink “stinking coffee” as well. I use an old fashion teapot. I usually prepare my tea very concentrated. Each time I like a cup of tea, I pour myself half a cup of concentrated tea, fill the rest of the cup with hot water and the tea is just perfect: not too hot or too cold. By the way, like Kezza said, I don’t filter my tea.

    At work, I use the pre-packaged tea bags a la Lipton. They are not too bad.

    [Edited at December 03, 2008 15:35:51 PM.]

  • Julie December 3, 2008, 3:41 pm

    I use bagged teas too. I order boxes from Stash and take them to work. On the weekends at home, I use loose tea.

  • Echoloc8 December 6, 2008, 1:42 pm

    I’m a big fan of the IngenuiTEA from Adagio Teas, and also available from ThinkGeek.com.

    It’s made from thick plastic like the Teastick (possibly the same substance, but I’m unsure), and has an infuser mesh in the bottom to filter out the loose leaves. The trick that it does is accomplished by a valve system on the bottom of the IngenuiTEA that releases the brewed tea when the device is set atop a cup of smaller diameter. It’s hard to explain, but the ThinkGeek link above shows a picture of it in action, and it’s pretty self-explanatory from there.

    I’ve had mine for a little over a week, and love it! Some of the online reviews I’ve found have mentioned that the mesh assembly can fit loosely after heavy use, but I’ve had no trouble, and in any case replacements are apparently available from Adagio’s website.

    Not an investor or anything, just someone who ordered one on a lark and was extremely impressed.

    -Rich

  • Julie December 6, 2008, 3:36 pm

    Thanks for the link. It looks really cool and I am going to try to get on to try out :o) Is it hard to clean it?

  • Nikolas Harris December 8, 2008, 1:24 pm

    Did you guys ever try fruit tea? It uses the exact same method, but with dried fruit pieces — its so good. I have a single cup infuser (Second picture from top, the tall filter) I find that it works great. Perfect for mornings, and easy to clean up after. I also have a whole kettle infuser, from germany, works perfectly! :)

  • Nikolas Harris December 8, 2008, 1:24 pm

    * the fruit teas are also from germany *

    … but… you may be able to get them from other places also. :P :)

    [Edited at December 08, 2008 13:26:38 PM.]

    [Edited at December 08, 2008 13:28:07 PM.]

  • Echoloc8 December 8, 2008, 1:59 pm

    Julie, it’s not hard to clean at all: since the valve stays closed unless put over a cup, you can fill the IngenuiTEA with hot water and the spent leaves will just float out.

    According to reviews, the filter at bottom can be removed, too (though I haven’t yet, so I can’t say how easy that is), for more thorough cleaning.

    Everything it’s built from is upper-rack dishwasher and microwave safe, too.

    -Rich

  • Teavalize January 7, 2009, 4:25 am

    I used to use one of these infusers but I have progressed to the teavalize tea infuser mug. I don’t even have to take the leaves out anymore until I’m done drinking, its handy in the mornings because I just throw it all in there ,add water and it’s usually good to drink by the time I get to the car.

  • Cosmic Teapot September 8, 2010, 5:52 am

    There’s something seriously wrong with this type of tea infuser. If you’re drinking black tea, brewing in an open cup loses far too much heat. You may as well go back to Lipton in that case.

    This type of infuser is fine for green and white tea, but it’s still a flawed concept.

  • Rob March 16, 2012, 4:22 pm

    I use one of these extensively. I prefer the Rooibos teas and they are so fine that all the other infusers allow the fine bits out into the tea. This one works perfectly, despite how tiny the Roobis bits are, i rarely get anything leaking out of the spoon. and for those times when you are in a hurry (don’t gasp in horror) I can microwave the the mug with this infuser in it and no ill effects to the tea or the infuser or the microwave. Sure i use the ultrafine basket when i am making large batches but this thing works perfectly where the other ones fail.

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