Review: Tea Cha Pet

Tea Cha, Tea Gadgets, Tea Infusers, Teaware Add comments
K’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"It is a very clever idea for barista-style brewing, but I can't see it being a great day-to-day product."
K’s Teaview: 6.5/10
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teachaspetSit back and relax because this review is full of possibly offensive and definitively controversial material. I volunteered to review Ian Bersten's new tea device and a book he had written, and, well, it's going to be a bit tougher than I thought. It is hard to review just this product without discussing some of Ian's viewpoints and the message he's trying to get out there.

For starters, I would encourage you to head on over to the website linked at the bottom of this review, click on "The tea-cha process" tab on the left of the site, and watch the video at the top so you can have the visual of how this device works. The basic idea is to use the device (known as Tea-Cha's Pet) to steep very fine-leaf teas. This is meant bring out the most flavour quickly in order to avoid any bitterness, eliminating the need for milk or sugar. He claims that it takes too long to extract the flavour from large-leaf tea, which is why it becomes bitter and needs the masking properties of add-ins. It is at this point that I begin to assume that mainstream Australian (since that's where he's from) tea culture is similar to my view of British in that they drink mostly not very good black tea with milk and sugar to mask it's not very goodness.

This whole process operates on a few assumptions, possibly the most controversial being the idea that small-leaf tea has as much flavour to release as large. I think most of us Teaviewers and readers operate on the assumption that, generally, full-leaf tea has more flavour than dust, fannings, and whatever else they put into teabags. I also feel compelled to point out that even the best teas, if treated poorly, can produce a terrible cup. If you take a fine First Flush Darjeeling FTGFOP and smash the leaves into dust, you won't get a great cup. So I have a hard time imagining how tea that looks exactly like coffee grounds can produce the best cup. Even if it was fine tea to begin with and was ground, with the exception of milled teas where you suspend rather than steeping them in water and drink the entire leaf (matcha being the most obvious example), the flavour won't be there. Once you break up the leaves, they're damaged and much of the flavour is lost. Even, hypothetically, if they didn't lose any flavour immediately, the massive amount of surface area exposed to the air would mean the leaves would age extremely quickly. But I digress. Basically, I believe this man takes his tea very seriously, but I'm not sure I can see myself approaching the beverage from the same angle he's chosen.

I received a sample of Tea-Cha's breakfast tea, so I put a teaspoon into the Pet and filled it with boiling water. After 30 seconds or so once the water finished funneling out, I filled the rest of the mug with hot water. As promised, the cup wasn't bitter, but it was quite astringent and didn't have much flavour. Thankfully, as it cooled somewhat, the tea mellowed out and became much better and more well-rounded. The astringency departed, and I was left with a cup that I would describe as not unpleasant, but nothing spectacular. The green tea sample I received was somewhat more enjoyable, but it also lacked much depth and body.

Now for an upside: It is a very clever idea for barista-style brewing, and I would certainly recommend it for commercial use if only because of how quickly it churns out a cup. Because you make a tea concentrate then add plain water to taste, it is nice for making cold tea without using up all the ice you have or if your roommate left the empty tray in the freezer. The Pet is quick and makes a malleable product, so if you want to make mixed tea drinks, it could be great to have around. As for general home use, I give you guys enough credit to think most of our readers have moved beyond this type of tea. Sure, it can produce a fine enough cup, but with the bajillions of amazing leaves, herbals, and blends out there that can't be made effectively using this device, what's the point? If you're a cool tea gadget collector, you may enjoy having it around, but I can't see it being a great day-to-day product. I'm sure I'll use mine from time to time, but I won't be dancing around singing its praises.

— To purchase Tea Cha Pet, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: K K
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One Response to “Review: Tea Cha Pet”

  1. Ian Bersten Says:

    I am the inventor. I do not challenge the review – it is a person’s review.
    However I do challenge the claim that the filter does not make a better cup of tea. I will challenge anybody anywhere – the best way to make the test is as follows.
    WEigh 2.5 ggrams of tea large leaf and then grind the same quantity into very fine tea.
    Boil water on a stove and throw the fine leaf in – for THIRTY SECONDS. The flavour release will be much greater than the same tea leaves brewed in a pot.

    Try it

    I have a new invention which will be relased soon which will knock your socks off.
    read Tea for teh 21st Century oin Kindle – the best $5 you will ever spend

    ian

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