By May 30, 2007

Adagio IngenuiTEA shootout

I’ve been a big fan of online tea purveyor Adagio.com for a long time. My first order with them was a green tea starter set in August 2005. I received a sixteen ounce IngenuiTEA teapot as part of the package. The IngenuiTEA is a very handy way to make loose-leaf tea in small quantities. You add two teaspoons at the bottom, fill the plastic container with water, and wait. When your tea is done steeping, you place the IngenuiTEA atop a mug and the tea drains out the bottom. Very awesome. My friend roclar did a review of his IngenuiTEA in October of 2006, which includes a video. I didn’t notice it at the time, but we own different versions of the personal teapot.

“You have the iced tea version,” roclar mentioned to me during a visit.

“O RLY?” I replied.

“Yeah, mine is the hot tea version. It has a contoured handle and a clear base. The filter part is also different.”

I didn’t believe him, of course, so I checked it out online (sorry buddy, nothing personal). He was right — there were now two separate models, one for hot tea and one for iced tea. I have no idea why Adagio has two different teapots, but I was interested in trying out the new hotness. I ordered another sample set and waited for my “new and improved” IngenuiTEA to arrive. As of this writing, you may no longer buy the “iced tea” version in the sixteen ounce size. It’s thirty-two ounces only.

In typical Adagio fashion, my order appeared the next business day. I had ordered early EST the morning before, and I made the shipping deadline. Super fast service is one of the many awesome things about adagio.com. Anyway, I ripped open my order and immediately made a pot of tea. The newer IngenuiTEA has a plastic tube in the center that is removable for easier cleaning. My original teapot has a domed mesh bottom instead.

I eagerly poured the hot water into my new IngenuiTEA. I scrunched up my face as the filter floated up to the surface. I had made white peony tea, luckily the leaves would be big enough not to pass through the bottom of the teapot. If I was making spearmint tea this would have been a problem. The tea leaves clogged up the bottom of the IngenuiTEA and I had a difficult time extracting all of the tea. I downed the first cup and washed out the tea pot. I made sure the filter was securely attached to the bottom this time, and tried again.

Same result. Bobber filter.

I really cranked the filter down the third time. The filter stayed put, but the tea drained very slowly. At least, in my mind it did compared to the “old timer.” You are going to have to take my word for it on the floating filter thing (it happens about 30% of the time now), but I wanted to do a head-to-head shootout between my first IngenuiTEA and my new one.

I filled both tea pots with two teaspoons of white peony loose leaf tea and sixteen ounces of water. I guess I never completely measured the water out before, but sixteen ounces is the maximum amount they can hold. It’s right up to the brim. I then waited seven minutes for the tea to steep, then set them both into action. One of the annoying “improvements” to the new model is that the release mechanism on the base isn’t as wide as the older model. A mug has to be pretty big if you have fourteen ounces of tea and you want to put it in one mug all at once. The newer IngenuiTEA is good for smaller (ten ounce or less) mugs, but as you’ll see in the video the larger-capacity mugs I used are just too wide.

You can’t get the older IngenuiTEA model any more, which is a shame. It seems to outperform the newer model in every way — fits larger mugs more easily and drains faster to boot.

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Posted in: review

8 Comments on "Adagio IngenuiTEA shootout"

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  1. Ben says:

    Did you say “pwnd” at the end of the film? Awesome.

    The tea looks a bit weak in the video. Was that done after a normal seeping segment? I’m now very sad that 1) I never knew about these things and 2) it’s too late to get the old hotness and instead will have to buy a new’n’busted model…

  2. Stomper says:

    🙁 Sad. Just curious was the tea in the older version darker than the newer version or is it an optical illusion because of the background? White peony tends to be pale but the left looks paler than the right.

  3. drfaulken says:

    Yeah, I admit I did say “pwned” at the end. I couldn’t help myself; OG dealt such a crushing defeat that it was staggering.

    The tea steeped for the usual seven minutes, which is recommended for whites. I wanted to allow the tea leaves to fully expand and not bias one IngenuiTEA after the other. Keep in mind that white tea is very pale to begin with. At the very most it looks yellow-orange. If you already knew that, pardon my babbling.

    Stomper, the only thing I could think of is that I shot at an angle in the kitchen after noon, so it’s possible it’s just the sun/window glare/gremlins. The older pot also has a bit of a “patina” so to speak from being used so much.

  4. Ben says:

    I did manage to find one on ebay. It looks to be the older model (smooth handle and I can’t see the little platic nib in the center). I believe I’ll have to snag one for myself as these are just too handy for me to pass up.

    I guess I wasn’t really listening too well to hear that they were white teas 🙂 That would explain it much better.

  5. roclar says:

    There is a certain finesse for adding water to the hot tea version. Usually I start off pouring the hot water real slow down the center until the filter is fully covered and the filter will stay in place. I have also noticed the more build up the little filter guy gets, the more it wants to stay in place. Still its annoying and even though I haven’t had a filter incidents in many months, it still worries me. They need to add some additional method of locking it down like perhaps threading the filter so it can screw in or some clippies.

    I feel like the hot tea one can drain faster then the ice tea one did in the video if the entire apparatus at the bottom is pressed up on a dantier mug. The little nibby thing especially with smaller leaf teas typically allows for more circulation. See how fast it drained in my video. Thats about how fast it drains for me at work every day atop my trusty blue Sun Microsystems mug.

    That all being said, if you prefer larger mugs the hot tea guy is clearly not for you. If I had to wait as long as either of those pots to drain I might be tempted to spoon out my eyeball were a spoon handy. When my tea is done, I want it NOW!.

    I probably would have checked too. 😀 And your responses actually was “O RLY?”

  6. drfaulken says:

    Good points, roclar. I was also worried about the hot IngenuiTEA being crooked, but I depressed the bottom fully before the test to see if the rate of flow was the same, which it was.

    I am wondering if I have a messed up tea pot.

  7. roclar says:

    The next time I drag my lazy keister up to your place, I will try to remember to bring one of my functioning pots. It could be something as simple as adjust the rubber washer. Its much easier to disasseble/re-assemble with another unit beside it. If the whole ring is depressed and the filter is in place enough to prevent the leaves from getting in the hole, there is definitely something wrong.

  8. kdcat says:

    OMG, that was so sad for the new hotness. I have to agree a bit with the disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I so love my ingenuiTEA, but it is not a perfect product. The infuser does have a vested interest in rising to the top an increasing percentage of the time. I have decided to buy a new infuser, as the old floater had a visit or two with the garbage disposal. Still, the new infuser tends to rise to the occasion. I try a slow fill to reduce the floatage or I just use chopsticks to keep it in its place before adding my tea. The good news…Adagio is a great, responsive company, and seems to be highly interested in feedback. I trust they will tackle the issues and right the wrongs. Oh, and the personaliTEA teapot is a valued product as well.