Travel Tea Infusers
How we tested
For tea aficionados who want to make a loose-leaf beverage but don’t have time to wait for it to sit and steep on busy mornings, travel tea infusers offer a solution. These double-insulated mugs use either a removable or a retractable metal basket that holds the tea leaves, so you can brew, and drink, on the go. But do any work? We tested four models priced from $15.99 to $22.99. Three used brew baskets that had to be removed manually in order to stop brewing. That meant that we had to open the lid, remove the basket, and find somewhere to discard hot, wet leaves while contending with an open mug of hot tea. Worse, the same three mugs did not hold up in transit, dripping tea during bumpy commutes due to poor seals and leaky lids. And knowing that we all let our mugs slip once in a while, we dropped the full mugs from waist height onto the pavement. While a stainless-steel model survived, one model broke on the first drop and another shattered on the third. As for the fourth mug, flipping a lever lifts this mug’s basket and tucks it under the lid, out of the water. This mug survived shaking and tossing, and we appreciated its microwave- and dishwasher-safe design. But it, too, was flawed: The thin latch on the brewing basket came loose a few times when we used the lever to lift it, releasing the leaves into the brew. We’re still looking for a travel mug that can reliably make loose-leaf tea.