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UL tea strainer NOT disposable
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Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
UL tea strainer NOT disposable on 10/09/2011 05:45:44 MDT Print View

I'm looking for a diy or market available really lightweight small reusable tea strainer. Any creative ideas?


Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
tea strainer on 10/09/2011 06:49:33 MDT Print View

a simple mesh style would probably be your lightest... or... what I use most often is a little cheesecloth baggie. These are designed for bouquet garni when making soups and stews. I take one for each person and just give them a rinse with water after I dispose of the leaves and I keep it in a ziplock bag. Eventually they will wear out and they will hold flavors if not rinsed right away, however it is not really noticeable. I do carry one extra just in case one starts to fall apart.

Here is a link...

Bouquet Garni Bags

You could always make your own with cheesecloth or loose weave muslin.

Edited to add... these seem like they'd be light and I am quite curious to how well they'd be for infusion (I like my leaves to have lots of room to steep). Silicone Tea Infusers

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 10/09/2011 06:53:34 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: UL tea strainer NOT disposable on 10/09/2011 08:25:55 MDT Print View

I've used noseeum netting as a coffee filter. Would work equally well with tea.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: UL tea strainer NOT disposable on 10/09/2011 09:01:58 MDT Print View

As Laurie points out with the cheesecloth one can make their own bag. One note - look for higher end cloth, the stuff imported from Thailand is nice, just not the cheap loosely woven junk used in crafts! It dries quickly and one can shake the leaves out.

Or you could go primitive and put the leaves in your mug and let them settle....has worked for many centuries ;-) Not so elegant but it works!

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Tea infuser on 10/09/2011 09:29:44 MDT Print View

I bought a Tuffy Steeper from The Tea Spot about three years ago and use it in the kitchen and on the trail. You can get one in a nice range of colours - easy to find when it slips down to the bottm of your pack. It works with coffee or tea, just be sure to clean it after use.Tuffy-tea-Steeper

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
Thanks all, on 10/09/2011 12:38:03 MDT Print View

Laurie Ann,I already have some cheesecloth,so I will try that and Sarah, I really like your idea of au natural....why didn't I think of it :)I'm going to try both. At home I use half of a broken mesh tea ball that fits perfectly on the rim of my favorite cups, and it's reasonably light, but doesn't fit Ti trail cup :)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Thanks all, on 10/09/2011 15:17:31 MDT Print View

I might add that I have seen some tea balls these days that are SO light! But honestly....I have done the loose leaf in the cup method and if it doesn't bother your LNT ethics to scatter (it doesn't bother mine to say the least!) you can scatter, rinse and go :-)

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Loose Leaves on 10/09/2011 16:07:01 MDT Print View

Sarah says:
"Or you could go primitive and put the leaves in your mug and let them settle....has worked for many centuries ;-) Not so elegant but it works!"

Plus you can read your fortune in the leaves!!!!

I like using loose tea leaves without a strainer/bag/infuser too - no weight, and I have a mustache (multi-use) for straining out any floating leaves!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Loose Leaves on 10/09/2011 17:40:44 MDT Print View

Fortune says "Today will be hot n' sweaty" ;-)

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
1.4 grams myog on 10/13/2011 13:19:11 MDT Print View

Materials: smallest size aluminum tubing, from the Ace hardware hobby/craft metals rack (smallest tubes come ina 3 pack). Do NOT try to find this in Home Depot, you will only get blank stares and ignorant responses. Aluminum wire, less than 1/16th inch thick. Aquarium filter bags, nylon. 1/16" drill bit and drill. Pliers, to squeeze tube ends flat and bend aluminum wire.

tea strainer in cup

how it's sewn

I was using a normal large sized tea ball, but it took too much room in my narrow pot with the other stuff in it, so I wanted something smaller. Obviously the 18 grams I saved makes no real difference to anything in the real world, but the size did. The mesh dries super fast, stick that on a rock after you dump the tea and it will be dry by the time you pack up your breakfast/dinner stuff. That's why I didn't use a cotton, plus cotton will stain and retain flavors, which is of course undesirable for teas of all types. Also, polyesters I believe should not be used in boiling water, or near boiling, too close to their melting points. Nylon mesh and nylon thread. For this prototype I used polyester thread, but for a better one I'd use nylon thread too. I researched the temp ratings of the different materials, and it turned out nylon is the only practical choice.

This mesh material is hard to sew (much harder than silnylon), and the way the stuff folds isn't intuitive, so it's worthwhile making a pinned mockup with muslin or something, I wish I'd done that. This is a raw prototype, I didn't really test the sewing tensioning, as you can see, but it works well enough for me to use it. Made this yesterday after being bugged by tea ball for a while.

Tea ball has annoying habit of opening when you pull it out, thus spilling its contents, and it also doesn't really have enough room to let tea expand and really soak in the water. I'd make the above bag bigger next time, it's easy to make new bags, just slit them, then slide them on rods.

I wanted to use titanium rods, but the local bike shop didn't have titanium spokes and finding rods is too time consuming so I just used the softer and more flexible aluminum tubing, which is super easy to work, and drill through.

I may, if I get motivated, make these for sale if I can clean up the design and sewing parts, and if I can find titanium rods, this aluminum is fine but you cannot treat it non-gently.

I believe 1.4 grams qualifies for 'really lightweight', and it is reusable, so this would meet the specs. It's tricky to make it though, the previous prototype got swallowed by my sewing machine and almost destroyed the machine, had to take it all apart to get the stuff turning again, had to pull out the ripped and shredded material with pliers, then dismantle the machine. So be careful with it.

Edited by hhope on 10/13/2011 13:39:10 MDT.

Mike D.
(mpd1690) - F
Re: Re: UL tea strainer NOT disposable on 10/13/2011 13:54:42 MDT Print View

I don't use a strainer with loose leaf in the field nor at home. I just heat the water then put in the tea. It will settle. It works.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
matter of taste on 10/13/2011 14:01:21 MDT Print View

I've never liked that, for many reasons, one, and probably primary, is that teas have an ideal steep time, too long, and it gets bitter. At least decent green teas do. Good black teas I find really are best with a few minutes steep, then remove the leaves. And some black teas tend to have pretty fine grains, that just don't taste good swirling around the cup. English breakfast, irish breakfast, earl grays are all like that to me. Plus I just dislike that last dregs of crud and gunk in the tea cup. Plus the person here is asking for a lightweight tea strainer.

At home I throw the leaves in the pot (regular, not tea pot, cleaning tea pots is a total pain in the butt that I gave up on decades ago) I boil the water in, and let it steep, then use a strainer to strain them out when pouring it into cup.

Edited by hhope on 10/13/2011 14:09:47 MDT.

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Re: UL tea strainer NOT disposable on 10/13/2011 15:00:54 MDT Print View

You could get a chakoshi from your local asian market:

They're relatively light compared to the MSR tea caddie, are stainless and don't hold odors/tastes and can double as a gunk prefilter for your water...

Edited by erdferkel on 10/13/2011 15:02:40 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Muslin "tea" bags on 11/04/2011 20:06:54 MDT Print View

Last year I found the same bags Laurie showed. I rinse 'em out after each coffee.

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
thanks again! on 11/05/2011 16:19:45 MDT Print View

Harald, that's very cool! And Tohru, that's cool too, what's it weigh?