ZENS Pi Travel Tea Set Review

I'm basically the curmudgeon of the tea world.

Whenever I see a Kickstarter for some overblown gadget that supposedly makes tea brewing easy, all it seems to do is over-mystify a hobby that is already associated with snobbery or complication. In my opinion all you need is a Finum tea basket,  a gaiwan (dude, it's just a bowl with a lid!), or a simple teapot. That's it. 

When I saw the ZENS Pi Travel Tea Brewer on Amazon I rolled my eyes and thought "here we go again." However, there was something simple and approachable that perfectly fit my need for an all-in-one brewer for work. At work I don't want to go all out with a tea table, or be sloshing water around with a gaiwan. I've been using my Libre infuser, but I've been finding it increasingly difficult to clean thoroughly due to the long brewing chamber and small crevices near the strainer.

 The ZENS Pi Travel Tea Set

The ZENS Pi Travel Tea Set

When looking for a brewing vessel there's really just a few things I'm interested in:

  1. Large brewing chamber for expanding leaves
  2. Small/sleek design to keep desk clutter down
  3. No moving parts
  4. Easy to clean

I was extremely wary about item #3 since I have had bad luck with Adagio IngenuiTEA brewers leaking from not holding their seal and I don't really feel the need for them with gongfu preparation.

 Already overwhelmed with the number of pieces that make up the ZENS Pi

Already overwhelmed with the number of pieces that make up the ZENS Pi

What pushed me over the edge in ordering the ZENS Pi, and breaking Rule #3, is that there is only one part - a button that moves a plastic widget to poke up a single ball bearing. I'm not stoked about the plastic widget but the single ball bearing seemed like a genius solution.

 Widget that connects to the button and pushes up the ball bearing

Widget that connects to the button and pushes up the ball bearing

 Ball bearing rests in the indentation made out of silicone

Ball bearing rests in the indentation made out of silicone

After doing some trial runs here's the TL;DR review:

PROS:

  • Modern, all-in-one design
  • Large, easy to clean brewing chamber and filter
  • Clever ball-bearing device that does not leak
  • Double-walled cup portion

CONS:

  • Plastic arm that connects to the button makes me nervous about longevity
  • The lip of the cup portion is slightly awkward to drink from
  • The lid of the brewing portion does not fit snugly

In conclusion, I think this is still an excellent solution for my work needs and I really love how it's easy to thoroughly clean it.