By Terry Doyle
Being the tea nerd that I am, I was overjoyed to receive an Innate Tea Culture Vacuum Flask for my birthday earlier this year. In an ever-increasing world of coffee obsessives, finding an outdoor product purpose built for tea drinkers is a welcome relief.
I classify myself as a tea nerd because I will only drink loose leaf tea (the stuff in bags is generally pretty low quality), making me pretty high maintenance out on the trail. Drinking loose tea is quite a challenge when you are camping or on the road, unless you want to bring a separate pot for brewing, as well as a strainer to drain off the tea leaves. Soon, getting your Assam caffeine fix becomes a major production where going light is not an option.
The Innate Tea Culture Vacuum Flask has a removable tea steeping basket and filter cover integrated into the underside of the sipping collar. This is the first time I have seen any kind of flask accommodate loose tea. The basket and filter are made from stainless steel and snap cleanly into the ergonomic leak-proof cap.
The Innate vacuum flask acts as a tea pot to brew the tea, allowing you to easily remove and dispose of the leaves when you have hit your desired brew strength. You can brew and go, without any fuss.
The steeping basket is a generous size with large enough holes to allow the hot water to circulate freely around the tea leaves. The flask is made with premium stainless steel, using a vacuum construction, which along with the cap and directional sipping collar, can keep liquids warm up to six hours (12 hours if you want iced tea).
I have used the flask camping, hiking, even on cold bike rides, and have always been extremely pleased. The only changes I would recommend would be around the steeping basket. Once the tea has finished brewing and you want to remove the basket from the cap, it can be an exercise in burnt fingers as you attempt to wedge a fingernail into the gap holding the basket in order to detach it from the cap. A stainless steel tab or other mechanism to allow the basket to be held post brewing would be welcomed.
The other point to bear in mind is that this is an extremely efficient flask. With some bone chilling damp days in Northern California this winter, I have taken the Innate vacuum flask along with me during long rides. When you are thirsty and need a little warmth, tea can hit the spot. However, when a hot liquid is the same temperature it was coming out of the kettle an hour before, it can be tough to swallow…. literally!
Bottom Line: The Innate Tea Culture Vacuum Flask provides a great way to make high quality tea in the outdoors, keeping you warm for hours at a time.
The Innate Tea Culture Vacuum Flask retails for $16 and is available now.