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A loose leaf tea infuser is every tea lover’s saviour!
However, there is a wide variety of them in the market, from novelty to vintage. The purpose of this article is to walk you through some frequently asked questions by people that are brand new to tea.
- What is a loose leaf tea infuser?
- Do you need an infuser & why?
- How to use a loose leaf tea infuser?
- Where to buy a tea infuser?
Having the right infuser allows you to enjoy the flavours and teas aroma to their fullest potential, making for an outstanding tea experience.
If you often indulge in loose tea leaf brews, this is a must-have!
What is a tea infuser?
According to Wikipedia:
In other words, a tea infuser is a tool that helps you to prepare your tea quickly.
All you have to do is, fill it with your favourite loose leaf tea and place it in the tea cup or tea pot containing hot water. Afterwards, remove the infuser from the cup once the tea it’s done steeping & you are ready to enjoy!
Do you need a tea infuser & why? Why do you need a tea infuser?
The answer to the first part of the question is that it’s ultimately up to you. How you choose to steep your tea comes down to taste.
In fact, some people love them and some people think that they are “a work of Satan” (I’m not exaggerating, just do a quick search on Youtube).
The main reason for this is that some tea drinkers prefer to use a teapot instead of an infuser. Because they find them too restrictive, not giving enough room for the tea to move and fully open.
As a result, the best thing you can do is learn about the different types and test them yourself. In the end, it’s all about experimenting.
Now that we have covered that part let’s move on to why you should consider adding a tea infuser to your arsenal of tea-making supplies.
Why you need one?
The infusers restrict the tea leaves or the herbs and spices it contains, from floating freely in your brew, while also helping you capture the essence of the tea in terms of flavour and aroma.
Therefore with a high-quality tea infuser, you can sip on brews & enjoy their authentic flavour every time.
What you need to know before you buy a tea infuser.
The purpose of any good tea infuser is to allow most of the water in your mug to come in contact with the tea leaves. It will also be large enough to allow your tea leaves to expand, ultimately giving you the best tea experience.
Here are some key points you should consider when shopping for a loose leaf tea infuser.
1. Tea volume
Tea volume refers to how the tea is shaped. For example, how tightly or loosely it is twisted or curled, which affects its bulkiness—the tip amount and leaf size matter too.
Therefore, the tea volume will influence which tea infuser do you need and how do you use it
2. Size of the Infuser
If you keep in mind feature number one, “tea volume,” you will know that it’s not a matter of whether the label says that it will hold 3gr of tea, but rather a matter of the kind of tea you are planning to brew. https://www.teaguardian.com/about/standards/measurements/
Also important to keep in mind is that loose leaf tea infusers are available in various sizes and shapes, so make sure you choose the one that fits in your favourite teacup(s).
3. Amount & size of holes
More & smaller holes are better than large and fewer. This is because the holes on a tea infuser need to be small enough that tea leaves won’t fall into the cup.
Additionally, there also needs to be enough holes, so the water remains in the cup and doesn’t just flood the infuser.
This one is simple, the easier to clean, the better. The last thing you want is a tea infuser where tiny tea leaf particles get stuck.
Loose leaf tea infusers are typically made of mesh or perforated metal materials. They are most commonly made with stainless steel or silicone since these materials are heat resistant.
Stainless steel is ok as it does not influence the taste (if only used for tea), and They can have a more significant number of holes in them, or even a mesh, unlike silicon, which tends to have larger but far fewer holes
6. Lid and dish tray
Having an elegant place to set the infuser is important because, as you can imagine, when you take the tea infuser comes out, it is hot, and it is dripping. Plus with some designs, the tray will double as a lid for steeping purposes
Types of loose leaf infusers
Back in the day, the tea that the British East India company used to import was not large leaf tea. It was small tea, often referred to as Dusting fannings, and that’s the kind of tea the ball was meant for.
Some tea ball infusers have a long handle, and others have a ball-and-chain design. They tend to be typically too small to properly infuse your tea with the leaves’ full flavour.
Tea experts don’t recommend ball-style infusers, but they can make a fun collectible and are a more environmentally responsible way of brewing tea.
Brewing baskets are deep and spacious. They provide enough room for the tea leaves to unfurl, get in contact with the water and brew properly. These infusers are often included as part of teapots but can also be purchased for use on a mug.
Travel infusers enable you to brew hot tea on the go, whether you like to bring your favourite loose tea leaves to the gym or the office. Some travel infusers may be built into travel mugs.
How do you use a loose leaf tea infuser
Step 1 – Heat water
Pour water into the kettle and heat to exact temperature. It is recommended to use low mineral, spring or glacier-fed water.
Step 2 – Add your favourite tea
Pick the desired amount of your favourite tea and put it into the infuser, then place the tea infuser in the teacup.
Step 3 – Steep & remove the infuser
Afterwards, pour hot water over the tea leaves and let it steep as indicated in the instructions.
Step 4 – Savor the moment
Take a moment to be present and appreciate the character and aroma of your tea.
Where to buy & Recommendations to get started
Mug with brewing basket
Finum brewing basket checks off every box of the tea aficionado brewing needs. It fit well into multiple sizes of mugs and had a shape and size that allowed water and tea leaves to mingle with a generous fluidity.
- Keeps leaves and sediment from leaking into your cup.
- You can find it in medium and large sizes that fit cups and mugs as well as -teapots and thermoses
- It comes with a lid that becomes a handy holder for the steeper to rest in as it cools down.
- It doesn’t come in cute unicorn or manatee shapes
This teapot is beautiful and subtle and has very good quality. It’s the perfect size for one or two people. It’s surprisingly lightweight, but not fragile. It pours well and very solid construction and no spillage.
- Stove-top safe
- Good material
- Has a removable infuser
- If you remove the strainer the lid won’t fit anymore.
Best tea travel infuser
This tumbler has a double glass so when you pour in the hot water, only the inner glass walls get hot. The outer glass wall stays cool so you can hold the bottle without getting burned.
- It has everything that I was looking for
- The infuser that can switch to top or bottom (or completely taken out to put whole fruit slices)
- All parts are easy to clean
- It could have been slightly bigger to take in consideration the liquid amount and the infuser when in place.
Alternatives to a Tea infuser
Many tea lovers’ favourite is the traditional teapot because they give the tea the best ability to develop the flavour.
Some people even have a generational teapot which they pass down to their kids. The walls of the teapot are like little memory cells so each infusion will add to the experience of the infusions to come. One example are the Japanese cast iron teapots better known as tetsubin in Japan.
Although you can use a french press to brew a delicious cup of tea without fancy tools. By just adding the tea leaves to the bottom of the press and filling it with boiling water.
However, it would be best if you kept in mind that the tea will be pushed to the press’s base, where it will continue to steep into the water. The longer the leaves are allowed to steep, the more bitter the tea will be.
Just remember that when it comes to infusers you are trying to give the tea a chance to develop its full flavour profile as the tea master has intended.
Therefore, the most important is that the tea as room to expand.