Tea infusers are handy gadgets that make brewing a cup of loose leaf tea a million times easier. These tools are designed to contain the tea leaves while allowing them to expand and infuse flavor completely. They make it easy to remove the leaves when the steeping time is over.
While it's a no brainer to have a tea infuser on hand, it can be hard to figure out which one is best for your needs. Here, we've put together a guide to help you choose the best tea infuser for your brewing style.
There are many different types of tea infusers and choosing the right one depends on how you like to brew tea. Some infusers are best suited to brewing large batches while others a better for single cup brews.
A basket infuser is a larger tea strainer that typically sits atop the rim of a teacup or a teapot. These infusers are often included as part of teapots, but can also be purchased for use on a mug. Baskets allow the loose tea to fully infuse flavor by ensuring the leaves have enough room to fully expand. They are also easy to remove and rinse out. Depending on their construction, these strainers can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher.
Infuser baskets are often the preferred choice of tea lovers and tea masters. That's because they offer the most space for leaves to fully expand, thus resulting in high-quality flavor. Use brewing baskets to brew fine tea and expensive teas to truly enjoy the layered and nuanced flavors.
A tea pincer is a handy tea infuser that features a ball on one end and a spring-loaded handle on the other. When the handle is squeezed, the ball opens to allow for easy filling with tea leaves. The ball is then placed in a cup of hot water to infuse the tea. These tea tools are best for single cup brews and can be used for multiple infusions.
Tea balls are similar to tea pincers and again are best for brewing one cup of tea or multiple infusions. The difference is that tea balls are attached to a chain rather than a sturdy handle. The chain often features an end piece that prevents it from falling into the hot water.
A stainless steel mesh strainer is a useful tool for brewing multiple cups of tea or iced tea. The infuser features a large wire-mesh basket that is placed over a teacup or a large glass pitcher. The tea concentrate and leaves are then poured over the strainer, easily separating out the leaves from the liquid. These strainers are useful when brewing multiple types of tea or when using whole spices such as for masala chai.
Travel infusers enable you to brew hot tea on the go, whether you like to bring your favorite loose tea leaves to the gym or the office. Travel infusers may be built into travel mugs or can come as collapsible tea strainers. Since many are built into travel mugs, they work to infuse tea while the insulated mug keeps the tea warm. Collapsible strainers are compact and fold down into tiny tools that you can slide into your pocket or bag. These types of strainers are obviously best for people who want to brew tea while on the move.
Tea infusers can be made from a variety of materials ranging from stainless steel to bamboo. These materials have benefits and drawbacks that can help you further choose the perfect strainer.
Stainless steel is one of the most durable materials when it comes to teaware. Stainless steel infusers won't rust and are dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze. These tools can also withstand thousands of uses without harming the integrity of the product. Stainless steel tea infusers are best for people who want a durable tea tool they can use for years to come. One drawback is that stainless steel strainers may add a slight metallic taste to some types of teas.
Bamboo is a popular favorite among people who enjoy Chinese teas. The bamboo absorbs the flavor and color of teas over time and should only be used to brew one type of tea. Bamboo is also a great choice for people who like to brew blooming teas in glass teapots as they add a warm, visual component to the brewing process. Bamboo is most commonly used in brewing baskets.
Silicone is an increasingly popular option among tea drinkers. The silicone is environmentally-friendly and can be reused thousands of times. It's important to choose a silicone infuser that is BPA-free and free of harmful chemicals so make sure to purchase from a reputable brand. The silicone design means that these loose leaf tea infusers can come in thousands of designs from scuba divers to dinosaurs and dogs.
The downside of these tea makers is that tea particles can get stuck in the venting holes and may be difficult to remove. The silicone may also alter the flavor of fine teas such as white tea and can add a touch of artificial notes that many experienced drinkers do not enjoy.
Many people opt for tea bags because of their ease of use. That doesn’t mean that loose tea brewing has to be complicated or messy. Teaware like tea infusers can help to make your life easier without sacrificing high quality tea flavors and health benefits. You can choose from heat-resistant strainers, built-in tumbler strainers, and tea infuser sets depending on how you like to drink tea.
Tea making should be fun and the right tea tools make the job much easier. Use this guide to find the best tea infuser for your needs and whip up the perfect cup of tea whether you like oolong tea, black tea, green tea, or an herbal tea like rooibos. Brewing tea is a breeze when you spend the time to find the right tools for your style.