Tea infusers are tools used to steep loose tea leaves in hot water, allowing the essences and aromas to infuse into the water to make tea. They are usually made of perforated metal, mesh, or other permeable materials that allow water to flow through while keeping the tea leaves separate from the drink.
Tea infusers are good for those who prefer to use loose tea leaves rather than tea bags, whether a personal preference in of itself or an effort to reduce tea bag waste.
They provide the convenience of easily brewing loose tea without letting the leaves get in the water. Infusers also make it simple to remove the tea leaves once the desired steeping time is reached, preventing oversteeping.
Whether you need a tea infuser is a matter of personal preference; you might prefer loose tea leaves and want to have better control over the strength and flavor of your tea, in which case a tea infuser is a great option.
However, if you prefer the convenience of tea bags, then sticking to tea bags might be your best option. In that scenario, do try to recycle tea bags and even entrust brands that utilize recycled materials to construct their tea bags.
Also, opt for chlorine-free tea bags and bags without chemicals in their composition.
These variables might be enough to make health-conscious people strongly consider utilizing loose tea leaves and therefore go with tea infusers.
Tea infusers can suit an array of loose tea types, including green tea, black tea, herbal teas, and more. The type of tea and the amount of tea in your tea infuser depends on the size of the infuser and your personal taste. A rule of thumb is this:
A teaspoon of loose tea per cup of water is a good reference point.
Do adjust accordingly, though, to suit your personal preference.
Tea infusers and tea strainers serve similar purposes, albeit there is a slight difference between them: A tea strainer is typically a mesh spoon-like utensil that strains tea as it’s being poured, whereas a tea infuser is a receptacle that entraps the loose tea leaves while they steep in the hot water.
A steeper is a term you might hear in tandem with straining or infusing tea; a steeper for tea is simply another term for a tea infuser.
While a tea steeper or infuser is the most common method for steeping tea, you can French-press loose tea as well. Also, it’s possible to brew loose tea directly in a pot and follow with a tea strainer while pouring the tea.
A tea filter, on the other hand, is a one-use (or sometimes reusable) paper or mesh bag used to contain loose tea leaves amid steeping; these are commonly what you see on store shelves in tea boxes. Oftentimes a “tea bag” or “tea sachet” is synonymous with a tea filter.
Tea filters provide a convenient option for steeping loose tea without letting the leaves float freely in the water, but, as noted above, some can contain chlorine and other chemicals and also risk adding more waste to landfills. Look for those without chlorine, toxins, and that are recyclable.
In effort to brew tea with what’s at-hand, some might try to innovate and use a coffee filter as a makeshift tea bag. It’s possible but not necessarily ideal, as coffee filters are typically intended for coarse coffee grounds and likely don’t provide the same level of flavor and aroma extraction as tea filters or infusers.