There are many different gadgets and items that tea lovers can use when making the perfect brew. Today, we're going to talk about something that's really gained popularity over the years: tea infusers. Our guide is designed to help you learn how to use a tea infuser, while also answering some of the common questions surrounding this item. By the end, you should be an expert on all things revolving around tea infusion and tea infusers!
What is a tea infuser?
A tea infuser is a general name for many different products that do the same thing. They're a type of tea-brewing product that lets you hold the tea inside a vessel, with tiny holes allowing the flavor to seep out into the water as it brews.
Effectively, tea infusers all hold tea leaves that can be steeped when brewing tea. The idea is that you place the tea inside the infuser, submerge it in water, and let the flavors slowly release over a few minutes. You can get things like tea balls, tea eggs, brewing baskets, and even small little cotton tea filters. All of these things fall under the category of tea infusers as they work the same way.
How do you use a tea infuser?
It's actually very easy, and it begins with you choosing your tea infuser. As seen above, you have plenty of different products that are classed as infusers. Still, each one will let you place a certain amount of tea inside it. So, that's your next step: place some loose tea inside your infuser. The amount you put in will be down to personal preference and the size of the infuser.
From here, you place the tea infuser into a cup or teapot, pouring over hot water. Boiling hot water isn't recommended as you can burn the tea leaves and ruin the flavor. So, let it settle for around 30-45 seconds after boiling, then pour over the tea infuser. Now, it's just a case of letting the tea steep. Taste the tea, then remove the infuser if you're happy with the flavor - that's all there is to it!
Here's a brief summary to break it down for you in steps:
- Fill your tea infuser with tea
- Place it in a cup or teapot and top with warm or boiling water
- Let the tea release its flavors via the infuser and steep for 2-5 minutes
- Remove the tea infuser and enjoy your drink
How long should you infuse tea?
The exact time you spend steeping will depend on a series of factors. Clearly, the longer you steep, the stronger your tea will be. It will also bring out more tannins and caffeine in tea, giving a slightly more bitter taste. Of course, if you brew too quickly, your tea is bland and will have no flavor.
As a very general rule, anywhere between 2-5 minutes is fine. However, you should also check the instructions on the back of your tea packet, as it usually tells you the optimal brewing time for those specific tea leaves. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference and there's a lot of trial and error involved. If you infuse your tea for 2 minutes one time, try upping it to 3 minutes the next time. See if you notice a difference, then either increase or decrease the infusion time when you make the tea again. Soon, you'll figure out the perfect infusion duration based on your own taste preferences!
What is the difference between a tea strainer and a tea infuser?
Many people confuse tea strainers and infusers, but they're fundamentally different products. As we've established, tea infusers are used as a vessel to carry tea leaves. When steeped in water, the infuser releases the tea's flavor via small holes. By contrast, a strainer is simply used to catch loose tea when pouring your brew. Here, you steep the loose tea leaves in a pot or cup, letting them naturally infuse and float around in the water. When you pour, the strainer catches all the leaves and stops them from entering your cup. So, it means you can enjoy a freshly brewed cup of tea without bits of tea leaves floating around in your mug!
Do you need an infuser for loose tea?
Not necessarily, though it is an excellent method to brew loose tea. You could also choose a selection of other methods to brew loose tea - including the tea strainer one mentioned above. Another popular idea is using a French Press to brew your tea, as it comes with a built-in filter that basically acts like a tea strainer when you pour.
However, if you're making a cup of tea for one person, tea infusers are the best option for loose tea. In essence, they let you construct your own tea bag, only you can dispose of the loose tea and reuse the infuser over and over again.
Can you use a tea bag in a tea infuser?
Yes, though it would be a bit strange! With a tea bag, you've pretty much got a disposable tea infuser. The bag itself is the infuser, letting the tea's flavor infuse into the water without letting any loose tea spill into the drink. Theoretically, you could stick a bag inside an infuser, but you'd just have two different barriers for the tea flavorings to pass through. It would work, it's just a bit pointless.
You could also cut a tea bag open and pour the contents into the infuser. Again, this is kind of pointless, and some tea bags have very finely ground tea that would pass through the infuser's holes. So, you're better off just using loose tea with a tea infuser!
Tea infusers are a popular brewing method that you're more than welcome to try. Hopefully, this guide helps you understand them and how to use them! If you're interested in a slightly more convenient method of making delicious tea, we have a variety of flavorsome tea bags available on our website. From cold brews to hot brews, our sweet teas are guaranteed to put a smile on your face!