Whether you enjoy multiple cups a day or you treat yourself to a new blend on special occasions, you’ll want to know how to brew the perfect tea. The tools you use to prepare a cup of tea have a significant impact on the end result, which is why it’s worth doing things properly.
The strength, consistency, and flavor of your tea will depend on whether you use a teapot, tea strainer, and/or a tea infuser to prepare it. If you’re experimenting with new blends or want to get the most out of your favorite brew, you’ll certainly need to know how to use a tea infuser, so read on to access all the information you need.
What is a Tea Infuser?
A tea infuser accompanies a teapot or teacup and is usually in the form of a ball or spoon. Most tea infusers feature mesh that allows water to travel through them but some metal tea infusers may simply be perforated, rather than featuring mesh.
Loose tea leaves are placed in the infuser before it’s added to the teacup or teapot. Once immersed, the water can flow freely around the leaves, releasing their flavor to create a flavorsome beverage.
As you might have guessed, a tea infuser plays a crucial role in preventing the loose leaves from floating into the water. Instead, they remain encased in the infuser, with only the flavor being released into the liquid.
When used with a teapot, tea can be poured directly into a cup or mug, without the need for it to be strained. Alternatively, you can place a tea infuser directly into a cup and create a single serving of tea.
Different Types of Tea Infusers
Tea infusers all work in the same way but there are different styles and designs available. When you’re learning how to use a tea infuser, it’s useful to have an idea of the various types of infusers you might come across. To familiarize yourself with the equipment you’ll need to perfect your tea-making skills, take a look at some of the different types of tea infusers that are available:
- Tea Ball
Perhaps one of the most frequently used infusers, a tea ball is usually made from metal and features a fine mesh to hold the tea leaves in. It will have a short chain attached, so that can be easily retrieved from a teapot, cup, or mug. Some teapots are sold with a tea ball already attached, but you can also buy them individually and affix them to a pot or cup.
- Tea Tong
Tea tongs look similar to a spoon but, at one end, there will be a small mesh compartment to hold tea leaves. The body of the device act as tongs, which make it easy to open and close to add and remove loose tea leaves. If you use a tea tong that’s entirely made from metal, however, do beware that the tongs can get extremely hot after they’ve been immersed in hot or boiling water.
You may already have a selection of teaspoons, but a tea-infuser-spoon is a little different. The mouth of the spoon features a compartment, that can be opened and closed manually or with a built-in device. Here, you’ll add the tea leaves before placing the spoon in a cup or mug to steep your tea. Again, metal tea-infuser-spoons can become hot when they’re used, so handle with care.
- Tea Infuser Cups and Mugs
If you regularly prepare just one or two servings of tea, a tea infuser cup or mug can save you needing to use a teapot. These devices have built-in infusers, that match the design and dimensions of the cup or mug. Instead of using a separate infuser to prepare your tea, you can simply use the attached infuser as you prepare your favorite blend.
- Tea Infuser Bottles
Great for on-the-go tea drinkers, tea infuser bottles are a great portable solution. You’ll also find tea infuser bottles that have extra compartments for infusing fresh fruit, so you can customize your drink as much as you like. As well as using a tea infuser bottle to prepare a hot drink, you can also use them to steep iced tea, so they’re extremely versatile.
Whichever type of tea infuser you decide to use, you won’t be disappointed. When you know how to use a tea infuser, you’ll find that it delivers a smooth, great-tasting serving of tea, which can be tailored to your unique tastes.
What Is the Difference Between a Tea Strainer and Tea Infuser?
Tea strainers and tea infusers are similar tools, but they’re used in different ways. Both are designed to prevent loose leaf tea from making its way into your cup, although they achieve this goal with varying methods.
When using a tea strainer, you steep loose-leaf tea in a teapot, allowing the leaves to flow freely through the pot. Then, you place a strainer over the cup, before pouring the tea through it. The tea strainer captures the leaves, preventing them from being transferred to your teacup.
Once you know how to use a tea infuser, however, you won’t need to rely on a tea strainer. An infuser allows the leaves to steep in a teapot or cup but stops them from flowing freely through the liquid. As a result, you can prepare tea using either or a teapot or teacup, without needing to strain the tea before drinking it.
Do You Need an Infuser for Loose Tea?
When preparing loose tea, you need to use a device to remove the leaves from the tea before you drink it. Although you could use a strainer, instead of an infuser, this can have some drawbacks. When using a strainer, for example, you need to steep the tea in a teapot, before pouring it into a cup or mug.
In contrast, an infuser can be used with a teapot or placed directly into a teacup. If you’re preparing just a single cup of tea, using an infuser can be far more efficient. What’s more – infusers are generally easier to clean than tea strainers, which means minimal hassle too.
How Much Tea Should I Put in An Infuser?
Knowing how much tea to add to the device is a critical part of learning how to use a tea infuser. After all, using too few leaves will result in a weak cup of tea, while adding too many could leave you with a bitter or overly flavored cup of tea.
When preparing loose-leaf tea, you should typically use one teaspoon of leaves per cup. If you’re using a tea infuser with a teapot to brew three cups of tea, for example, you would add three teaspoons of tea to the infuser.
If you’re using a tea infuser with a teacup and bypassing the teapot altogether, you would simply add one teaspoon of leaves to prepare one cup of tea. If you want to be even more precise, a single teaspoon of loose-leaf tea weighs around 2g, so you can weigh the leaves before adding them to an infuser if you choose to.
However, some tea enthusiasts recommend using two teaspoons per cup if you’re preparing yellow tea, white tea, herbal tea, or a fruit infusion. Other experts suggest adding an extra teaspoon ‘for the pot,’ when steeping tea in a teapot, which would mean adding four teaspoons of tea to the infuser to prepare three cups of tea.
Furthermore, if you’re preparing a single cup of tea, the size of the cup or mug will have an impact on how much tea you should add to the infuser. A large mug will require a larger amount of tea leaves than a smaller teacup, for example.
Tea is a drink that’s usually consumed while it’s hot, but millions of people also enjoy drinking cold versions of tea too. If you’re preparing iced tea, it’s customary to use double the amount of leaves, so two teaspoons of leaves for one cup of iced tea, six teaspoons for three cups, and so on.
Ultimately, the perfect cup of tea depends on personal preference, so don’t hesitate to experiment with how much tea you add to an infuser. If you prefer a strong, flavorful brew, you may want to add more than just one teaspoon of leaves, while tea drinkers who enjoy a more moderate flavor should find that one teaspoon of tea per cup is sufficient.
How Long Should You Infuse Tea?
When you’re learning how to use a tea infuser, it’s important to know how long you should steep your tea for. This generally depends on what type of tea you’re using, as well as your personal preference.
If you’re using white, green, or Oolong tea leaves, you should infuse them for 1-3 minutes, while black, Maté, or Rooibos leaves should be infused for a little longer, typically 3-5 minutes. Similarly, when you’re preparing herbal or fruit teas, you’ll usually want to allow the tea to steep for around 3-5 minutes, so that the full flavor is released.
Of course, the longer you infuse tea, the stronger your cup will be. Bear this in mind when you’re preparing your drink and you’ll be able to create the perfect tea to match your tastes. Again, the size of your teacup or mug will have an impact on how long you should infuse the tea for. If you’re using an infuser with a cup or mug, rather than a teapot, remember to let your tea steep for a little longer if you’re making a larger drink.
Can You Use a Tea Bag in a Tea Infuser?
Although you could add a tea bag to an infuser, this isn’t usually advisable. The leaves in a tea bag are typically much smaller than loose leaf tea, which means they are likely to escape through the mesh or holes of the infuser, into the liquid.
A tea bag is designed to act as its own, mini, disposable infuser, which means no additional apparatus is required. However, if you use a tea bag in a tea infuser, you’ll likely need to use a tea strainer to remove small particles of tea from your drink before consuming it.
How To Use a Tea Infuser Mug
As the name suggests, a tea infuser mug is simply a mug with a built-in tea infuser. It makes your tea-making more efficient and means you can brew the perfect cup of tea at any time.
Although designs can vary, most tea infuser mugs look like a standard mug with a metal mug-shaped insert. It’s this insert that is actually a tea infuser. You just need to open the clasp on the infuser to add your tea leaves, add water to the mug and immerse the infuser in the liquid for the desired time. Following this, you can remove the infuser from the mug and enjoy your perfectly prepared tea.
Remember – mugs tend to hold more water than a standard teacup, which may affect how many leaves you want to add to the infuser or how long you want to let it steep for.
What Is the Best Tea Infuser Bottle?
Once you know how to use a tea infuser at home, you may want to pick up a tea infuser bottle so that you can brew the perfect cup while you’re on the go. Tea infuser bottles work in a similar way to tea infuser mugs, they simply use a bottle, rather than a mug, as the receptacle for your drink.
As bottles tend to hold significantly more water than a single cup or mug, you can prepare multiple servings of tea when using a tea infuser bottle. However, do bear in mind that you’ll need to use more leaves and/or let the tea steep for longer if you’re preparing multiple cups in a bottle.
There are numerous tea infuser bottles on the market, so take the time to find one that best suits your needs. You’ll find tea infuser bottles available in a range of materials, including glass, stainless steel, and even recycled bamboo.
When deciding which type of tea infuser bottle is right for you, think about how you plan to use it. If you want to infuse tea on the go, for example, portability might be your top priority. If so, you may want to steer clear of glass, which can be broken relatively easily, and opt for something more durable.
In addition to this, consider what type of tea you plan to make using a tea infuser bottle. Some versions have additional space so that you can infuse fresh fruit as well as tea leaves. If you enjoy fruit teas and you want to prepare your own, choosing a dual-purpose tea bottle infuser might be your best option.
What to Use Instead of Tea Infuser
With so many different ways of preparing teas, it’s good to experiments with different methods and devices. Try your favorite blend with a tea infuser, tea bag, and tea strainer, to discover which you prefer.
Where to Buy Tea Infusers
You’ll find tea infusers in a wide range of places, from grocery stores to specialist tea shops. Of course, if you’re shopping online, you can order an infuser from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re on the hunt for an antique tea infuser or you’re looking for an eco-friendly tea infuser bottle, there are endless retailers, designs, and styles to choose from.
Find Your Favorite Blend Today
Of course, a tea infuser isn’t the only thing you need to enjoy the perfect cup of tea. When you’re learning how to use a tea infuser or practicing your technique, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got your favorite blend on hand.
At Tea India, we’re dedicated to delivering the highest quality blends to our customers. We work with some of the finest tea estates in the world to create premium teas with 100% natural ingredients and no artificial flavors.
Whether it’s loose leaf, bagged or our signature instant chai lattes, we’ve got a wide range of top-quality blends to choose from. To find your favorite blend, shop now.