I am planning on buying a new teapot soon, and I was wondering what people use to steep their tea?
Is the best way to just steep with a tea ball in the teapot, or are there better devices? I’ve seen some teapots that come with baskets, but I am planning on buying a hand crafted tea pot which does not have a basket (I am guessing baskets are not a one size fit all kind of thing).
As always, thank you for your input!
Not a tea ball. Not enough room for leaves to expand usually. :)
Better than a tea ball is a basket infuser. If you can’t find one of those to fit your pot, just steep in the pot and pour into the cup through an infuser or sieve.
True, but you can also steep in another container and strain into the tea pot. :) I have a small teapot that holds about 3 cups. I steep strong in a 2 cup measure, strain into the pot and add another cup of hot water.
Thats cool – yeah when I use my pots I brew then put into the pot but most all of my pots fit – or I should say most all of my strainers fit my pots.
I would hope that even a hand crafted one would be able to work with some strainers. Just for more options.
Is there a reason you want to let the tea leaves expand? Does it give more flavor if they do have the room to expand?
The more the leaves have contact with water, the more flavor you get. If the leaves stay curled up (especially in things like oolongs which are usually very large leaves), water isn’t reaching all of the leaf which means you are missing out on flavor.
I use my breville one touch… and for Oolong teas and Pu-erh, I use my gaiwan.
I adore my breville one touch. I use it constantly and I can say it was worth every penny – best Valentine’s Day present ever!!
Yes, it really is worth every penny. If you drink several cups of tea a day, it really is a worthwhile purchase … and I don’t know how I ever lived without it!
I know exactly how you feel! Luckily I got my breville when I was just starting to really get interested in tea (before steepster, back when shopping at teavana and not even having any way to tell my water temperature). Ha! So glad those days are behind me. Would you believe I thought teavana was the exclusive market for loose leaf tea? I didn’t even know it existed before then and I thought teavana was probably the only place that sold it! And I sure did use a tea ball…thank god my $25/2oz monkey picked oolong had plenty of room to expand in that thing! Oh, the memories…
I think tea balls are the worst steeping devices. Why are they so widespread? Steeping baskets are my favorite for western style brewing. They come in different shapes, sizes and materials so you can buy a filter to fit your pot! Some pots are too small for a filter though. Before I got my baskets, I steeped using the method my mom always used. Throw leaves into pot and add hot water. Top off the tea with more water as you drink. This only works with large leaves or if your spout has a filter. Also only works with a quality tea that won’t become bitter and astringent if left in water too long. It also helps to drink fast. :)
Alternatively, get a small single person tea pot. I have one that makes enough for a large mugful and the spout has a filter so I can brew what I want in it. I still go for larger leaf teas in it though for easy cleaning purposes.
The one that i get the most use out of is an Executive mug imported from lins ceramics.
For when i want a few cups i use this teapot:
But i also very much like one by Chantal, that i sometimes take to my friend houses or for tea tastings since it is larger. http://www.theteamerchant.net/teaware/teapots/ceramic/jasmine-teapot/
Finum makes baskets that will work in a mug or a teapot. It might not fit, but it’s worth a try. You can find them on Amazon.
My teapot is handmade as well, and I can’t find a basket that will fit it. I steep my tea in a bodum and then pour it into my teapot. The one I use is actually a coffee press, but I’ve only ever used it for tea. I guess the downside to my method is there is one more thing to clean, but I like being able to control steeping times. It also makes doing multiple steeps of a tea very easy.
Regarding the basket infuser, make sure that the openings in the mesh aren’t too big for your particular tea.
Some teas have very small solid particles that will pass right through some infusers. An example I can think of is fukamushi sencha.