Best Tea Infusers?
Hello all, I hope this topic hasn’t been covered already. I did a search of the forums and didn’t find exactly what I was looking for. I’m in need of a tea infuser and would like to get your input on the best brands/types.
When I first started drinking loose tea, I used Adagio’s Ingenuitea as my method of infusion, but I lost the infuser that comes with the pot after a big move. In the past two years, I’ve been using a tea strainer that fits over the top of a mug. I typically make 1-2 cups at a time, so there’s no need for a teapot right now. I use an electric kettle to heat water and then pour that over the tea held in the strainer above the mug.
The reason I want to buy a new tea infuser is because the tea strainer I use right now is just one we had lying around that no one in the house uses (I think it came with a Tazo gift set that someone was given?). The strainer is very small and shallow, and a lot of tea leaves fall into the tea after steeping (especially with oolongs, which I’ve just started trying).
I’ve never bought a tea infuser/strainer, so I don’t know what’s best. I do know I’m not a fan of the tea balls or any infuser that closes because I’ve noticed tea tastes better when it’s been able to move around a bit during steeping. But here are my shopping questions:
1) Is there a particular type of infuser that works best with black teas versus oolongs, greens, whites, etc.? I.e. should I buy two or more, one for each type of tea?
2) How deep should the tea infuser be? I’ve seen ones that are “deeper” in that they go down further into the cup, whereas the one I have now basically just sits at the top with very little depth.
3) How big should the tea infuser be? With the oolongs, I’ve noticed that the leaves expand a lot during a first steeping but don’t have a lot of additional room to move around in subsequent steeps (not sure if that’s normal and/or how it should be).
Any tips on brands, types, etc. would be most helpful, especially easy-to-clean options.
Oolongs should be the largest of all the loose leaf teas you brew, I can’t understand why those would fall through and not others. And yes they will expand a lot. In a traditional small chinese tea pot or gaiwan they won’t “move around” but will expand and often take up the full pot,
If the Adagio Ingenuitea is the one I think: a high quality plastic jar larger than a cup that sits on top of the teacup, it would allow the best brewing capacity for all your teas. Why not get another of those? A mesh strainer will always be smaller and allow less room for the leaves to expand, and since most are uncovered, will allow heat to escape. Sometimes the leaves on top will not get enough water exposure or heat.
We sell what we call a ‘gravity infuser’ that is quite large (up to 20oz) with the upper portion being larger for more tea expansion. It’s $20, comparable to other vendors, however, we are having a steepster sale (if you saw my other post).
Get 15% off using code “steepsterdeal” so you can get it for $17.
Personally (whether you get it from us or somewhere else), this is what we use on a daily basis. Just makes things that much easier.
I have had the Teavana version of that type of infuser for years and I really like it. I think every large tea company carries a similar product now. The only difference I can tell from one brand to the next is the shape. Most are about the same size and a couple of places sell an extra large version. Looks like most are around $20.
Going with the large, enclosed infuser does make sense, especially if it will work for all teas, so I’ll be on the look out for one of those.
Thanks for your input, everyone!
Get the largest infuser that will fit in your mug/cup or, better yet, get a mug with a wide rim to hold a large infuser. The infuser should have very small holes so that you can brew crushed leaves and rooibos without getting bits in your mouth. I brew directly in a large 16 oz. glass mug using a large-size infuser basket from Teavana. All steel, no mesh; easy to clean (no sharp edges); rubberized rim so you won’t burn your fingers; comes with a nicely fitting lid and also fits in a teapot. No, I don’t work at Teavana, but I have used a variety of infusers and IMHO this one is the best. They also sell a smaller capacity infuser similar to mine, but a larger area for the leaves seems to yield a better brew.
David’s Tea has some nice infusers and strainers. As one of my Christmas presents from my Aunt, I got a small tea pot with a metal strainer that is terrific. (The QTea pot.) very little escapes from it! (I suspect regardless of what you use, some tea is bound to escape.) As far as I know, most types of teas would fit with most strainers and infusers, though of course like FoolongTheHill mentioned it depends on the size. The only infuser I got from Teavana is my ceramic cup/infuser/lid that I got from my Dad for Christmas.) Ascetically I love it, but the a fair amount always escapes depending on how tiny the pieces are.
You say that you brew tea just for yourself, right? Then you could also use a small teapot. I have a small kyusu to brew just one cup of tea (mostly green) each time and it works great!
Teapots retain heat better, and look much nicer than strainers. But it’s really up to you.
The Finum gold basket is my favorite. Here is a link:
The mesh is super fine, so very little ever goes through & settles on the bottom of the cup.
But most importantly for me, it is deep. I find that so many of these basket-type infusers are just too shallow. I end up having to make a much larger cup of tea than I want, just get the level of water in the mug to reach the basket. But not with this one- it has good depth. Plenty of room for leaves to unfurl.