Quafe said

Steep or press?


I drink mostly loose-leaf black tea, and for the longest time I’ve brewed my tea in an ordinary pot without any sort of strainer to separate leaves.

Now I’d really like to get myself a decent pot, and the question of steeping vs pressing came up. The choice is essentially down to a Bodum Marcel press (http://www.bodum.com/no/en-us/shop/detail/10452-16/) and a Bodum Chambord pot (http://www.bodum.com/no/en-us/shop/detail/1922-16-6/) with a metal basket.

My understanding is that with a press you run a risk of making the tea too bitter, whereas by letting the leaves steep “loosely” it takes longer to brew.

I’m fine with either option, to be perfectly honest, but I’d still like to hear people’s opinions.

12 Replies
AnnaEA select said

I’ve had teas both ways, and never really noticed a big difference. I prefer to steep myself, just for aesthetic reasons. I like to be able to watch the tea leaves.

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I prefer steeping vs pressing. For some teas the leaves are just too delicate to squash in a press. The flavor is definitely affected when that is the case.

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Angrboda said

Sounds to me like you’ve already got a decent pot. If I were you, I would buy a cup-sized strainer to pour through instead. :)

All these expensive presses and gravity steepers and what have you are far too gimmick-y and gadget-y for me. A simply china pot, a small strainer to pour through and a large strainer to rinse the used leaves out into is all I need. (It pays, however, to not buy the cheapest strainers you can find thinking ‘a strainer is a strainer’. I used to buy the cheap ones and they kept rusting. Current small strainers cost me about 7 times as much as the cheap ones, but they are now a couple of years old and no sign of rust.)

So if I had to choose either of the two you mentioned, I’d go for the latter.

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boychik said

steep and strainer. i like extra fine mesh.

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K S said

For most of my brewing I use an inexpensive Bodum coffee press from Starbucks. http://store.starbucks.com/recycled-coffee-press-by-bodum-4-cup/011024658,default,pd.html?start=6&navid=coffee-presses

What I like about it is the clear glass allows me to watch the leaf during steeping. The leaf floats free in the carafe. I almost never bother pushing the stainless steel plunger down (it just isn’t necessary to do so) but even when I do, it does NOT go all the way to the bottom, so no leaf is harmed or actually pressed. It does an excellent job for me.

Both of the pots you have shown are more attractive but neither allows good visibility of the leaf. Maybe that is not important to you. The first one concerns me that it does not appear the filter will drain completely – unless the bottom has a screen. I would check that feature out closer.

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Both of your choices are great options! With a press, typically you would steep your tea fully before pressing. This allows the tea to unfurl and release its flavor and healthy nutrients. Once pressed, the leaves should not continue to steep since the leaves will no longer have contact with the water as the bottom of the basket does not have holes. An alternative press pot would be one that you can lift the strainer basket out of the water once you have steeped for the desired amount of time. http://everythingfortea.com/product/ovente-glass-tea-maker/

With the Bodum Chambord model (which is lovely!), you would need to remove the infuser basket once your tea is fully steeped.

A bit of convenience is offered with a press as you can add your water and proceed back to your desk or dining table without having to wait to remove your infuser basket. That could be something to tip your decision! Good luck!

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Uniquity said

I really don’t like presses, but it’s a personal thing. I prefer to steep with a big infuser and then pour off.

Or I use a strainer in a mug and put the used strainer on a plate or in another glass.

Also, I thought those were going for around $500 CAD. That was quite a moment.

Uniquity said

Whoa. Just did the exchange rate.

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i just on the lazy side. Steeping requires no work :)

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cteresa said

Don´t press! Touch the leaves as little as possible, the more broken they are (even if it´s before steeping) the faster the bitter compounds will pass on to the water and the more bitter, relatively to other flavour compounds, the tea will be.

Press pots really are meant for coffee…

Tea should have plenty of space for the agony of the leaves to happen freely.

A normal tea pot, any pot, with a strainer is fine. A gravity infuser is kind of a refinement on that, particularly useful if you are making tea for just one person, or if you are a rooibos fan – for me it´s totally worth it because it really strains very finely and I find it convenient, but if you are making large leaf tea, any strainer will do.

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Anlina said

I can’t say I’ve ever noticed a difference in taste between pressing or steeping, though it’s been a long time since I’ve used a press, since the one in this home gets used for coffee these days.

I usually only make one cup at a time, so having a steeping basket I can put into a mug works great and cuts down on dishes.

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