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What is a Tea Infuser?

Loose leaf tea.
Tea infusers hold loose tea leaves and can be used for individual cups of tea.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2014
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A tea infuser is any type of device which holds loose tea leaves while brewing, allowing them to expand and steep in the water. There are many tea infuser designs ranging from tong-like tea spoons to infuser cups. In all cases, the tea infuser should only be partially filled, so that the leaves will be able to fully expand. It is also important to follow brewing directions for tea, so that you do not end up with a bitter cup of tea.

The most classic tea infuser is a tea egg or tea ball. These tea infusers are spherical or ovoid, and have two halves which are fastened together. A chain is typically attached to the tea infuser so that it can be pulled out of the cup when the tea is ready. Some tea balls are made from fine mesh, so that no tea leaf sediment escapes. Others are made with larger holes, and need to be used with a tea strainer to drain small pieces of tea leaf out. Many markets and tea supply stores have an assortment of tea eggs and balls, sometimes in fanciful decorative shapes.

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Infuser cups are also very popular, and easy to use. Typically, an infuser cup has three parts: the body of the cup, the infuser, and the lid. The tea infuser is made from ceramic, and designed to fit inside the cup. Placing the lid on the tea while it steeps enhances the flavor, and the lid can be taken off and inverted so that the tea infuser can be placed on it after the tea is brewed. Asian specialty stores often carry infuser cups, usually with decorative painted patterns out the outside. You can also obtain infuser tea pots, which work on the same principle, but make multiple cups of tea.

When brewing green tea in a tea infuser, you want water which is slightly below boiling, and you should steep for around three minutes. The easiest way to accomplish this is to pull the kettle off the heat right before it boils, or allow it to boil and then rest. Black tea can be brewed with boiling water for approximately five minutes. Herbal teas also appreciate slightly cooler water, and can be brewed for 15-20 minutes, depending on the ingredients. If the tea uses bark and roots, you may want to pull the tea infuser out sooner, as these teas can become bitter when they are oversteeped.

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Discuss this Article

candyquilt
Post 3

I like the new floating infusers. Before these came out, I had to try and pull the infuser out from the cup and often burned my hand because I don't like my tea strong and want to take out the tea leaves quickly. Or I took a spoon and tried to get it out without touching the super hot infuser or splashing the tea on me.

But now there are infusers that float on top of the water, so I can take it out without burns. And, it comes in shapes of cute animals, including a floating duck! It makes my day!

turquoise
Post 2

I saw an article about new modern tea infuser styles. I am amazed! They have come up with such unique, fun and also elegant designs for infusers and strainers.

My favorite ones from the article were strainers in the shape of a flower, a shark and a little diver. The flower one is placed in the tea cup, the infuser remains inside the cup and the flower covers the top. Not only does it look very pretty, but it acts as a cup cover as well. The shark one is in the shape of a fin, when you place it in the cup, you just see the fin as you would see the fin of a shark in water. The great part is that if you put colorful teas in it, it will look really cool as the tea is infused and releases its color.

The diver infuser is really cute too, it's in the shape of a little diver! All of these infusers are also small. I think this is a good thing because I usually end up putting too much tea and it turns out too strong or bitter. I think these infusers are the perfect size and they are so much fun. I can't wait to buy one and try it out.

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