Although using tea bags may be convenient, many tea enthusiasts agree that quality loose-leaf tea taste better. In addition to standard teapots, there are now several option for conveniently brewing loose-leaf tea, including teapots with infuser baskets and stand-alone infusers and then there is the tea press vary similar to the French Press for coffee.
Loose-leaf tea often taste better than bagged tea because the leaf is allowed to expand fully in the hot water, infusing a tea with a richer, more nuanced flavor. It is also more cost effective, as you are not paying for the materials that go into producing tea bags.
Using a standard teapot allows tea leaves to expand completely and to move around the pot, which allows for maximum flavor infusion. The biggest problem here you will need to separate the tea to prevent over-steeping and unless your pot has a built in strainer you will need a strainer to separate your tea and tea leafs.
Many new tea pots come with a removable infuser basket that rest on the mouth of the teapot. You simply add tea leaves to the basket and pour hot water into the teapot. Teapots with infuser’s baskets do not require you to have a separate strainer for pouring tea out of the teapot. One of the advantages to this type of teapot is once you can remove the infuser basket to prevent over-steeping. The disadvantage is in an infuser basket may not allow the tea leafs to fully expand while the tea is steeping. The one thing you will need is a separate dish for your infuser basket, because it will be dripping when it comes out of the teapot.
If you are only making a cup of tea a great way to do this is to use a stand-alone infuser, which sits on the rim of the teacup or mug. Just put your leaves in the infuser, pour hot water over the leaves, and steep. When the tea has infused, removed the basket and enjoy your tea. These teacup infuser are very portable, which makes them great for traveling.
A tea press works like a French press coffeepot; just put in tea leaves in the pot, add hot water, place the lid on the top, and steep. When it is time to decant the tea, push down the press and pour out the tea. Make sure you don’t squeeze the tea with the press, as this will release bitter compound into the tea which will give it a bitter taste. Just push the press to just above the tea leaves.
The advantages to using a tea press: You will not need a separate strainer for the tea, the mesh screen on the tea press is fine enough to strain out very small particles, you don’t have to remove dripping infuser baskets, and there is no concern about spout clogging. A tea press is usually made out of glass, however they do not travel well and are best saved for using at home. Although you can use your French press coffeepot for making loose-leaf tea in the press. Make sure you clean out the coffee residue from the pot, as it will spoil the scent and flavor of your tea.
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