A lot of it is personal preference and availability, but what is your fave way to steep tea? As you can see, I have quite a variety of tea steeping accessories in my kitchen. My steeper and the infuser like the one on the left get the most use depending on the type of tea and how lazy I am.
How to Steep Tea – Tea Balls, Tea Bags & Small Infusers
Tea Balls can be good and bad. I rarely use mine. I moved in the summer and had to go hunting for these, that is how little use they get. This 3 inch tea ball gets occasional use for my big latte mug but I find small tea balls like the ones found in grocery stores or even Teavana just do not allow the tea to move and expand.
Tea Bags are great – for tea that comes in bags. For personal use, I find them kind of messy and the tea doesn’t steep as well as in an infuser. There isn’t space for it to move in even larger tea bags.
As cute as the designs are, and I have a few including the peeing man, the silicone shaped infusers are a waste of time for me. They have handles so are slightly less messier than bags or balls but they are often very small and there is no space for the tea to move or expand.
How to Steep Tea – Infusers
While I love my steeper, it is a pain to clean so mug infusers are my go to. I have quite a collection of them but the ones that come in tea mugs are generally my favourite. Look for ones with holes that are small enough that you won’t get tea (especially rooibos) in your cup but large enough to allow the flavour, especially toffee/chocolate to make its way into the tea mug.
The ceramic one comes from a smaller cup and I often find that tea will escape the infuser while the mesh one comes from a travel mug and is covered so any spillage doesn’t make tea fall into the cup. I have a slight preference for the one from the mugs from Chapters-Indigo. The mugs are cheaper than the tea stores and the holes are the perfect size.
DAVIDsTEA also sells infusers like the snowflake one I bought earlier this month. They are a little smaller than the mug infusers but a good choice if you want the benefit of an infuser but a little more travel friendly and stirrable. If you are moving up from using the smaller and cheaper options, it is a good entry level choice – especially if you get one after the holidays when they go on sale.
(Latte mug and Rise & Shine mugs can be found at President’s Choice stores and are super affordable. I paid $8 plus tax for the two mugs.)
How to Steep Tea – Steeper / Perfectea Makers
I will say that in general, steepers make the best cuppas but I find I reach for my infusers more as they are easier to clean. I can bang one gently to dispose of tea while I worry I will break my steeper doing it. This means I end up flushing more tea. The larger size means even unfurling teas like Ruby Oolong can expand and the flavours fully steep into the water.
The tea spreads out and the fine mesh catches it all once you release it into your mug. My latte mug is too wide for either my Steeper or Perfectea Maker so I need to either pour it into a smaller mug first or hold up the release mechanism with my fingers. (Tea shown in steeper is DavidsTea Snow Day.)
It is much easier to empty when the tea is still wet and you need to be careful to put it back together exactly as it comes when doing a full wash or it leaks. Many people have a preference between Teavana’s Perfectea Maker and DAVIDsTEA steeper but I reach for either. The shape of the Teavana one means it is a little easier to handle though.
Basically, the more space you give your tea, the better it will taste. What is your fave way to steep tea?