Tea steeping is an art form. There are many different methods, and everyone seems to have their own tried and true. So is there one best way to steep tea? Seasoned tea drinkers will often agree: tea infusers produce the highest quality tea.
What Is a Tea Infuser?
Tea infusers are devices that act as a brewing basket, allowing you to put loose leaf tea leaves directly into the water. This way, you can avoid having to strain the leaves, and you get more flavor out of your tea than you would with tea bags. You also have better control over the infusion time, which reduces the chance of a bitter cup of tea. With tea infusers, you can even brew multiple cups of tea at a time.
New tea drinkers, however, may find this steeping method a bit daunting. There are many different kinds of tea infusers, and the process utilizes loose leaf tea, which those new to tea may find more difficult to work with than tea bags. Our infusers were designed to be incredibly easy to use and brew anything anywhere.
Interested in learning more about tea infusers? We've got you covered with all of the basics to start brewing like a pro.
How a Tea Infuser Works
A basic infuser consists of a small mesh cage, or brewing basket, that holds tea leaves while surrounding water runs through them or sits with them in a mug or cup. The unit has a bottom, sides, and a top with holes in each section for water to pass through. While the overall design is similar across-the-board, infusers come in many different materials and shapes.
The infuser is then placed into the mug or cup filled with hot water. When the water makes contact with the tea leaves, their flavor soaks and brews the tea. A good quality tea infuser will allow enough room for the tea to expand as it soaks. As the leaves unfurl, their surface area expands to make the greatest possible contact with the water. This is why infusers ensure a potent tea. After the leaves have soaked long enough in hot water, they are removed from the device so that they can be enjoyed.
The right tea infuser is one that suits the kind of tea you're drinking, but also has the right sized holes for a proper brew. That's why Mosi's portable tea infuser/travel mug comes with several different mesh strainers to correctly brew the different teas or coffee you enjoy.
Different Kinds of Tea Infusers
There are many different kinds of tea infusers that can be used to brew your favorite tea.
A basket infuser is a large tea infuser that fits in the rim of a teapot or mug. Tea drinkers enjoy basket infusers because they are spacious, allowing loose leaf tea to have room to expand while it brews. This provides a greater depth of flavor. An issue that may be presented with basket infusers is not enough holes for water to properly transfer in and out of the basket.
A tea pincer looks a bit like a children's toy. It has a tea ball on one end, and a springed handle on the other. When you squeeze the handle, the ball opens for you to put your favorite loose leaf tea inside. You then would place the entire ball in a hot cup of water to brew. Tea pincers are easy to clean and great for a single cup of tea.
Fine Mesh Strainer
A stainless steel mesh strainer is similar to a basket infuser. It is a large wire-mesh basket that is placed over a teacup or pitcher. Instead of putting your loose leaf in the strainer like you do with a pincer, you pour tea tea and liquid over the strainer. Tea drinkers enjoy fine mesh strainers when making teas that include several whole spices, like a chai tea.
Travel infusers enable you to brew hot tea on the go. Travel infusers sometimes come as collapsible strainers, but may also sit inside a portable mug, like Mosi. In the case of a portable mug, the insulated mug keeps the water hot while the infuser insert brews the tea on-the-go.
There are many different kinds of materials used to make tea infusers, and each comes with different pros and cons.
Stainless steel is incredibly durable and often are viewed as the best of tea infusers. Stainless steel infusers sturdy are dishwasher safe, and unlike traditional metal, will not rust. The greatest pro of a stainless steel infuser is its durability. These tools can often last for years, even in the case of frequent usage.
One downside is that lower quality stainless steel strainers may add a slight metallic taste to some types of teas.
Bamboo is often used to brew Chinese teas in glass teapots. The issue with bamboo infusers is that, over time, bamboo absorbs the flavor of the tea it brews. This means that it should really only be used for brewing one kind of tea.
Silicone infusers are known to also withstand the test of time. The main possible issue with silicone infusers is that they may contain BPAs, so it is critical to purchase a high-quality, BPA-free certified infusers, like ours!
The one downside of silicone infusers is that the tea particles can get stuck in the holes a bit more easily than other materials, which may just mean an extra few seconds of washing is necessary.
Beyond the material used to make the infuser itself, there is also the material used to make the mug piece of a portable infuser like Mosi. Many portable mugs like Mosi are made out of glass, metal or plastic, each which may present different downsides, from durability to shatter resistance and BPA content. Mosi's is uniquely made out of Tritan, a durable material used to make baby products and medical devices. Mosi's Tritan is BPA-free, double-walled to ensure insulation, and see-through like glass without the risk of shattering or denting like a metal infuser. The All in One Infuser even has multiple sieve attachments so you can brew matcha, coffee, hot chocolate, and even tea infused cocktails.
Guide to Using Your Tea Infuser
Tea infusers are a great way to make tea. They come in all shapes and sizes, making them perfect for any type of tea drinker. Whether you like iced tea or hot tea, there is an infuser that can help you make the perfect cup.
Here is how to use a tea infuser correctly:
How Much Water and Tea To Use for Each Kind of Tea
Depending on the type of tea, the amount of water you should use varies.
White: 1 tsp per 8 oz.
Green: 1 tsp per 8 oz.
Black: 2 tsp per 8 oz.
Oolong: 1 tsp per 6 oz.
Herbal Infusions: Use 1 tsp of dried herb mixture (not tea leaves) per 8 oz water (adjust for taste).
- Cold Brew: Add double the amount of tea.
Water temperature is also important with tea brewing because it affects how various compounds in the leaves are released into the cup. Here is the ideal water temperature for each kind of tea:
White Tea: 175-185ºF | 85ºC (noticeable steam)
Green Tea: 175-185ºF | 85ºC (noticeable steam)
Red/Black Teas: 200-212ºF | 100ºC (rolling boil)
Oolong Teas: 180-190ºF | 88ºC (noticeable steam)
Herbal Teas: 175-185ºF | 88ºC (noticeable steam)
How Long To Steep
There is no uniform rule for steeping time across all types of teas like there is for coffee. The length of time depends on which type of tea you are brewing and your personal preference.
Generally speaking, white, green, and light oolong teas need less time than black, oolong, and dark oolong teas. The latter group can generally be brewed longer without becoming bitter. Here are some guidelines for steeping times by tea type:
White: 1-3 minutes
Green: 3-5 minutes
Oolong: 2-4 minutes
Black: 2-5 minutes (longer brewing time results in fuller flavor)
Herbal Tea: 3-5 minutes (longer brewing time also works well)
If you're making cold brew, we recommend using the Mosi Tea Cold Brew Infuser and placing it upside down in the refrigerator overnight.
How To Clean the Tea Infuser
The tea infuser is essential in making the perfect cup of tea or coffee. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to clean out completely. Here are some quick and simple steps on how to clean the tea infuser:
Boil Water: Fill a pot with water and place your tea infuser in there for about five minutes. The boiling water will soak through the loose leaves in your infuser, exposing them to oxygen and allowing them to oxidize, which makes cleaning much easier later on.
Open Lid and Dump Out Leaves: After letting your infuser sit in boiling water for a few minutes, take it out carefully and dump out any excess leaves that have been loosened up.
Wash With Soap and Water: Take your tea infuser to the sink and scrub off any remaining tea leaves using a dish soap solution. The more you wash, the easier it will be later on, so don't be afraid to really get in there! Make sure that no little pieces are left behind because they can end up affecting flavor or even molding inside your infuser. Let dry once finished washing.
Rinse With Vinegar and Water: After letting your infuser dry for a few minutes, take it back to the sink and mix up some water with vinegar (about an 80/20 mix). Place your infuser in there for about three minutes, then dump out the mixture. Rinse, then let it dry. Avoid touching the vinegar solution with your bare hands because it can irritate the skin.
Fill With New Tea Leaves: Now that your tea infuser has been cleaned, you are ready to use it again! Before placing it in hot water, make sure that you fill every little hole up completely so that no old leaves get into your fresh cup of tea or coffee!
What To Avoid in a Tea Infuser
There are dozens of different styles for tea infusers — from simple balls with holes in them to more complicated shapes featuring arms and feet! While many types can be effective at brewing a good cup of tea, there are certain ones that shouldn't be used.
Here's what you should avoid when selecting a tea infuser:
Potentially Toxic Materials
Anodized aluminum is suspected of interfering with mineral absorption and may also be carcinogenic. It's frequently found in travel mugs, camping equipment, and other items used for outdoor and sporting events. Finely etched, it can release particles into food and drink, posing a health hazard if consumed regularly.
Mass-produced commercial teapots are usually made from enameled steel or cast iron, both of which pose problems during the manufacturing process that make them unsuitable for use as drinking water containers and tea infusers.
Making Tea Directly in a Kettle
The glazes used in many kettles are often lead-based. When the glaze is heated while cooking, carcinogenic substances may leach into the water or steam that may then be inhaled or ingested by consumers.
Narrow necks present problems to some and benefits to others). Water can be very hot when it reaches the infuser, and it will burn fingers if the kettle is made from thin metal like aluminum, which doesn't insulate well at high temperatures.
Why Mosi Makes a Great Gift For All Tea Lovers
If you are a tea lover, then you probably already know how much of a difference a quality sip can make. Using an infuser instead of a traditional tea bag is a great way to ensure the best quality tea each time.
While your tea lover friends or family may already have a teapot or tea kettle they adore, they likely have yet to find a travel mug that not only insulates, but brews on the go. With Mosi, they will find the best quality brew in an easy-to-use and easy to clean (dishwasher-safe!) format. You may have to try it to believe us -- but we promise that the right tea infuser makes the best tea every time.
Tea infusers are a simple yet effective way to enjoy loose leaf tea without the mess. Whether you like your morning cup of black tea or evening cup of chamomile, we have some great options that will make brewing easy and enjoyable.