it's tea

It's tea- Ask the Expert

Why do we use tea infusers today and not tea strainers?

Many years ago tea was incredibly expensive and sometimes difficult to source. Tea was made by putting exactly the right amount of tea directly into the tea-pot and boiling exactly the right amount of water for the cups required. A strainer, being like a small sieve, was placed onto each cup and after the correct brewing time the tea-pot fully emptied with the leaves being caught in the strainer, the tea was then kept and re-brewed as required in exactly the same manor.

Nowadays we usually make a whole pot of tea for just one or two people giving several cups of tea each. By using an infuser we can stop the brewing process and the spoiling of the tea by removing the infuser containing the leaves and keeping the excess tea in the tea-pot until we are read for another cup. If we were to use a strainer today by the time the excess tea was poured it would most likely be stewed, bitter and not a pleasant experience! That is why today tea infusers are considered a great choice and fantastic as gifts alongside the loose leaf tea.

Tea infusers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from tea balls, spoons and baskets. Knowing which one to use can sometimes be tricky and can really impact your cup of tea!

One of the first things to consider is the size of your tea. If you have a tea that contains smaller particles then a ball or spoon with large holes will not filter your tea. If you are infusing a tea that expands, such as a milky Oolong, then a small ball or spoon with a small surface area may not allow the tea enough room to expand freely. A small infuser may become clogged and you won’t get much flavour. Imagine you are making several cups of tea, if you are making the same tea for everyone a basket would be a great option allowing you to infuse a larger quantity of tea.

Tea balls & Tea spoons....

-Ideal for one or two cups
-Work well with larger teas that don't expand
-Smaller surface area
-Fun and available in many styles
-Small and easily portable
-Basket infusers
-Flexible as can be used to make a singe cup or placed in a tea-pot
-Easy to clean
-Usually larger in size than other infusers allowing tea to expand and move freely
-Often a smaller mesh, which enables use with finer cut teas

Once you have chosen the correct infuser for your tea it is important to check the optimum temperature in which to infuse your tea as well as the optimum brewing time. At It’s Tea we always include a handy leaflet as a guide on how to get the best out of your cup!

Don Collier
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