The best tea infuser
If loose-leaf tea is your favorite way to enjoy a hot beverage, you need a way to steep those leaves without muddying your drink. Whether your tea of choice is Darjeeling or Earl Grey, an infuser is a must-have if you plan on steeping loose leaves. Use a version like our top pick, the Apace Living Loose Leaf Tea Infuser, to easily prepare tea and then clean up once you're done sipping. Read our buying guide to learn more about tea infusers and choose one for your next cup.
Considerations when choosing tea infusers
Types of tea infusers
Basket infusers: These are large tea infusers that can be used either with a mug or in a teapot. The roomy design of these infusers allows tea leaves to steep thoroughly and adequately soak in the water. Not all basket infusers are compatible with all mugs.
Ball infusers: These budget-friendly orb-shaped infusers open at the center so that tea can be placed inside, then sealed. Most feature an affixed chain. They're easy to handle and are excellent for steeping in all levels of water. The fine mesh construction prevents sediment from flowing through, but it's rather delicate and prone to warping.
Mug infusers: Some tea mugs (travel or otherwise) include a tea basket accessory designed for steeping. It's a handy all-in-one option perfect for travel purposes, but it's not the best choice for those with an already sizeable mug collection.
Teapots with built-in infusers: If you frequently steep tea for yourself and others, consider purchasing a teapot with a built-in steeper.
Novelty infusers: These are typically made of plastic or silicone. Choose from a variety of fun options, including dinosaur and flower-shaped infusers.
Tea infuser design and size
A roomy tea infuser leaves enough space for your tea leaves to come into contact with the water and release plenty of flavor. A too-small infuser may inhibit flavor release.
Opt for a stainless steel tea infuser if durability is a concern. Plastic and silicone are reliable options, though some tea drinkers complain of flavor transfer with non-metal infusers. An infuser made of mesh prevents sediment from seeping into your cup of tea. If steeping whole-leaf teas, an infuser with holes is an acceptable option. An infuser with a handle or chain is a must for easy removal from your teapot or mug.
Tea brewing tips
For best results, use fresh water when brewing tea.
Brew tea at the right temperature. This varies depending on the type of tea you're brewing. Here's a handy breakdown of recommended water temperatures for common teas:
Green tea: 175°F to 185°F
Black tea: 194°F to 210°F
Rooibos tea: 205°F
Pu-erh tea: 212°F
White tea: 185°F to 205°F
Herbal tea: 205°F
Oolong tea: 185°F to 205°F
The price depends mainly on the size and type of infuser. Ball infusers are the least expensive option, while a teapot with an infuser can cost up to $150.
Q. How do I know how much loose tea to use?
A. The bag or package of tea should let you know how much tea to use. As a general rule, use a teaspoon of loose tea for one cup of water. If you prefer a stronger brew, it's fine to increase the amount of tea used. The package should also provide the ideal water temperature and brew time for making a great-tasting cup of tea.
Q. Is it possible to reuse a tea bag or tea leaves?
A. Yes. It's possible to reuse tea and steep it again; the key is to prevent the tea from drying out. The type of tea also matters. Black tea, for instance, is a poor choice for double steeping. Never keep moist tea leaves on hand for more than half a day. Discard them if more than 12 hours has elapsed.
Tea infusers we recommend
Best of the best: Apace Living's Loose-Leaf Tea Infuser
Our take: A reliable infuser choice perfect for all tea steeping needs.
What we like: Quality design. Easy to use. Seals securely and is easy to clean. Fine mesh doesn't leave behind sediment. Versatile and can be used for pot or mug brewing.
What we dislike: Sometimes unlatches.
Best bang for your buck: House Again's Fine-Mesh Tea Infuser with Drip Tray
Our take: An affordable and fun novelty set of infusers great for a household or office with multiple tea drinkers.
What we like: Value set. Adorable and roomy design. Stay upright in a mug for easy retrieval. Clean easily.
What we dislike: Infusers aren't particularly durable.
Our take: A large infuser for use with travel or wide-mouth mugs.
What we like: Comes apart easily for thorough cleaning. Incredibly durable. Excellent for on-the-go use.
What we dislike: Doesn't fit all travel mugs.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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