There are many tea infusers out there and it’s good to take all their pros and cons into account, before buying any. I have tested a lot of different types, but I ended up using just one – the most practical, easy to use, one that helps to brew the perfect cup of tea. Let’s review our options first…
Also called T-SacsI can’t think of any good reasons to use tea filters if you’re a regular tea drinker, unless you’re traveling and you want something disposable. Pluses – they will give you a flavorful liquor, you don’t have to clean them. One the other hand you can get a bit of a papery flavor in your tea. It can be a good substitute for tea hardware, they have a lot of space for the leaves to unfurl, but if you’re concerned about the environment there are better choices.
Strainers are pretty easy to use and you will get a great infusion every time, because the leaves can float freely. This is a very basic choice and has many uses. Cleaning them is not too much of a hassle. They come in different designs and forms, made of stainless steel or bamboo, with handle and without.
These are sieves in the shape of a ball which have a little chain attached to them. You open them by putting one half to the side or to the back. They are very inconvenient to clean, when you dispose of the tea you have to open in, your hands get all wet, you don’t know what to hold onto, there is no handle or anything – as a result you end up having a bunch of leaves on your hands and then you realize that you have to scoop some out anyway. The largest tea balls can give you a good infusion, but the smaller models I wouldn’t bother with.
Just like tea balls tongs come in different sizes – 6,5cm, 5cm and 4,5cm (in diameter). All of these are very easy and fast to clean – you press the handle together and empty the ball, clap the halves over the garbage can a few times, without needing to touch the leaves. The smaller models have very little space, however the 6,5cm is the ultimate tea tool, you can see the leaves float inside, there is lots of space for them to unfurl and give the fullest flavor. The only minus with large Tong infusers is that they may not fit into narrow glasses.
Tea Tubes can look really stylish, but some can be rather hard to clean, depending on what mechanism they have. Some have a lid on one end which you can detach and then pour water though it – this means the leaves will land in the sink, things get messy – not very desirable. The one on the left is an easier model. There are cup-size tubes and pot-size tubes, I believe both can yield in an alright infusion, but there is still an issue with how much space there is for leaves.
Tea Eggs basically work the same way as Tea Balls, except for you can’t see what happening inside. In this way I think Tea Balls are a better choice, because you can see at what brewing stage the leaves are. I generally wouldn’t advise any infusers on chains, as they are quiet problematic when it comes to cleaning.
From a long personal experience I can say that tea spoons produce the most flavorless tea liquor you can imagine. Like the tong it’s very easy to clean, but the tea has no space to expand. It’s almost as if you paid for a whole cup of tea and only getting half of it. This is a big no-no, especially if you’re drinking expensive teas.
Cute and fun, in shapes of houses, fruits, hearts even sharks, however not very practical. These are usually hard to clean and don’t provide enough space for the tea. They make great collectibles for display, perhaps occasional tea making, but are not recommended if you want something fast and convenient.
Out of all these I would say the large Tong infuser is an all time favorite – good for you and good for the tea. You don’t need to get your hands dirty using it, you gat you enjoy the tea leaves and their full potential and if you take care of it well it may be come just the lifelong friend you were looking for.