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What should I brew my tea in?
With the great selection of tea infusers available it can be difficult choosing the infuser that is right for you and right for your tea leaves. Chah alone offers fifteen different kinds of infusers and teapots. These include cast iron tea pots, glass tea pots, ball infusers, tea swizzle and mug infusers. As a result of the selection on offer, many people try a few different types before settling on the infuser that is right for them. At Chah we’ve played around and tried infusing teas with many different kinds of infusers and we’d like to share our experience with you. Here are some key pointers and things to consider when selecting your next tea infuser…
Firstly, think about the type of leaves. The most common form of black tea is made up from small almost powdered leaves that will brew in pretty much any kind of infuser, even a tea bag! Black tea leaves are typically small and so do not need as much room to expand as an oolong or green tea leaf. If you wish to infuse a black tea with small leaves you should insure that the infuser you chose has a tight mesh and won’t allow the leaves to escape into your tea. Chah’s ball infuser is unsuitable for such leaves as leaves may escape from the small crack where the two parts of the ball infuser clamp together, Chah’s tea swizzle on the other hand is perfect for such leaves. Some green teas, oolong and white teas, have larger leaves and so when you infuse these leaves it is important to choose and infuser that will give the leaves room to fully expand and release all of their flavour. Infusers such as the tea swizzle are small, will not provide larger leaf teas room to expand and are thus unsuitable for larger leaf teas. Chah’s Chatsford infuser is ideal for large leaf teas as it provides a large open area for the leaves to fully expand and release their full flavour.
Black tea leaves are typically used once and then thrown away. Other leaves such as oolong, green and white teas should be infused multiple times if you want to get the most out of your leaves. It is therefore worth considering whether your chosen infuser or teapot allows you to remove your leaves from the water and store them between steepings safely and conveniently. Some infusers such as ball infuser may require a separate plate or bag on which to store the infuser between steeping other such as the mug infuser come with a cap or lid the infuser can be stored on when you are between steeps.
Avoid Gimmicky Infusers
Infusers that look cool, are brightly coloured or shaped like an object such as a house or a submarine are typically designed with a focus on aesthetics at the expense of functionality. In our experience these frequently fall apart, leak leaves or make a poor cup of tea. However, if you feel that tea steeped in a submarine tastes better or adds genuine value to your tea drinking experience, please don’t let us stop you; we’ll look down on you and pass judgement from afar ;-).
Consider the Location
An infuser that’s great for use at home may not be ideal for the work place. Factors to consider may include space required, cleaning and overall suitability.
Consider specialised infusers if you like a specific kind of tea. For example cast iron tea pots for Japanese teas.