When preparing tea at home, with natural leaves or strands (i.e. bought in bulk), we need several basic utensils. Perhaps the most important is the tea infuser or filter. Without it, there will be no way to strain the leaves once the infusion is finished.
There are so many different kinds of tea infusers on Amazon that we needed to create a special article like this one to accommodate them all. Tea infusers all serve the same purpose and are used in similar ways but can be made in a multitude of materials and sizes. Take a look at the most popular ones before you start:
What is a tea infuser?
A tea infuser is simply the compartment or container where tea leaves are placed to infuse in hot water. It has small holes that allow the water to pass through but do not allow the tea leaves to leak out and must also offer a system for safe removal (i.e. without putting your hand inside the infusion) once you have finished using it. They are also known as tea strainers or simply tea filters.
Don’t know where to buy your tea infuser? Well, the answer is quite simple: in any shop specialising in tea infusions, they will have a lot of varieties and price ranges for these utensils. If you don’t have any tea shop near you, we recommend you buy your tea infusers on Amazon. There you will have access to a greater variety, and the prices are super low as many of them come from Asian manufacturers.
Paper tea infusers
We start with the classic paper tea infusers, which are nothing more than the traditional tea bags (the ones that come with individual infusions, not in bulk).
In case you didn’t know, you can buy your paper tea infusers in packs of 100 or more, and use them at home with your favourite tea. They are empty teabags.
Paper tea bags are practical, economical and filter very well. Their main disadvantage, on the other hand, is that they are not reusable: an infuser is only good for one serving, so you are constantly generating waste.
Cotton tea infusers
Cotton tea infusers are very popular because their main advantage is precisely the fineness of the cotton mesh: they are much more precise and strain the tea better than any other filter made of any other material.
However, the fabric has another big disadvantage: they are more cumbersome and difficult to clean than other infusers. In other words: they are reusable, but you have to wash and dry them thoroughly before the next use.
Cotton or cloth tea infusers can come in the form of a self-sealing tea bag or in the form of a strainer with a steel handle. Here are some examples:
These utensils are very similar to the cloth coffee filters that we have already presented on this website.
Glass tea infusers
Glass tea infusers are generally made of borosilicate glass: a material that is particularly resistant to sudden changes in temperature.
We have already said at the beginning that all these tea filters have pros and cons and that there is no one objectively better than another.
In the case of glass tea infusers, their greatest advantage lies in their fineness and transparency: it is possible to clearly see how the water is infused, how it takes on colour, how the tea leaves hydrate and increase in size, things like this that we true aficionados love.
On the downside, on the other hand, we find a very obvious one: its fragility. If we hit it hard or drop it on the floor, we are left without a filter.
Plastic tea infusers
Plastic tea infusers are very cheap, they clean up quickly, and they are quite sturdy: you won’t have a problem if you drop them on the floor or knock them around in the kitchen. So what’s the problem? Well, it’s simply that many users don’t like putting plastic components for a long time in the same hot water that they will drink later.
Ceramic tea infusers
Most ceramic tea infusers on the market are not sold separately but are usually integrated into a matching mug. Aesthetically they are more aesthetically pleasing because they can be decorated to match the mug, and if you are going to keep them on display when not in use, they are always a better solution.
We talked about these mugs in another article so that we won’t dwell too much on them here.
Silicone tea infusers
Silicone tea infusers are the smallest (sometimes too small, especially if you are going to use very large tea strands in your infusion) but also the most fun and curious ones on the market. You can find, for example, a tea infuser in the shape of a dinosaur, or doll tea infusers, to name but a few.
We especially like their playfulness and their affordability. If you are looking for original tea infusers as a gift for someone, silicone tea infusers are definitely the best option. On the downside, it has to be said that some of them are too small. We do not recommend them for certain types of tea with large leaves.
Ball tea infusers
We can’t leave out of this list the classic and cute ball tea infusers, also known as tea eggs, which we have already discussed at length in a separate article:
How to use a tea infuser?
Knowing how to use a tea infuser is really simple, although if you have never used these utensils before, you are likely to make some rookie mistakes the first few times. In this last section, we provide you with some tips that you should not forget when preparing your tea with a tea infuser:
- Generally, one teaspoon of tea per cup or diner is enough.
- The infuser should be the right size to fit snugly in the cup, with no overflow or underflow.
- It is usual to place the tea infuser in the cup first, and then pour the hot water over it.
- An important detail for all strand tea infusers, and one that many people overlook, is that they must be large enough for the leaves to grow in size once hydrated.
- When the infusion is finished and you remove the infuser from the water, remember to have a saucer or tray ready to place it on. If you place it directly on the table, the wet tea leaves will end up forming puddles of water and stain everything.