Brewing loose leaf tea can be pretty daunting. Personally, I put off trying it for years. When you can brew a quick cup with a teabag, why fuss about with infusers and strainers and all kinds of loose tea terms.
But the truth is, brewing loose leaf tea is very simple. Actually, it’s just as simple as brewing with a teabag. The process is the same!
Below I’m going to take you through my 4 easiest ways to brew loose leaf tea, just like you’d brew a teabag in the Western style.
Why Loose Leaf?
Loose leaf simply means the leaves and ingredients are loose. They’re exactly the same as the tea in teabags except they aren’t chopped up as much, or at all.
Loose leaf is superior – but that doesn’t mean it’s snobby. Loose leaf has a better flavour because the leaves are whole and retain their tea oils and natural flavours. I explain in a bit more detail why loose leaf tastes brighter than teabags in this article about sprucing up your tea.
The Cute Single Server
Meet Stewart (get it) my loose leaf cat infuser. This silicone infuser is hands-down the easiest method of brewing loose leaf tea, and it’s very easy to get your hands on a variety of cute infusers.
Open up the infuser, add your loose leaf tea (2g or approximately 1 teaspoon). Close the infuser, making sure the silicon lips are firmly sealed together. Clip him over the side of your mug, then fill your mug with boiling water, or 80°C for green teas. Remove the infuser when you’ve reached the optimum brew.
- Cheap and fun!
- Won’t rust
- Easy clean up (dishwasher safe)
- Limited space for tea leaves to unfurl
- Can warp out of shape
- Not suitable for multiple servings
The Metal Single Server
The globe offers more space and has a much finer mesh, allowing it to hold finer tea leaves. The teapot sinks to the bottom of the mug with the chain resting over the lip – it’s more of a novelty than a practical infuser.
I have 2 types; one is a cute teapot, the other is a typical mesh ball. Just like the silicone infuser, you need to open, add your tea, close, hook over the side (like you would with a tagged teabag) and brew. The main reason I prefer Stewart the tea cat is he is low maintenance. He doesn’t rust and cleaning out the tea is much easier.
- Fine mesh allows superior infusion
- Tea leaves are fully submerged at the bottom of your mug
- Can, potentially, be used to brew a whole pitcher/pot
- Requires immediate clean up by hand to prevent rust
- Air bubbles are easily caught, limiting space
- Chains are prone to breaking mid brew
The Chamber Multi-Serve
Most modern teapots, especially glass teapots, will have a removeable metal chamber in the centre. This is the easiest way to brew loose leaf tea for multiple servings. It’s the convenient choice.
1 teaspoon of tea leaves per person, plus one for the pot. Alternatively, you can measure how much water your teapot holds and calculate the amount of tea needed in grams via the packet instructions.
Rinse your teapot with hot water so it’s warm, then add your tea to the centre chamber and place it in the teapot. Fill with hot water and leave it to brew. Pour and serve.
- Can be removed like a single serve infuser once at optimum strength
- Fine mesh prevents any tea leaves from getting into your pot
- Plenty of space for your tea to unfurl completely
- Longest brew time of all methods
- Can’t monitor how brewed the tea leaves are
- Needs immediate clean up, not dishwasher suitable
The Show Time Multi-Serve
If you’ve got a glass teapot and time on your hands, or just want to put on a show for friends, this option should be your first choice for brewing loose leaf tea. Removing the central chamber from your tea pot, you’ll have a vast empty space to peer into.
Add your tea leaves (the same quantity as The Chamber Multi Serve), add water, watch the show!
When it comes to serving the tea, you need a handy metal filter at the spout, or a filter you can hold over each teacup to pour into.
If you’ve got neither, try a paper coffee filter as a last resort.
- Beautiful to watch, especially with blooming tea
- Best way to monitor brew strength
- Leaves can unfurl with plenty of space to brew
- Cleaning leaves out of the teapot spout is a nightmare
- Pointless if your teapot isn’t made of glass
- Those leaves will keep brewing, so drink that tea quickly!
I hope you’ve found this article useful! If you have any questions or need advice on which tea infuser is right for you, leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to help.