With the crisp air, balding trees, and mall Santas slowly sneaking up onto us, it’s obvious that winter is right around the corner. And nothing screams winter quite like a hot cup of freshly brewed tea. While tea bags are convenient and easy, sometimes those slow, dark mornings beg for something with a little more flavor, a little more pizzazz.
Something like loose-leaf. If you’re not accustomed to using loose-leaf though and don’t have the proper equipment, you might find yourself with mouthfuls of soggy tea leaves. If so, it might be time to consider investing in a tea infuser. We’ll help guide you to the perfect tea infuser, and if you’re still stuck, we’ve also got a list of our ten favorites that you can find online.
How to Choose a Tea Infuser – Buying Guide
When it comes to choosing a tea infuser, you shouldn’t just buy the first one you see. There are a few things that you should take into consideration so that you can brew the perfect cup of tea.
Basket vs. Submersion Infusers
There are two main types of tea infusers: basket infusers and submersion infusers. Deciding which one is right for you depends largely on your preferences.
Choose a Basket for Fuller Flavor
Basket infusers sit on the top of your cup and allow the tea leaves to fully expand and steep while remaining neatly contained. Because they’re completely open on one side, basket infusers are extremely easy to clean.
Generally speaking, the larger the basket, the better the flavor as the leaves will have more space to spread out and give off flavor. Size also makes a difference when it comes to cup compatibility. Some have a narrow lip and sit neatly on the edge of a cup, which means that they can only be used with cups of a certain size. Others have handles that allow them to be used on cups of all sizes.
When choosing a basket infuser, try to look for one with a lid. This will prevent too much heat from escaping and help those high-heat teas achieve maximum deliciousness.
Submersion Infusers Work for Smaller Servings
When using a submersion infuser, your tea is completely encased and fully submerged in the water. They’re not normally very large, so they’re ideal for small, single serving cups.
Submersion infusers are probably the ones that you see around more often. They can come in fun shapes that make it look like there’s a little scuba diver in your tea. However, the cute gimmicky ones tend to be lower quality and aren’t quite as effective at steeping tea leaves.
If you choose a submersion infuser, look for an option that’s as large as possible, and be sure that the handle or chain is a good length for the cup you plan on using.
Metal, Silicon, and…Paper? Materials Make a Difference
Unsurprisingly, there are a few different material options when it comes to tea infusers. Here are a few of the most common ones you’ll find.
Stainless Steel Mesh: Maintains Flavor and Steeps More Finely Crushed Leaves
Stainless steel mesh tends to be the best overall option. It doesn’t add any flavors to your tea, you don’t have to worry about chemicals, and it’s easy to clean. The mesh structure also means that the holes are really tiny, which prevents small leaf particles from getting out.
You can find both basket and submersion infusers made from stainless steel mesh.
Silicone: For Fun Shapes and Colors
When you see something is made from silicone, you know it’s going to be a good time. Silicone is highly versatile and allows tea infusers to be fun shapes and colors. However, the holes can be larger in these, so you might get a few stray leaf bits floating around your cup.
If you decide to get a silicone infuser, read reviews and check the packaging to make sure it’s high-quality food-grade silicone. If it’s a lower quality, it might have a plasticky flavor or leach chemicals into your tea.
Paper: Doesn’t Need to Be Washed, as It’s Disposable
Paper infusers can be seen as a nice middle ground between loose leaf tea and tea bags. You can fill them up with your nice, high-quality loose leaf tea, but rather than having to wash out your infuser after every use, you can just throw the whole thing away!
When choosing a paper infuser, look for one that’s unbleached to ensure that you’re not accidentally consuming any chemicals. If you are concerned about the environment and our expanding landfills, make sure you buy one that is fully biodegradable. Many disposable teabags and infusers are actually sealed with plastic.
Something else to look out for is that some paper infusers come with a string handle and some don’t. If you can’t be bothered to use a spoon to fish it out and don’t want to burn your fingers, definitely look for one that has a string!
For the Multi-Tasking Tea Enthusiast: Container + Infuser Combos
If you’re not an “all the tea all the time” kind of person, you might want to think about looking for a container that has a built-in/matching infuser. These are good for those who only need a tea infuser in certain situations or only use one container for tea.
Teapots for Larger Servings
For those who want to make more than one serving at a time, a teapot is generally your best bet. The infuser that comes with a teapot will be a basket infuser that sits on the top of your pot and is removable for easy cleaning.
Teapots that don’t come with infusers generally require a separate strainer in order to catch the leaves on their way out. So in choosing a teapot with an infuser, you’re basically getting two pieces of equipment for the price of one.
Mugs if You Want a Matching Set
Mugs that come with an infuser basket are some of the cutest things you can drink tea from. They often come as a set with a matching lid. Depending on the size of the mug, the infuser basket might also fit on your other mugs as well.
However, infusers that come with mugs are often made of ceramic, which can mean that finer teas will slip through the larger holes.
Thermoses for Those on the Go
For those on the move, a thermos with an infuser is the way to go. Thermoses tend to be tall and skinny, making it difficult to use either traditional baskets (which are too wide and shallow) or submersion infusers (you might lose it in your thermos!). Included infuser baskets are made specifically for the thermos, making for easy steeping and retrieval.
However, these can over-steep tea if you just leave it sitting in the hot water. To prevent this, you might want to fully steep your tea while you’re preparing to go and remove the tea leaves after the proper amount of time. Or, you could choose a tea that doesn’t get too bitter when steeped for a long time (herbals would be the best for this).
Top 10 Tea Infusers to Buy Online
Now that you know what to look for in a tea infuser, here are a few of our favorites to help you get started on your search.
10. FineGood Tea Bag Silicone Tea Infuser with Six Colors
Perfect for Tea Parties & Dinner Guests
These adorable tea bag-shaped submersion infusers are ideal for guests. They’re the perfect size for single-serve cups, and the different colors make cups easy to distinguish from one another. These infusers are made from food-grade silicone and don’t leave any unpleasant odors or flavors.
However, the holes are on the larger side, and the bags themselves don’t allow much space for the tea leaves to spread out. Also, despite the material itself being easy to clean, because of its shape, tea leaves can get stuck in the crevices at the top, which could mean that cleaning might take a little effort.
9. Magic Teafit Disposable Tea Infuser (100 Filters)
Large, No-Fuss Paper Infusers
These paper submersion infusers are unbleached, chlorine-free, biodegradable, and disposable. They are 3 inches by 6 inches, guaranteeing that your tea leaves will have plenty of space to expand. These are great for use in larger cups and tea pots as they hold enough leaves to make up to four servings.
The infusers come with an heat-sealable adhesive edge to prevent your tea leaves from slipping out. However, some reviewers have noted that it can be a little confusing to figure out how to seal them the first time you use one. Additionally, they do not have a string or tab, so you have to be careful not to lose the bag in your cup.
8. OXO Good Grips Twisting Tea Ball Infuser
High Quality and Durable
This submersion infuser from kitchen giant OXO features a long handle and a head that rotates closed for easy, secure tea holding. The ball head rotates fully open to also act as a tea scoop, eliminating the need for a separate spoon. Be careful with how much tea you put inside, though. Even a half scoop of tea leaves can fill the compartment and make twisting it open difficult.
That being said, as long as you fill the ball properly, the stainless steel infuser is well-constructed and durable, with holes small enough to prevent all but the smallest particles from getting through. If you only need to make tea one cup at a time, this infuser might just be the one for you.
7. Tilevo Dinosaur Loose Leaf Tea Infusers (Set of 2)
Add Some Fun to Your Tea Time
These super cute tea infusers are made from food-grade silicone and are dishwasher safe, making for easy cleaning. Their long handles make them great for cups of almost any height, and they are amply large enough for a single serving of tea to fully unfurl and steep.
That being said, however, these are only recommended for medium to large tea leaves as the holes are on the larger side. Also, despite having feet, you’ll still need to put the dinosaurs on a plate to catch any tea dripping out the bottom–as they do not come with anything to rest on.
6. Sweese Porcelain Tea Mug with Infuser and Lid
Simple, Functional Set
This mug-tea infuser combo comes in 12 different colors and patterns. It features a stainless steel basket infuser with ample space for tea to spread and fine holes to ensure nothing gets through. The infuser has a short handle, which can be used on any mug with the same or slightly larger diameter.
It holds 15 ounces and comes with a lid to help keep your tea warm for as long as it takes you to drink it. The lid also doubles as a stand for the infuser basket and has a lip to prevent tea from spilling onto your table. However, some reviewers have noted that without the strainer, the lid fits a little loose on the mug.
5. Bstean Tea Filter Bags (100 Filters)
Like a Tea Bag, But Better for You and the Environment
Made from unbleached, UV-processed natural wood pulp paper, you know that when you use these tea infusers, you’re getting nothing but tea. Measuring 3 inches by 2.75 inches, each filtereasily holds two teaspoons of loose leaf tea that is sure to stay put in the bag.
The string on each bag measures 6 inches long, but if you’re concerned about it slipping down into your mug, there is also a clip included in the box to act as a counterweight. If you find yourself needing something with a little more room, it also comes in three larger sizes.
4. The Tea Spot Double-Walled Voyager Tea Tumbler
For Tea That Will Last You All Day
This 16-ounce infuser-thermos combo is perfect for the tea lover on the go. It features a tall infuser basket with a handle for easy removal that will really let your leaves swim. The bottle itself is made from double-walled stainless steel and will keep your drink cool for 20 hours or hot for 10.
While this bottle isn’t recommended for use in the dishwasher, the lid disassembles for easy cleaning so you never have to worry about what’s hiding inside all those nooks and crannies. For those who are community-minded, you’ll also rest easy knowing that 10% of your purchase goes towards supporting cancer survivors.
3. Wittle & Everett Tea Pot and Tea Infuser Set
Hyper-Functional Teapot with a Spill-Proof Lid and Fine Mesh Infuser
This teapot-infuser set couldn’t be any more functional. It holds enough to make 4-5 cups and features a stainless steel lid that locks into place to prevent spills. The infuser extends nearly to the bottom of the pot and is made from a steel mesh fine enough to keep even your smallest tea leaves in.
This teapot also comes with a cozy to keep your tea warmer for longer, but if that’s not enough, just take off the lid and infuser and pop the pot into the microwave. And if somehow all of this doesn’t work for you, it also comes with a 90-day money back guarantee.
2. Chefast Tea Infuser Set
Food-Grade Steel Infusers that Can Flavor Both Single-Serving Cups and Entire Teapots
This set of 3 submersion infusers comes in two different sizes. The smaller ones comfortably hold two teaspoons and are perfect for single-serving cups. The larger can hold up to 4 tablespoons and works great for teapots or even with spices in soup. All are made from food-grade stainless steel and are easy to clean.
These infusers’ holes are incredibly fine and will prevent all but the smallest particles from getting through. That being said, some reviewers who try to use these for fruit or other herb infusions have found that the holes are actually too small. This set also comes with a bonus tea scoop that can double as a bag clip.
1. INTEYE Tea Infuser (Set of 2)
Compatible with a Wide Range of Cups and Leaves You with Nothing but Good Tea
This basket tea infuser will help you make the perfect cup of tea. Its wide wings mean that you can use this infuser in any cup ranging from 2.5 to 5 inches in diameter and it works with all but the smallest of espresso cups. The mesh is incredibly fine, so you don’t have to worry about rouge tea leaves.
The included cover keeps the heat in while your tea is steeping, and once it’s done, you can use it as a stand for your basket (or to prevent any drips from getting on the floor when you’re on your way to throw out the leaves!). This infuser is easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and comes with a money back guarantee.
So there you have it! A comprehensive guide to picking and buying a tea infuser that’s sure to keep you cozy all winter long and for many winters to come. Because when you turn to loose leaf and reusable or biodegradable infusers, you’re not only serving yourself more delicious tea, you’re also helping the environment.
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