Tea Infuser Review
Mesh Ball, Stainless Steel and Mug

From mesh tea balls to baskets, they are many types of tea infuser. Here are the popular models



Infusers are used to brew loose-leaf tea. They allow the tea leaves to infuse into the hot water. When the leaves are done steeping they can easily be removed from the tea.

The most common type of tea infuser is the mesh tea ball. The tea leaves go inside the ball, the ball snaps shut and goes into the hot water, and when the tea is ready you simply pull the ball out of the cup.

Tea balls have the advantage of being cheap and easy to find, but they are by no means the only type of tea infuser available. In fact, there are many variations on this seemingly simple design.

Tea infusers can come in a variety of forms-everything from whimsical animal shapes to the familiar tea ball to practical baskets. They can be made of metal, plastic, bamboo, porcelain or glass.

No matter what type of tea infuser you decide to buy, the following characteristics will ensure you get a great cup of tea every time:

Size

The tea infuser should be big enough to allow the tea leaves to unfold completely. This is especially important when you are drinking a type of tea which has been rolled into tightly knitted balls.

Examples of such teas are gunpowder green tea, Iron Goddess oolong and some jasmine scented teas. The more room the tea leaves have to move, the more contact area they have with the water, and the better your tea will taste! This, typically, is where mesh tea balls fall short. They often aren’t large enough to allow the tea leaves to unfurl.

Also, if you are buying an infuser basket for a tea pot, you need to make sure it will be big enough to hold the correct amount of tea.

Shape

A cylinder shape, basket shape or pyramid shape gives the tea leaves more room to move than a ball. Again, this gives your tea better flavor.

Water flow

Water should be able to easily flow in and out of the infuser. Ideally, tea leaves should be able to “dance” as they brew.

Infusers that are made of metal with only a few holes to let water in and out are generally not a good buy.

Materials

Some people swear by gold-plated tea infusers, but stainless steel is fine, too.

Plastic is okay if it is good quality, but cheap plastics may affect the flavor of the tea.

Bamboo is traditional, but obviously metal and plastic will last longer.

Some infusers are made of porcelain. While porcelain is highly recommended for brewing green tea and lightly oxidised oolong tea, porcelain infusers may not have enough holes to allow proper water flow.

Glass infusers are great as long as they allow water to flow in and out easily.

Bodum Yo Yo Tea Infuser With Lid, Stainless Steel

By far, the best infuser I’ve ever used is Bodum Yo Yo Tea Infuser. Yes, it has a funny name, but the design approaches genius.

The Yo-Yo is a basket-type infuser made out of stainless steel, with a stainless steel lid that fits over the top. Before it arrived, I was somewhat apprehensive - it looked like it might be too unwieldy to fit into some my smaller teacups.

Although the Yo-Yo fit perfectly into the tall, double-walled glass it came with, it stays perfectly stable no matter what cup I use it in. The basket is wide and roomy, so water can circulate among the tea leaves at will.

The lid helps hold the heat in while the tea brews.

One problem I always had with my old tea ball was trying to figure out what to do with it once the tea was brewed.

With the Yo-Yo, the lid also doubles as a caddy for the infuser when it’s not in use, so can just remove the basket and rest it on top of the lid. It’s perfect for multiple infusions.

Finally, the infuser is easy to clean. All you have to do is dump out the tea leaves and rinse it out with hot water and a little soap. It’s also safe to clean in the dishwasher.

The Yo-Yo brews great tea with a wonderful clean flavor, and I’ve not noticed any leave escaping into my tea cup.

Some reviewers on Amazon did claim that to be a problem; however, other reviews said that pouring the water into the cup first and then dropping the Yo-Yo infuser into the water second kept the leaves from escaping.

Tovolo Tea Press Tea Infuser

If you are a green tea drinker, then you can't live without an infuser. It is ideal for brewing a small amount of leaves at a time.

My preference is for something light and portable.

My husband and I love to go backpacking. When you are carrying everything you need on your back, you can feel every ounce!

I think this Tovolo Tea Press Tea Infuser would be the perfect for a backpacking trip.

You can pack loose leaf tea in the hollow body, and the plunger allows you to squeeze the maximum amount of flavor out of the tea.

Plus, it comes with a steel clip to make it easy to use in taller cups, such as the travel mugs we always bring to the mountains with us.

Finum Teeli Brew Basket

What if you want to make a lot of tea at once? In that case, you might be happier with the Teeli Brew Basket, a larger infuser that is great for big mugs and tea pots.

This infuser is also basket-shaped, and it also has a lid that doubles as a coaster.

Of all the people who have used it on Amazon, every single person has given it the highest quality reviews. Basically, it’s like a larger version of the Yo-Yo, with a slightly plainer design.

ForLife Tall 15-Ounce Tea Mug with Infuser and Lid

What about making tea on the go? For portability, it’s hard to beat a travel mug with a built-in infuser, like this one from ForLife.

This mug got rave reviews from all of its reviewers on Amazon. The mug has an infuser in the lid, so all you have to do is put tea leaves into the infuser, pour hot water in the mug, and run out the door.

When you are ready to drink your tea, you can take the top of the mug off and use it as a coaster for the infuser basket. Reviewers also praised this mug as being easy to clean and care for.

Of course, it’s ceramic, which makes it perfect brewing all types of tea - green, oolong and black. But you do have to be careful not to chip it or break it.

Finally!

You also don’t have to use a reusable tea infuser to brew loose leaf tea. Many companies that sell loose leaf tea also sell plain muslin tea bags that you can fill, tie it closed, and brew your tea.

This simplifies clean up, since all you really have to do is throw the tea bag away.

However, if you drink a lot of tea, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run by buying a reusable tea infuser. Plus, it’s better for the environment that way.

If you get muslin tea bags, look for tea bags that are large enough to allow the tea to infuse properly. Also, make sure that the strings are long enough so that you can take the tea bag out of the cup easily - going fishing for a hot tea bag is no fun!

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