Bamboo Tea Infuser

by Matt

I started drinking tea about eight years ago after attending a traditional British afternoon tea service during a visit to London. The tea service was quintessentially English: strong, Earl Grey tea with sugar cubes, milk, and a variety of scones and pastries on a three-tiered tray. But one element seemed strangely out of place: a bamboo tea infuser.

Bamboo is, of course, not a British but an Asian plant, used as a building material and for decorative touches. Its qualities, though, make it perfect to use in a tea strainer: it is easily carved, very attractive, and imparts a unique flavor to the tea. In fact, this last attribute is my favorite part of the bamboo tea strainer.

Good black tea has a strong, almost charred flavor, but one that also accommodates subtle variations. By infusing black tea through a bamboo tea strainer, the burnt flavor is offset by the leafy, fresh flavor of the bamboo. By contrast, infusing through a metal strainer imparts a bitter, metallic flavor to the tea, which is far less pleasant than the bamboo flavor.

After eight years of trying different tea paraphernalia, from pots to infusers to cups to leaf mixers, the only piece of equipment that have kept is my bamboo infuser It is a remarkably simple, yet powerful tool to improve almost any tea.

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