At home I use the simple metal tea strainer depicted above because it allows me to drink loose leaf and control the length of my brew. It also allows the loose leaf tea to expand and gives me the option of multiple infusions. Look how beautiful the leaves are when they are hydrated. This little strainer fits into a myriad of vessels and is easy to clean. It’s a great tool for on the go or just a quick cup of tea at work or at home. Sure I could use a tea ball, but I like the simple elegance and versatility of this tea strainer. How do you use one of these handy strainers? It’s simple and you can do it at home:
- Measure out your loose leaf tea (for a mug I use approximately 3 – 5 grams, similar to 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon),
- Add your loose leaf tea to your strainer and put the strainer in your mug, thermos or teapot,
- Pour boiling water over the leaves until it reaches the rim of your vessel,
- And steep between 3 – 5 minutes, depending on how strong you like it.
A tea strainer is a mighty instrument for tea lovers across the world and it appears in many forms. Porcelain, metal, silk, yixing, and even bamboo. They are especially useful if you love loose leaf tea and prefer to drink it in a thermos or mug. But do you know where this tool comes from? It begins in the beginning. Buddhists were some of the first tea gardeners and they were some of the first inventors of tea acutramonts. These inventive and compassionate monks wanted a convenient way to drink tea without the risk of consuming insects because they believed in non-harming (or at least non-consumption of critters). Check out one of my favorite books for more information, The True History of Tea.
There are other great reasons that inspired the invention of the tea strainer: (1) to control the length of your steep AND (2) to keep the leaves out of your teeth. In the tea shop we have “tastings” every day, where our little crew of employees drink tea off the same leaves over, and over, and over again (check out my blog on how to conduct your own tea tasting). These tastings give us a broad idea of what each unique tea is capable. They provide us with palpable information and gives us a sense of some of the layers of processing the tea undergoes. The brew changes each time we steep the leaves and gives us a deeper glimpse into the story of your loose leaf tea. Strainers help us to do this, no matter the tea, no matter the setup.
How do you brew your tea at home? Send us pictures, with your most creative, ordinary, funny, or beautiful setup’s to keep the inspiration coming.