It’s a common myth that brewing loose-leaf tea is messy and hard. It could be, but it doesn’t have to! That is if you use the right tea accessories!
Sure, dunking a tea bag into a mug is as easy as it can get, but let me tell you this, there is a world of difference in a cup of tea made with proper teaware and accessories. I’m not saying this simply because I own a loose-leaf tea shop; the differences are that big.
Reading this article to learn about:
- The best tea accessories for beginners.
- Other tea accessories from different cultures for more advanced tea brewing.
- The thrill of using different loose-leaf tea accessories.
- And most importantly, how to use them to make the perfect cup of tea.
Before we start, make sure you grab a cup of tea, sit back and relax. Ready? Let’s begin!
Why Should You Brew Loose-Leaf Tea With Tea Accessories?
Short answer: the result tastes better. Loose-leaf tea imparts more subtle flavors to the resulting cup of tea. Using tea accessories also gives you more control over the brewing process. Also, it opens up the doors of tea enjoyment that you have never had before.
There are many different kinds of tea accessories from different cultures across the globe. From a simple teapot and tea infuser to the exotic gaiwan, kyusu, and others. They all have the same purpose – allowing you to use loose tea leaves for brewing.
If you are used to tea bags, you should know that they commonly contain only fannings or tea dust. They’re leftovers from a sorting process. They get stale much more quickly and impart less of a flavor and aroma compared to whole tea leaves.
Using loose-leaf tea you will get the best possible flavor. And tea accessories make it simple to prepare tea using loose leaves. Unsure which loose leaf tea to pick? You can simply head to Viston Tea Shop and you’re good to go, all of our teas are great for beginners.
Which Tea Accessories Are Essential for Beginners?
Good news! Most of us already have the tools needed to make exceptional tea. A teapot and a tea infuser are all you really need to enjoy loose-leaf tea. Besides, they’re actually very simple to use. If you don’t own either, you can buy them in most supermarkets or online.
Teapots are especially great for making multiple cups of tea at once, enough for the whole family. It is perhaps the most widely used accessory to brew tea, especially in Western countries.
Teapots come in many shapes, materials, and colors, and can have extra features like a removable infuser or a warmer. They’re also relatively easy to clean.
How to Use a Teapot?
To make tea using a teapot, you need to:
- Warm the teapot up. Add some hot water into the teapot, let it sit for a bit, and pour the water out. Pre-heating the teapot prevents the tea from cooling down early, and helps maintain the optimal brewing temperature.
- Add your tea leaves into the teapot. A general rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon per person, plus an additional for the teapot.
- Add hot water and let the tea steep. Different tea leaves call for different water temperatures and steeping times. You should check the tea packaging for recommended steeping time, but the general rule of thumb is boiling water for black tea, and 80°C for green tea.
- Pour the tea into a cup through a strainer, or without if your teapot has a built-in strainer, and enjoy.
And that’s basically it. Congratulations, you’ve made yourself a nice cup of hot tea with a teapot. If you are looking for some recommendations on which teapot to get, here is a good one to start with.
A large basket is a must for a teapot. This one has everything, plus it can double as a kettle. It serves up to 5 people. A good teapot is the best investment you can make on your tea journey!
An infuser is the simplest way to brew a single cup of tea from loose leaves while ensuring the maximum taste potential. Tea infusers can come in many forms: cylindrical, ball-shaped with a clamp, a spoon, a tong, or animal-shaped.
Tea leaves need a lot of room to unfold and release their flavor, especially rolled oolong teas. That’s why I recommend the cylindrical infuser for the best results. Here is the overall best tea infuser in my opinion.
You can’t find a better cylindrical tea infuser. At $14.95 its price & quality ratio is unmatched. Get it once and it will serve you a lifetime.
How to Use a Tea Infuser?
A tea infuser is also really simple to use and involves these steps:
- Heat some water. If you’re making green tea, let it cool a little, as otherwise, you will make your tea bitter.
- Put the infuser in a cup or a mug, and put your tea leaves into the infuser. Slowly add the heated water and let it steep. Refer to the recommended steeping time on the tea packaging.
- Take the infuser out and shake it lightly. Be careful, the tea is hot! Discard the spent leaves by shaking them out into a garbage bin. However, most loose-leaf teas can be infused multiple times.
- Savor your tea’s flavor and aroma.
If you are unsure about how long you should steep your tea or the kind of water to use, I have listed 7 tips to make the perfect cup of tea to help you out.
An electric kettle
Please, don’t microwave your water. Not only is it hard to properly control the temperature, which is especially important for green teas, but you’re making your tea experience poor. Making tea is quite a calming activity if you take it slow.
My recommendation is – an electric kettle with a temperature sensor. You will be able to easily control the temperature for more needy teas, and they don’t cost that much. Choose a reliable maker and the kettle will survive many years or tea brewing tea.
Do it right and you’ll only need to buy a kettle once. Get a good one right away, with adjustable temperatures and you will never regret your decision when it comes to brewing tea.
Teaware for Advanced Tea Enthusiasts
The culture of drinking tea is can be found all over the world, each with its own methods and brewing vessels. Some of the fanciest teaware comes from Japan and China. Both nations have a deep and long history of tea.
Literally meaning “lid and bowl”, gaiwan is a traditional Chinese ceramic teaware that’s comprised of 3 pieces: the bowl, the lid, and the saucer. Some tea lovers swear by gaiwans, because they allow them to make multiple short infusions and discover how the taste progresses with every cup. I especially like to use a gaiwan with my pu-erh or oolong teas.
To make tea with gaiwan:
- Pre-heat the bowl and the serving tea cups, by rinsing them in hot water. Discard the water.
- Add your tea leaves to the gaiwan. Fill it to about 20% if you’re using ball-rolled tea or 60% for twist-rolled tea.
- “Wake” the leaves up by steeping the leaves in water for a few seconds, then pouring the water out.
- Add hot water and let it steep. Tilt the lid slightly to create a small opening, and pour the tea into the serving pitcher before pouring it into the serving teacups.
Kyusu may look cute, but this Japanese teaware has a rich history under its belt. While it literally means “teapot”, kyusu most commonly refers to a Japanese teapot with a handle on the side and an internal ceramic or metal strainer. This ceramic teapot is made from clay, although porcelain kyusu also exist.
You can use a kyusu as how you would use a Western teapot. But the traditional way of using kyusu in Japan involves infusing the loose tea leaves several times.
Steep for a minute for the first pour and only a few seconds for the following infusions. Pour it equally per infusion to ensure the same flavor between the cups.
If you want to experience the authentic Japanese tea ceremony, a good kyusu is a must-have. This ceramic kyusu with in-built strainer has everything you need for a comfortable experience.
A cast-iron teapot, that’s tetsubin in a nutshell. This Japanese teaware is perhaps one of the most important components in the Japanese tea ceremony, but it also makes a seriously tasty cup of tea outside of a tea ceremony. You could also use it to boil some water like a regular kettle.
To brew loose leaf tea with a tetsubin:
- Pre-heat it first. Add and remove hot water from the tetsubin once or twice.
- Add your tea leaves of choice. Leave some room for the leaves to expand and steep.
- Add the hot water and let it steep, then pour it into cups through a strainer.
It is important to wash your tetsubin with warm water, as suddenly adding cold water can crack this beautiful cast-iron teapot.
If you want to level up your tea experience and impress your friends when they come to you for tea, a cast-iron tea pot is a must.
If you’re not a hardcore matcha evangelist, you probably don’t care that much about the “authenticity” of your matcha accessories, as long as they get the job done. Although you could get by with what’s in your kitchen, using the right tools to make matcha will make your job easier.
At a minimum, you’ll need a bamboo whisk and a bowl, and a naughty-looking whisk stand. My recommendation is to simply get a kit online and you’re all set.
Get everything you’ll ever need to make proper matcha tea with this best-selling kit. If anything, it will serve as a beautiful decoration.
When learning to make matcha, a picture is worth a thousand words:
Iced Tea Flask
I must admit, I prefer my tea hot, but iced tea definitely has its place on a cold summer day. I absolutely love the sweet Arnold Palmer drink. If you’re going to be making some iced tea this summer, you’ll soon find that a regular jug may not fit well into a fridge.
This and many other problems are easily solved by getting yourself a large flask. You can brew your iced tea in it, leave it overnight, and serve it in a jug the next day. Here’s my recommendation:
Whichever technique you prefer: cold brew or brewing the tea hot, and then cooling it – this flask will serve you well.
I love that it has an infuser, meaning that you won’t be needing to strain your tea leaves, just pour it straight into a glass. Also, it’s sufficiently tall to get even steep.
If you’re a fan of iced tea, this flask is a must-have.
Getting to know and learning about tea accessories and how to use them properly may appear like a big task, but trust me, the joy is in the exploration. Trying out different teapots, teaware, and many other accessories can be an enriching experience and quite possibly lead you to find your favorite tea brewing method.
To start right away, get a simple teapot or a cylindrical infuser and you’re good to go. As you become an experienced tea lover, try using some more advanced brewing methods.
As with many other things in life, you should just give it a try! Hopefully, this guide will help you find your way among the vast and wonderful world of tea. And if you’re looking for a great tea to start your journey with, why not learn about Earl Grey.