In that last couple years, I have been slowly learning how to steep loose tea. A while back, a representative from Chartreuse Organic Tea mentioned that I should use a loose tea infuser with a generous capacity, to allow the tea to float freely in the hot water. The herbs that compose Chartreuse Organic Tea’s tisanes are large-cut to enhance flavor, so at the time it made perfect sense to me. But this “big steeper” idea seems to apply to more than just large-cut herbal tea. According to this tread on Steepster’s forum, it’s best to use a large infuser or teapot for any kind of tea.
I recently purchased DavidsTea’s “the steeper” 18oz, a great option for swimming tea leaves.
Even my exceptionally large Russel and Hobs infuser with a mesh net cup couldn’t stand up to this over-the-cup infuser (or “gravity infuser”). I’m not entirely sure what it is, but the difference in flavor and color is stark! The tea from the gravity infuser had richer color and bolder taste. I would recommend a gravity infuser with no mesh net cup.
Many people love in-cup infusers, and they should be as large as possible. Use a large mug to accommodate the infuser. Teapots are great too. But once again, be sure you get one that strains as it pours instead of one with a mesh cup in the center, for optimal steeping.
I would not recommend tea filters/bags or mesh balls for your special loose leaf teas. Those are probably the worst options, since they are too small for the expanding leaves.Though, I certainly won’t stop using tea bags for more common tea, like Bigelow Organic Green Tea. They are wonderfully travel-ready after all.