An overview of Tea Strainers
A lot more goes into brewing the perfect cup of tea than most people realize – and we’re not just talking about getting your hands on the highest quality tea leaves, either.
Sure, you’re obviously going to want to invest in high-caliber tea if you want to produce a cup of something spectacular. But you’re also going to need to use the right brewing equipment to unlock all of the flavors, all of the aroma, and all of the health-boosting benefits that high-quality tea brings to the table.
That’s where a quality tea strainer comes into play.
Designed specifically to extract all of the special properties that tea leaves have to offer while at the same time guaranteeing that your tea is brewed perfectly and consistently every single time you make a cup, a tea strainer – the right tea strainer, anyway – can make a world of difference.
Sure, you could get your hands on a big box of bagged tea “dust” and just sort of brew up a couple of so-so tea every morning. But if you’re going to be investing in quality tea leaves (particularly some of the more exotic tea leaves from around the world) a tea strainer is a must-have piece of brewing hardware.
Below we dive a little deeper into exactly what a tea strainer is, exactly what it brings to the table, and why you’ll want to utilize a tea strainer going forward. We’ll also cover how to find the right tea strainer for your needs and your budget as well as how to get the most out of everything that this inexpensive piece of hardware has to offer.
Let’s dig right in!
What Exactly Is a Tea Strainer, Anyway?
The best tea strainers on the market today are multifaceted pieces of brewing hardware that knock out a couple of critical jobs when it comes to pumping out the best quality cup of tea possible.
For starters, tea strainers are designed to hold the tea leaves (ideally loose leaf and pre-dried tea leaves) that you are going to be brewing your cup of tea with in the first place.
If you were to just drop all of your loose leaf tea leaves right into a cup and then brew a mug you get some decent results for sure – but you’d have to worry about swallowing all the little bits of tea leaves that you weren’t able to fish out of your cup after it had been left to steep.
A tea strainer secures all of these leaves in a compact little form factor, making it easy to drop tea leaves into your cup but also making it just as easy to get all of those tea leaves out of your cup as well.
The other thing that tea strainers do better than anything else (the ones that have been intelligently designed, anyway – the ones worth owning) is that they allow plenty of room and space for tea leaves to grow and expand after they come in contact with the hot water that you are brewing with.
This space for expansion guarantees that your tea leaves are not super compressed during the brewing process, something that would limit the amount of flavor, the amount of aroma, and the amount of health-boosting properties that move from the leaves into your cup of tea in the first place.
By offering a little bit of room for expansion without compressing the individual leaves you’re able to get better flavor, stronger aromas, and a lot more health-boosting biochemicals into your tea than you would have been able to if the leaves were constricted.
Even standard teabags are far more constricting than top-quality tea strainers are. You’ll have a lot more room, a lot more flexibility, and a lot more space for your leaves to bloom with this piece of hardware.
Lastly, a tea strainer lets you mix and match different kinds of tea leaves together (when you are using loose leaf tea leaves, anyway) so that you can really tailor each individual cup to your tastes and your interests.
It’s next to impossible to pop open a tea bag and add your own little ingredients that take your favorite cup of tea to the next level. Doing the exact same thing with a quality tea strainer is effortless.
Make the Most of Loose Leaf Tea
Of all the different benefits that a quality tea strainer offers the biggest has to be the ability to easily take advantage of loose leaf tea without the headache and hassle of having to strain, sift, and pick out all the little tea leave particles from your cup of tea the way you might have had to otherwise.
Everyone serious about tea on the planet today knows that loose leaf is the way to go if you’re looking to get the highest quality cup of tea possible. Serious aficionados of exotic tea and those that want the most health-boosting benefits from a cup of tea alike choose loose leaf over everything else – giving you the best flavor and the most nutrients at the same time.
The ability to use any type of loose leaf tea leaves you are interested in with a quality tea strainer is a big breakthrough, especially if you like different kinds of tea for different occasions. You might want a strong, black tea to start your morning off right and then a more subtle and subdued green tea just before bed.
With the right tea strainer, you’re going to be able to use both of those kinds of tea leaves to maximum effect (and any other loose leaf tea leaves, for that matter) making this a very versatile piece of tea brewing equipment you’ll want to have on hand.
Finding the Right Tea Strainer
At the end of the day, your happiness with a new tea strainer is going to come down to whether or not you’ve got your hands on the right piece of hardware.
And while every tea strainer may look pretty similar to every other (there’s not a whole lot of variation) the truth of the matter is there’s a world of difference between the way that subtle changes to the design and implementation of tea strainer components that make or break these options.
That’s why you’ll want to pay close attention to the key details we highlight below so that you can find the perfect strainer for your specific needs.
Size is Everything
Right out of the box, the size of the strainer that you choose to move forward with is going to make a huge difference in not only the types of tea leaves you’re able to put inside of your new strainer but the types of applications you will be able to use it in, too.
Super compact strainers are perfect for those that only want to brew a single cup of tea for themselves at a time. These kinds of strainers fit a single serving of loose leaf tea inside perfectly, can be dropped inside of your favorite teacup or tea mug, and are super easy to clean and maintain.
At the same time, you can get your hands on tea strainers that are significantly larger and designed to be dropped inside of teapots or carafes of hot water to make larger quantities of tea at one time.
Obviously, these larger format strainers aren’t going to be quite as easy to squeeze into a single teacup, are going to be a little more challenging to clean by hand, and are going to require a lot more tea leaves inside to be effective.
Strainer Size is Key
The individual strainer hole size is another big piece of the puzzle that you’ll want to make sure you get right.
Strainers with larger holes are going to allow a lot of extra room for hot water to interact with your tea leaves, but they also may allow bits and pieces of tea leaves to sleet out into your cup of tea in a way that smaller strainer holes will not.
It’s a good idea to shoot for a bit of a happy medium in this department while making sure that the actual strainer system itself leaves plenty of room for your tea leaves to grow and expand without restricting hot water flow at any point in time.
Retrieval System is Important
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that getting your tea strainer out of your teakettle, your teapot, your carafe, or your cup of finished tea is simple, straightforward, and above all else very safe.
A lot of the more popular options on the market today include a tiny little metal chain that makes retrieval pretty simple and very safe. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t have to fish your new strainer out with tongs or your fingers, though, so look for options that at this neat little convenience feature before you decide to move forward with it.