What You Need To Brew Loose Green Tea
By Heather Krasovec
Loose green teas offer a more flavorful and healthful alternative to mass-produced tea bags. Yet many people are hesitant to abandon the convenience of a tea bag. They fear the process of brewing loose tea will be difficult or time-consuming. Some think brewing loose green tea requires expensive special equipment. I am here to shed some light on the easy and versatile ways you can brew your loose green tea.
You can put loose green tea leaves right into a pot of hot water. After allowing for brewing time, pour the tea through a strainer into cups. It can be a standard kitchen strainer, or one made specifically for the task such as a small strainer designed to rest on the rim of a tea cup. Tea strainers come in a ton of different styles and sizes (I love to collect vintage and antique tea strainers.) This method is simple, quick and uses items you probably already have in your kitchen.
The most common way to brew loose tea is through the infusion method. The "infuser" is anything that the loose tea leaves are put into, the most popular being a tea ball or tea stick (egg-shaped.) These are metal or mesh balls separated into two halves connected with a hinge so that it can be opened and filled with loose tea leaves. You can buy tea balls in a variety of fanciful designs and finishes and they allow you to brew right in the cup of your choice. The biggest problem is space. They don't always allow enough room for expansion and water circulation, which results in a less than perfect cup of green tea. They are still a decent choice for economical and convenience purposes.
A better bet is to look for a teapot with an infuser built into it. The built-in infuser is a basket (usually glass, ceramic or metal) that the tea is put into. The infuser is then placed in the pot of hot water for the desired brewing time. It can be easily removed to prevent over-brewing, which can lead to a bitter cup of tea.
Many people enjoy the convenience of an infuser cup. These cups are specifically made to brew a great cup of tea. They normally come in three parts:The body of the cup, the infuser and a lid. Leaving the lid on while steeping enhances the flavor and the lid can be turned upside down when finished and used as a place to put the infuser. There are also travel mugs with the infusers built right in. You'll want to make sure the infuser is large enough to allow ample room for the expansion of the leaves, as well as good water circulation.
Another popular loose tea brewing method involves a french coffee press. Although designed for use with coffee, this application is very well suited to tea brewing. Simply put the tea leaves into the press, add hot water, wait till brewed and plunge the filter down. It's a great way to make tea for two quickly and easily. If you already own a press for making coffee, this is a great option that doesn't require buying any new kitchen equipment
Any of the methods listed above will produce a great cup of green tea capable of providing many health benefits. Pick your favorite and start brewing!
Heather Krasovec own and maintains http://www.drinkgreenteaforhealth.com, an informative site about green tea which also features a compilation of recipes Heather developed to incorporate more green tea into her diet.