Many people enjoy tea but they also enjoy it in many different ways! The most common, at least in the United States, are pre-made tea bags with crushed tea. This crushed tea is often from the 'bottom of the barrel' and sometimes can be old and not retain much of its health benefits or medicinal use which is what makes it so much cheaper than loose-leaf teas.
Loose-leaf teas are often fresher. Being whole they retain more of their properties and they can also save on packaging costs and waste. The taste is also much more flavorful compared to most pre-bagged crushed teas. Today we are going to share with you 10 ways that you can brew loose-leaf tea at home!
#1 - tea balls and sticks
There are a number of tea balls/sticks and single cup infusion devices. One of the most popular types are tea sticks, most commonly a spoon shape with a handle that pinches open and closed. Tea is inserted into the spoon and then the handle released and placed right into the cup for infusion then removed once infused.
Another type of single cup infuser has a metal net that sits inside your tea water while the handle and frame rest on your tea cup. The herbs are placed inside while they steep, then removed from the cup and the tea leaves are then disposed of.
These type of tea infusers come in many different shapes; round, hearts, tea pots, monkeys, fruits, and vegetables. They also come in a plain stick form where the herbs are put into the stick and used as a wand. Some are made from metal, others plastic and even bamboo. A tea enthusiast can search online and find one of these infusers in about every shape and size.
#2 - tea press / infusion pitcher
Our favorite way to infuse tea on cold days and when we are in a hurry for a large batch is to use our French Press (many other brands available, sometimes sold as a coffee infuser rather than tea). This heat-tempered glass container is used by placing in your tea leaves, adding hot water and then placing the lid on it and pressing the mesh down slightly while your tea brews. When ready to serve, the handle is pushed to the bottom keeping the tea leaves out of your water and allowing you to pour debris free.
A tea pitcher is also available which has a slot down the middle of the pitcher for your tea leaves. Once the water is poured into the picther and the water is infused, depending on your pitcher, the infuser is then removed or left in for continued infusion.
#3- By Candlelight
Sounds romantic doesn't it? There are many options out there which hold a tea pot or cup over a small candle that is then lit and that heats up your water and/or steeps your tea. All depending on which type you have.
#4- Stove top/Wood Stove
This tea is brewed by placing your tea in a pot on the stove top (or wood stove) along with your water and simmering on low for the desired amount of time.
A decoction is usually steeped for longer. With medicinal herbs this method is mostly used when roots are the makeup of the tea (it takes longer for them to infuse than leaves). The tea is then strained with a mesh strainer over a bowl or other vessel. The leaves/roots are discarded and the tea is enjoyed!
#5- Slow Cooker
This method is recommended for 8 cups or more of tea. Place 1 tablespoon of tea per 1 cup of water in the slow cooker. Placing tea in a muslin bag is recommended for easy clean up. Turn on low and let steep for up to 6 hours. Some have let this go over night but use caution as different teas may have various steep times. Remove muslin bag and serve, or if you choose to skip the muslin bag strain using a mesh strainer over a bowl. Return to slow cooker and serve! Great for parties and get-togethers.
This is our favorite way to make tea in the summertime! Using a half-gallon canning jar (or other similar container such as those made for this purpose with a spout for easy pouring) place 1 tablespoon of herb per cup of water in the jar. Place lid on top and set out in the sun for 5-8 hours depending on tea and preferred steep. Strain herbs using a mesh strainer (or place them in a muslin bag before steeping) and return tea to a clean container.
#7- electric coffee/tea pot
There are three great ways to use electric steepers for loose-leaf tea!
Several companies make an actual electric teapot that allows you to add your tea (like coffee) and turn on the tea kettle to brew tea.
If you have a basic coffee maker, such as our $10 most basic coffee pot using old-fashioned filters, add your tea (1 tablespoon leaves to 1 cup of water) in the paper filter. Add your water as you would for coffee, turn on the machine and let it do its thing.
Option three here is to use the single cup coffee pots such as the popular Keurig (K-cup) type machines. They have reusable filters available that will allow you to place your loose-leaf tea in the container and then run as you normally would.
#8 - travel infusers
A great option for those on the move: single cup, on the go infusers! A tea tumbler with an infuser built in that allows you to add your loose-leaf tea, hot water, and then take off. A great way to make your loose leaf tea portable.
Check out this new fast food version of on the go cups! It could be arriving in coffee shops soon!
#9- tea bags
The favorite of modern tea inventions, the tea bag! As mentioned before most tea in the States is sold pre-packaged in a tea bag. A great way to insure you still get the benefits of loose-leaf tea and the simplicity of clean up/disposal and use is to purchase one-time or reusable tea bags.
One-time tea bags vary from those you fill and then fold over your cup while steeping, to those that are ironed closed and used as the pre-filled ones you purchase at the grocery store.
Reuseable tea bags are usually a handy little sewn muslin bag with a draw string or some other closer that allows you to fill the bag, use, empty, wash, then reuse.
Either of these are great for keeping tucked in your purse or wallet for an easy on the go loose-leaf tea option.
#10 - cold infusion
Another prep-and-let-brew option similar to the slow cooker method but instead of using heat this method uses cold infusion. Using 1 tablespoon of tea per 24 oz to a 1/2 gallon canning jar (or infuser pitcher or other container and/or mesh bag for tea) and steep for 10 hours in the refrigerator. Strain using a mesh strainer and serve. (or remove infusing device if used).
What is your favorite way to infuse loose leaf tea? Tell us about one of the new ways you learned you can infuse tea that you might try!
Visit our farm store for our artisan loose leaf teas wether it be a traditional chai, a green tea or our local Oregon berry teas!
Download your free 10 Ways to Infuse Loose-Leaf Tea Printable HERE
My name is CeAnne, wife to my Farmer and mama to 4 adopted kiddos. I help farm lov'n mama's (and grandmas) turn common herbs into powerful medicines without being overwhelmed. Here you will find all sorts of nourishing goodness on natural medicine, herb gardening and wholesome real foods. Read more about our farm HERE.