When making a cuppa with loose leaf tea; don’t use a ball infuser. Why? they just don’t deliver a quality brew.
Recently I purchased a bag of ‘We Are Tea’ English Breakfast for around £4 a bag. Initially I brewed this in a ball infuser with just over a spoonful of tea, for about 4 minutes with freshly drawn water as best practice dictates. When I drunk the tea, I was disappointed – I found it was weaker than expected and it lacked the full bodied flavour of breakfast tea.
Later I brewed the tea again using my Bodum tea pot with tea press – now this time I got a better cuppa.
As a comparison I repeated the experiment by brewing some Flowery Orange Pekoe by Pumphreys using my Yoyo infuser and compared with my other ball infuser at work. The result was similar – the tea brewed using the ball tasted flat and was quite rubbish. Brewed properly with the YoYo infuser, the Flowery Orange Pekoe tasted rather good.
After my experiments and consulting The Little Book of Tea Tips by Andrew Langley; I came to conclude that loose leaf tea needs lots of room to brew and expand to extract the flavours from the leaf. You also need to pour your water directly on the leaf to make sure the oxygen can draw out the aroma and taste. Therefore my conclusion is that you should use a tea pot or an in-mug tea infuser such as the Bodum yoyo.