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.
Originally Published March 8 2012
I have never been to a tea room and been presented with a ‘tea’ list. Like the ubiquitous wine list at a good restaurant, the list featured many different teas from around the globe which ranged from black teas, to green and fruit tea to the redbush or roobios variety. After a few minutes pouring over the list (no pun intended) I settled for Ceylon Orange Pekoe – which is nothing to do with the fruit, but rather uses the whole tender flesh of the leaf. I also ordered a Carrot and Coriander soup. The tea swiftly arrived in an elegant ceramic elephant shaped pot along with a wicker strainer and handle-less tea cup.
While waiting for the tea to brew and the soup to arrive, I took a moment to look around. Considering a noisy busy bus route was outside, the room was surprisingly quiet with a little ambient music playing in the background. It was similar to a Japanese tea room adorned with bamboo and wicker furniture and a traditional Japanese seating area. The red/brown tea was light and pleasant with a hint of a malty flavour which was a nice change from the usual strong teas I drink. I enjoyed the soup with its accompanying wholemeal roll.
Along with the extensive range of tea, Tea Sutra also offers complementary therapies from acupuncture to massage. But no coffee – the owner is a purist!
Tea Sutra is the perfect place for tea connoisseurs to chill out and enjoy a brew.
You can visit Tea Sutra’s website at http://teasutra.co.uk/
I am at work having hit the mid-afternoon lull and I need something to help give me focus. So, I reach for the packet of Himalayan Blend by Quilliam Brothers which is described as a ‘fantastic mix of second flush teas from the great gardens of Darjeeling, Nepal and Sikkim’.
I add roughly a teaspoon and a half of the tea in to my YoYo infuser and pour in freshly boiled water. I allow the tea to brew for a few minutes and watch the large leaf tea float about and change the colour of the water from a light green to golden brown.
I remove the infuser and enjoy the tea ‘as is’ with a cranberry and yogurt tiffan.
The blend has a sweet fragrance with a light, smooth taste. I think the QB Himalayan Blend is a wonderfully refreshing tea which left me feeling ready to tackle the final couple of hours at the office.
At work I spend the day working in front of a computer as software developer. It is recommended that in such a role you should take a short break at least once an hour, spending a few minutes away from the desk stretching your legs and resting eyes. Now, I found a good way to do this is to take the time to make a proper brew.
I use a tea infuser and keep some quality loose leaf tea in my drawer for some proper tea enjoyment. Now my tea break is taken by selecting a tea to brew, cleaning out the infuser, adding the tea and watching it brew.
Create your own tea break ritual and prepare your cuppa carefully and mindfully. Select your tea, take notice of the fragrance of the leaves and the colour changes as the tea brews. This will give you a moment to reflect, think and relax.
The moment will allow you return to your desk feeling refreshed – your body and mind will thank you for it.
Guest post by Andrew Brown. Originally posted 10.28.2008.
Box Description: A sparkling brew with body and strength-not for the faint hearted! Tetley’s unique extra strong blend is made up of teas from Assam and Africa for the perfect blend of taste, ‘red’ colour, body and strength.
Preperation Method: Black – boiling water on tea bag for 5 minutes.
Traffic, pollution, noise, crowds are just some of the words that spring to mind when one thinks of modern life. Tiring isn’t it? No wonder people feel a pre-work slump in the morning. But life doesn’t have to be so bleak.
Indeed, with teas like Tetley Extra Strong one can feel a pre-work enthusiasm. It’s the type of tea that brings you back from the edge. Your ready to jump and it says, “Relax, think about it. Life has much to offer.”
So you step back, you take a sip. Suddenly you feel a thirst for life. Not like a rocket is this tea strong, it doesn’t smack you in the face and bellow, “Wake up!” No, it’s more subtle in its approach. It reasons with you and shows you a brighter side to life. Like a wise man, this tea does not use brut force but the power of knowledge and experience. It’s a wisdom-gaining experience which shines light on what seemed to be an uninspiring day ahead. Rejuvenating and refreshing.
Morning: Toast (white, buttered)
Lunch Time: KitKat
Mid-Afternoon: Chocolate Digestive
Evening: Not recommended for evening consumption.
For my birthday my wife presented me with a Bodum Yo Yo Tea Infuser to allow me to enjoy a loose leaf brew at the office.
The benefits of using an infuser such as this is that it gives the tea leaves more movement and allows the leaves space to expand which releases the flavours. Also, when filling the cup, you are adding the hot water directly on top of the leaves, making sure that the oxygen in the water can bring the taste and aroma. Therefore the Bodum Yo Yo Tea Infuser will give a better brew when compared to a tea ball infuser which are often quite small, constraining the tea.
The infuser features a glass mug, plastic mesh infuser and a lid. The box suggests that you place the lid on top of the infuser when brewing and then put the infuser on the lid when done – however, if using at your desk like me you will find that using the lid will leave nice watermarks and tea stains on your desk, so don’t use the lid as a tray for the infuser or find something else to put it on.
All in all – I like the Bodum Yo Yo Tea Infuser – you get a good brew and I use it daily.
TruBru – Re-brewed
Back in 2008, I started a blog about tea. The blog was regularly updated with reviews and suchlike until other commitments meant I stopped writing.
Now I am ready to re-launch TruBru and will again write about all things tea – topics are to include reviews about tea, places to enjoy a brew, amongst other things. I will also feature posts from guest writers and republish some choice posts from the old blog.
You can also follow TruBru on twitter.
I hope you will enjoy the site.