A tea infuser, also called a tea egg or a teaball, is a metal device designed to hold loose tea leaves while immersing the infuser in hot water to make the perfect cup of tea. Many tea fanciers believe that using loose leaves and herbs held inside the infuser makes a more delicious and aromatic cup of tea.
There are several different styles of tea infusers. One is a round ball made from wire or stainless steel mesh that opens in the center. You fill half of the ball, lock it closed, then deposit the infuser into a teacup or pot filled with hot water. Another style of infuser is an aluminum or metal cylinder which has been perforated with numerous holes, and featuring a chain to lower the unit into the hot water. Sometimes this style of metal infuser is made into more elaborate shapes such as a heart or a country cottage, with a trap door opening so you can fill it with tea leaves or herbs, then seal it closed before the infuser is immersed.
Another popular style of tea infuser is a spoon shaped infuser which is attached to a long handle-shaped rod which is squeezed to open the two halves of the spoon in order to fill it with the desired tea or herb concoction. One of the advantages of this style of infuser is that it easily serves double duty as a spoon to stir honey, lemon juice or milk into your finished cup of tea.
After the tea has been brewed to the desired strength using a tea infuser, use the attached chain or the handle to remove the infuser from the water, toss the used leaves or herbs and rinse out the infuser so it is ready to use again the next time. It’s important not to let the tea leaves or herbs dry inside the tea infuser because they may stain it and become difficult to remove.
A tea infuser makes a very affordable and welcome gift for anyone on your list who enjoys the ritual and relaxation of treating themselves on a regular basis to afternoon tea service.