Tea is one of the oldest beverages in the world, and people have been perfecting the art of making it for centuries. And for truly delicious tea, you need the right tools and equipment. Sure, steeping and pouring can be relatively simple tasks, but serious tea lovers know that having the right equipment can make all the difference. From the water temperature to the serving vessel, every step of tea preparation must be done with care and precision, much like the approach to brewing coffee.
“We drink tea for many reasons, and one of them is pleasure and comfort,” says Bevin Clare, chief herbalist at Twinings North America. “Tea isn’t just a method of hydration or caffeine, it’s a tradition and a sensory delight.”
Because tea is prevalent in many different cultures and societies, the tools considered necessary to make it vary widely. For example, “The best teapot depends on cultural tea drinking practices and the type of tea consumed,” adds Clare. That said, we set out to find out which tools were the most universally essential for all types of tea drinkers, bringing in a number of experts to weigh in on the best tea making accessories for making perfect cups at every time.
Essentials for making tea
An electric kettle for precise pouring
When it comes to making tea, the vessel for boiling the water is of the utmost importance. Although you can use a regular stovetop kettle, electric kettles are infinitely better because they heat up quickly and with minimal effort. Consider the Fellow Stagg model; using specialized heating technology, it allows you to heat water to a specific temperature, and when it comes to making tea, precision is crucial.
“Having the right temperature setting is important because there are different optimal steeping temperatures, depending on the type of tea you are brewing,” says Rishi Deb, Twinings Master Blender. “For example, black, green, white, or other plant-based options have different brew temperatures.”
Plus, the gooseneck spout lets you pour water over the tea leaves with precision, and the ergonomic handle makes it comfortable and easy to hold. Crafted from stainless steel and coated in stylish colors like black, white, or hot pink, it’s a durable and aesthetically pleasing product that can add efficiency and versatility to any kitchen.
A fine-mesh infuser basket for steeping and straining
“Tea is a simple beverage at its core, and it really only needs heated water, tea leaves, and a container to hold them,” Clare explains. “The beauty of tea is that we can make a cup without fancy equipment and it can come out well. If you are looking for a tool that would increase the quality of your tea, the most important item would be a strainer.
This fine mesh strainer from Oxo is made from stainless steel, so it won’t absorb or release unwanted flavors into your tea. It is perfect for steeping loose leaf tea directly into your favorite cup or teacup. Meanwhile, the large basket allows the tea leaves to fully expand and the small holes prevent even the smallest tea leaves from escaping. The strainer lips are wide enough to reach large cups – they span 5.5 inches – and the silicone touch points help the strainer stay cool even in hot water. Unlike most colanders, this infuser basket comes with a lid that retains heat, and it even doubles as a drip tray.
An airtight box to preserve freshness
Keeping your tea leaves fresh is crucial to having a good cup. To do this, it is essential to have a reliable storage system. Tea leaves lose their freshness when exposed to air, moisture and sunlight. These airtight boxes from Planetary Design are therefore a great way to keep them as fresh as possible. Not only does it lock in freshness with a two-way valve system that expels extra oxygen from the container, it’s made from BPA-free galvanized steel, which means it won’t absorb or leach oxygen. unwanted flavors. The dark color helps block sunlight while the lockable lid also helps seal in moisture. (While perfect for tea, this versatile container can also be used to store flour, sugar, or coffee, and it can hold up to 2.2 pounds of food.)
A glass teapot to watch the tea brew
Although there are many types of teapots, a glass teapot is classic, elegant and functional. “My favorite teapots are the glass ones with infusers,” says Deb. “They are clear, easy to use and leave no streaks.” This option from Bodum is made from borosilicate glass, which means it’s better equipped to handle high temperatures than standard glass. Inside is a large BPA-free plastic strainer to infuse loose leaves while allowing them to open and drain freely. Encased in a stainless steel frame available in three colors, the teapot itself rests on three legs for a chic, elevated look. A heat-resistant plastic lid and handle make pouring easy.
A larger teapot to serve a crowd
This super sleek ceramic teapot is ergonomically designed to feel more comfortable in your hand, so you can easily pour cup after cup when serving guests. Simply fill the built-in stainless steel strainer with loose leaf tea and cover with hot water; the tea leaves are strained as you pour. The secure lid helps trap heat, so tea stays hot on the counter or table. The metal handle stays cool and the spout is designed to prevent drips.
A set of chic mugs for a cozy cup
Nothing is cozier than snuggling up with a hot cup of tea, and a classic teacup and saucer makes the scene even more romantic. With an elegant gold rim and simple honeycomb design, these regal teacups and saucers are the perfect way to accessorize and elevate a brunch table. Crafted from durable porcelain, which helps keep tea warm and won’t absorb flavors, the cups and saucers are finished with a gloss glaze. “Porcelain works with almost any type of tea,” says Deb. “It’s a very universal material.”
A gaiwan cup for tea connoisseurs
Gaiwan cups are a traditional tool used in China and are a fantastic way to enjoy the natural flavors of loose leaf tea. “If I had to choose a steeping tool, I would recommend investing in a good porcelain Gaiwan,” says Michelle Cheng, owner and founder of the Providence-based tea bar. “A gaiwan uses a high leaf-to-water ratio, which means it steeps tea in a shorter time and can serve multiple steeps. This style of steeping allows the loose leaves to expand and steep fully during the steeping process, which provides a superior taste and allows tea lovers to enjoy the flavor change over multiple infusions.Once steeped, you can drink the tea directly from this traditional cup or use the lid for the strain into something else.The wide, angled opening makes it easy to drink, and the accompanying lid helps keep tea warm.
An insulated infuser mug for days on the go
Of course, travel mugs are everywhere. They’re easy to find and everyone seems to have their own favorite. However, most of them are specifically geared towards coffee lovers, and loose leaf tea lovers should adapt. Not anymore, this 16 ounce insulated infuser mug is specially designed for tea drinkers, making it the perfect option for steeping a cup on the go. With a built-in stainless steel infuser and leak-proof lid, you can easily steep leaf teas straight from your travel mug. The two-way filter and infuser allow you to drink from the cup without any leaves escaping. Made of BPA-free stainless steel, the double-walled tumbler is insulated to keep hot drinks hot and cold.
What are tea essentials?
Tea is one of the simplest beverages in the world, but it’s also versatile, which means the tools needed to make it depend on a number of variables. “The essential tool for making a great cup of tea depends primarily on the type of tea being brewed, as well as the occasion,” Deb explains. That said, “Basically, the most important tools would be a teapot for loose teas, a good teacup, strainers, and a box or canister for storage.” If you’re attending a tea ceremony or tea party for a special occasion, a complete set of matching teapots, cups, saucers, creamers and sugar bowls can be a fun way to celebrate.
“To set the mood for a tea ceremony, you can prepare additional items like a tea plant, incense, and flower arrangements,” Cheng said. In addition to the tools themselves, it’s important to select fresh tea from high-quality brands and always use filtered water to steep it.
What are the different types of tea?
Although there are tons of different varieties, the most common types are black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong, and herbal tea (like chamomile). Additionally, teas come in two styles: loose tea and bagged tea. While bagged tea is arguably more convenient, loose leaf tea often has a fresher, bolder, and more distinct flavor.
How to make tea step by step?
To steep tea, first select your tea leaves and the container you plan to steep them in. If you want to brew them in a pot to serve more than one person, be sure to use a model that has a strainer or infuser. If you are only pouring tea for yourself, you can select an individual cup and infusion basket.
In terms of quantity, about one teaspoon of tea leaves to six ounces of water is a good rule of thumb. Once you have your tools ready, place the desired amount of tea leaves into your steeping container. Boil water in a kettle or in an electric kettle. Once boiling, pour the hot water over the tea leaves. Then let the leaves steep for a few minutes (exact time varies by tea) and remember that the longer you leave the leaves in the water, the stronger the tea will be. Once the infusion is complete, you can remove and discard the tea leaves.