Straining of tea is important for those people who brew loose tea because the tealeaves tend to accumulate at the bottom of the pot or cup and create sticky foliage. Many people use tea bags to avoid such a situation. However, good quality strainers make it possible today to keep all loose tealeaves out of the teacup or teapot.
Some of the more popular gadgets used to strain tea today are:
Tea Balls: The tea balls come in different shapes and styles, and are the most common and popular way to brew loose tea. The balls are filed with tealeaves and allowed to steep in hot water, and then pulled out. The balls allow free circulation of water since they are perforated. However, they don't let the tealeaves float because the perforations are very small. The most basic tea ball is a simple wire mesh ball attached to a short chain.
Tea Strainers: These are placed on top of the cup or teapot. They catch the loose leaves as the tea is poured through the strainer. These tea strainers are usually made of either sterling silver, china or steel, and look quite elegant. Most strainers come in a 2-piece set, consisting of the strainer and a small saucer.
Bamboo Infusers: These are the traditional and inexpensive type of strainers, which are similar to the silver or china strainers. They also catch the leaves when the steeped tea is poured through them into the cup.
Tea Pots with Built-in Filters: These are very popular among frequent tea drinkers and are available in several varieties. They are more convenient to use than the strainers.
Tea Presses: This is the most convenient way of getting rid of brewed tealeaves. Once the tea has been steeped, the plunger is pressed and the leaves get pushed to the bottom. Just like the pots with in-built filters, these presses are more convenient than strainers especially when several cups of tea have to be prepared.
Filter bags: These are like do-it-yourself teabags and come in many varieties. You simply fill them with tea and put them in your pot or cup.
It is important to strain tea carefully. Very often steeped tealeaves slip into the cup, and leave an unpleasant taste. The strainers should also be changed frequently, especially if they are made of wire mesh.