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How To Make Tea Without Tea Bags

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Making tea can be a pleasant therapeutic practice. It has a calming effect on your mind, not to mention all the nutrients your body is simultaneously ingesting!

However, sometimes you buy the wrong type of tea. Or you’re in the process of moving over to making loose-leaf tea exclusively. Or your tea bag tore!

Whatever your reason is, you suddenly need to make tea, but you don’t have tea bags or a tea infuser.

So, how do you make tea without tea bags? The key is finding a tool that resembles an infuser or strainer! The best tool is a small sieve, conical strainer, or even a fork. You can even use cheesecloth or a cocktail shaker if you have to. And if you’re really desperate, you can concoct a make-shift Gaiwan (traditional tea-making vessel).

Today, we will focus on choosing the best tea-making method for your needs and go into great detail on how to do it. We’ve also included some tips that will help you get the best-tasting results!

Premade Tea Bags Vs Loose Leaf Tea

Tray with dry hojicha green tea and hot beverage on grey background

Making and drinking loose-leaf tea is a practice that has been around for ages.

However, in countries where tea isn’t such a big thing, the only type of tea you used to be able to find was already portioned into tea bags.

Luckily, today it is becoming a lot easier to find loose-leaf tea, and an abundant variety of it, too! This type of tea is usually a lot fresher, contains a lot more nutrients, and has a better flavor than what you find in ready-to-use tea bags.

Not to mention, it is a much more eco-friendly way of making and drinking tea since you aren’t using any single-use materials as you do with premade tea bags.

Loose-leaf tea doesn’t need a single-use bag, string, tag, or individual wrapping. And, more often than not, the packaging these teas are sold in is eco-friendly as well.

So, all in all, we are huge fans of loose-leaf tea! It is a lovely, soothing ritual you can do that simultaneously allows you to adjust the flavor and intensity of your steeping tea.

Functions Of A Tea Bag

Tea bags on wooden background with fresh melissa, mint. Tea with mint concept.

Now, as much as we would love to say “away with single-use tea bags!” — we can’t. These bags have a crucial function: keeping the leaves together so they don’t go everywhere.

There is nothing worse than swallowing tea leaves whole. It’s like eating whole peppercorns in a fancy gin and tonic — it’s just a pain!

While it simultaneously helps keep the leaves together, it also makes brewing easier, especially if the bag has a string and tag.

Using tea bags is an easy and effortless way to make tea without needing any special tools or equipment. And it takes considerably less time too (considering you don’t have to prepare or clean anything).

How To Choose The Best Method

You will see that we are discussing quite a few different tea-making methods today without using single-use tea bags.

These are all ways you can make loose-leaf tea or tea leaves that came from a ripped tea bag! But which method is best? Honestly, that depends on what you have on hand.

Using a type of strainer is likely the most versatile technique you can use. Everybody will have one of the options on that list.

However, it isn’t the most effective way to make tea without a tea bag. In that case, we would go for a reusable tea bag option, like a ball infuser.

A teapot with a built-in tea infuser or leaf strainer is an even better option. But you need to buy them, and they aren’t readily available everywhere (mostly at tea supply stores).

A tea infuser is another obviously easy choice, but will not help if you don’t have one and when you are in a pinch.

So, at the end of the day, what you have in your home at the time is what will work the best. That’s exactly why we will discuss a bunch of methods for you to choose from!

Method 1: Use A Strainer

Our first method is pretty simple and effective depending on the type of strainer you are using. The easiest for making tea would be a small fine-mesh strainer. It should preferably be one that fits into your mug.

For this method, you will steep the tea leaves in a mug, jug, or bowl. The steps for steeping the tea stay exactly the same as when you make tea in an infuser, but the straining technique differs.

Here is how to make tea with a strainer:

  1. Combine the hot water with your loose-leaf tea in a mixing bowl. Leave it for the recommended amount of time.
  2. Place the strainer above the bowl or mug you want to strain the liquid into. Make sure the other container is completely clean. Try to stay away from plastic if it is possible.
  3. Gently and slowly pour the tea over the strainer into the other mug. Make sure you don’t spill leaves over the sides. If you didn’t get all of the leaves the first pour, try again.

Other unconventional types of strainers you can consider using are a regular flour sieve, conical strainer, or even a fork! Each of these tools will help effectively strain tea leaves.

You can also have a look around your house for other tools that look similar or will perform a similar function. That may include something like a slotted spoon, a small-holed pizza pan, or a deep-frying spider or skimming spoon.

Just make sure that the holes are tiny enough to catch all of the leaves — or at the very least, most of the larger leaves.

Method 2: Use Cheesecloth

This is another very effective method we use to strain many different kinds of liquids. It is super effective and will help catch all of the tea leaves and leaf particles!

You can find a variety of cheesecloth set-ups. You can buy a premade cloth strainer that’s attached to a handle — these are very easy to use, and you can simply place them over your jug or container.

You can also just buy a piece of cheesecloth. This is a little more tricky to use, but just as effective.

The most important thing to remember is that you have to use clean cheesecloth. It shouldn’t have any odors on it — these will affect the flavor of the tea when you strain it.

Here is how to make tea with cheesecloth:

  1. Steep your tea into a mug or jug as per usual.
  2. Place the cheesecloth over a mug. Make sure it reaches over the edges.
  3. Make an indent into the mug so that the cloth forms a well. Then, place an elastic tightly around the outside of the mug to secure the cloth in place.
  4. Strain the tea. Depending on the weave of your cloth, the liquid will strain at various rates. Never overfill the well you’ve created — slowly pour the tea in and wait for it to strain.

Method 3: Use A Cocktail Shaker

This method is great to use if you have a cocktail shaker. Many of them come with an attachable strainer. You can also buy a separate strainer.

These shakers are commonly used to strain out ice, but there are finer ones that help strain spices and herbs.

You can leave the tea to steep inside the cocktail shaker. Keep in mind that some metal shakers may affect the flavor of your steeping tea. Once the tea has steeped, simply strain it directly into your mug or tea cup — it’s as easy as that!

Method 4: Make A Gaiwan

A Gaiwan is a traditional vessel used for brewing tea. You most likely don’t have one in your home, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t easy to make one! Or, at the very least, replicate how it works using common household tools.

To start, you need a bowl. Then, you need a lid of some kind. The lid needs to fit the bowl tightly in most places, but you need to be able to control it so that there is a small gap for the liquid to escape through.

We would recommend using a sugar pot (without the spoon slot). You will be able to control the size of the gap more easily with the sugar pot’s handle. You can also just use a small bowl and a flat plate.

The technique is ultimately a smaller version of straining the pasta water from your pot by keeping the lid on and leaving a small gap.

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