Convenience really is king in this modern world. We expect everything to happen in an instant. From online checkout processes on eComm stores to WhatsApp replies from colleagues or friends. The teabag – whose adoption happened by accident – has even made tea making quicker and more convenient. Tea in teabags tend to be in dust form, which makes for a stronger brew. And hence the quicker brew time. (But teabags were only ever meant to carry samples of loose leaf tea, rather than be part of the brewing process.) The more we want things to happen in the now, the less in the now we become. Ironic, isn’t it? One wonderful way to come back to the now and slow down a bit is to put the kettle on, brew up some loose leaf herbal tea and enjoy that cuppa, sip by sip. But I don’t have a teapot, I hear you cry is dismay. Not to worry: here are seven ways to brew loose leaf herbal tea without a teapot.
With an infuser: ball and chain, stick or spoon
If you go down the infuser route, you’ve got lots of options to choose from. There’s the ball and chain infuser (which we find a little messy), the spoon infuser (less messy to use) and the stick infuser (nifty, but they don’t give the tea much room to expand). Though they differ in shape, they essentially work in the same way. Almost as convenient as using a tea bag, but you get to brew the loose leaf tea of your choice.
Using a tea strainer
A tea strainer which is designed to fit into a wide range of mugs, letting you brew loose leaf herbal tea directly in any mug. One step up from an infuser, as the loose leaf tea has slightly more room to expand and unfurl. We also find strainers easier to clean after use.
In an infuser mug
You make tea in an infuser mug in exactly the same way as you would with a tea strainer in the example above except the infuser for an infuser mug has been designed to fit the mug perfectly. They also usually come with a lid. This lid serves the dual-purpose of keeping the tea covered while it’s brewing (important for retaining herb essential oils, as we mention in our blog about how to brew the perfect cup of herbal tea) and acting as a stand for the infuser after use. Besides using a teapot, this is our go-to loose leaf tea brewing method.
Make your own muslin tea bags filled with herbal tea
Back when Herbaceous Blends was still in its R&D phase, we didn’t have access to any of the above brewing apparatus (much less a teapot). We therefore had to make literally hundreds of cups of tea using pieces of muslin. We tested hundreds of different blends, measuring out herbs and gingerly placing them onto muslin squares. The next step was to fold them up into an envelope and secure with a peg. Any old clothes peg will do. Not only does it fasten the bag but secures it to the side of the mug. And you can re-use the muslin many times. We love this way of brewing tea, although it takes a while to perfect the muslin folding technique.
Put the herbal tea straight into the cup
If you don’t mind bits of herb in your tea, brew tea the Chinese way. Add your tea to a mug and pour water straight over. Give it a good stir and then wait for the leaves to settle at the bottom of the mug (this doesn’t always happen, depending on which herbs you’re using). This method works great for oolong that comes in pellet form, making it weighty. With lighter herbs such as linden or camomile, there’s a much higher chance of floaters! But if swallowing the odd flower doesn’t bother you, this is a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy tea.
In any old jug
Those that prefer their tea particle free may brew their tea in any old jug they find at home. Add the desired quantity of tea to the jug, pour water over and cover with a plate or chopping board. Stir before pouring your brew into a cup through a sieve.
With a cafetière
It pains us to say, but you’ve probably got a higher chance of finding a cafetière than a teapot in kitchens across the UK. But it’s not all bad, as a cafetière makes a surprisingly effective teapot alternative. And because a cafetière has been designed to catch very fine coffee grounds, your cup of tea is guaranteed to be bit-free.
Just because teapots are no longer a mainstay in British kitchens, doesn’t mean that loose leaf herbal tea should disappear with them. Or any type of loose leaf tea, for that matter. All you need are a few hacks to get you brewing loose leaf tea in times when a teapot isn’t to hand. For those of you who need a bit of help up onto the loose leaf tea wagon, we offer a tea strainer and teapot in our shop. Perfect for brewing our herbal tea.