Tea tastes great, is easier to make well than coffee, and is incredibly good for you. Today we’re rounding up the best gear and leaves to get the most out of you tea. Cheers.
Tea isn’t just a comforting and pleasant beverage, it also has remarkable healing properties—so much so that it’s deemed a sort of “wonder drink” that may be even healthier than drinking water. - Lifehacker
Tea is mostly water, but that doesn’t mean the tea should taste like the many chemicals and minerals tap water brings along for the ride. Get yourself a water filtration pitcher:
Let’s get this out of the way – tea bags suck. Actually, most mainstream tea sucks. Mainstream tea is low quality, blended, and sometimes contains cheap flavorings. There are countless tea shops out there that buy directly from small farmers that produce small crops each season and likely process the tea by hand. - Lifehacker
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Some places we like:
More places from Lifehacker:
- Adagio Teas: Adagio doesn’t just sell tea, they also sell tea brewing equipment, whether you’re looking for something to brew a single cup, or you’d like something to brew pots at a time. They also have sampler packs and gift backs you can buy to try a little of several different things to see what you’d enjoy.
- MightyLeaf: MightyLeaf offers a variety of great loose leaf teas and premium bagged tea in special bags that ensure good water flow and well-soaked and steeped tea leaves. They also have some pretty interesting flavored teas that you may be interested in a well, if you like hints of herbs or berries with your green or black tea.
- Zhena’s Tea: Zhena’s Gypsy Tea is a favorite of mine, partially because they’re an independent operation selling tea that they genuinely love to make, but because their circular tea bags are great for both hot cups and iced pitchers. They have a variety of greens, blacks, and flavored teas, and it’s not too difficult to get carried away with one variety that you like, and then a half-dozen others that are very similar.
- Republic of Tea: Republic of Tea is often pricey (but really, not too much pricier than the others here) but they’re often available in your local grocery store. Between their selection of teas and brewing gear (including beautiful earthen pots,) there’s more than enough there to help you explore the broad variety of teas available.
Keep It Fresh
To preserve freshness, get yourself an airtight container, or even better, an Airscape.
The Automatic Method
The Breville One-Touch took fourth place in our Best Tea Steeper voting, but if you’ve got the cash, it’s number one.
The Breville One-Touch Tea Maker is my favorite kitchen appliance, and one of the few that I use daily. Making tea involves adding water, adding tea, and pressing a button. The Breville heats the water to the right temperature and maintains that temperature while it automatically lowers and raises the basket. You can use the presets to make all the common types of tea (or hot water), but the Breville is also fully programmable. It’s also easy to clean, and a fun conversation piece.
My favorite tea brewing device that doesn’t cost $250, and the most beautiful, is the Fellow Raven Stovetop Kettle, a one stop shop for heating water, and brewing and serving your tea.
The Other Manual Methods
When steeping the tea, be sure the tea can flow freely through the water, this rules out tea bags, tiny tea infusion baskets, tea balls, etc. - Lifehacker
The IngenuiTEA (also available in 32oz capacity) took first place in our Tea Steeper voting:
The IngenuiTEA teapot from Adagio Teas makes brewing tea not only easy but incredibly fun. After steeping loose tea leaves in hot water, place the teapot atop a mug and watch as the clear brew automagically pours into your cup.
The brewer gives tea leaves lots of room to expand and release their flavor. Other features include BPA-free plastic materials and a metal mesh filter that never needs replacing and is easy to clean. The IngenuiTEA is to tea what the AeroPress is to coffee—except even simpler to use. Some people even use the IngenuiTEA for steeping coffee. - Lifehacker
The ingenuiTEA is plastic, and if you’re not down for that but like the concept, check out the Teavana Perfectea which has a glass version, and is the #1 best-seller in teapots on Amazon.
For those looking for a single-serving in-mug option, the Finum Brewing Basket is cheap and easy. It’s also plastic, so check out the FORLIFE Brew-in-Mug Infuser for a stainless steel alternative. The Finum has been recommended countless times and took second place in our vote.
If you’re just in the market for a great looking traditional teapot, the Stump line from FORLIFE comes in a variety of colors and with what is essentially the same stainless steel filter recommended in the infuser section. It took second place in the voting.
Several of the manual methods above require a kettle, which isn’t a bad thing to have around the house anyway. The Cuisinart is a great choice for a standard kettle, and has pre-programmed temperatures for the various types of tea. Alternatively, invest in the automatic Breville we recommended above, which doubles as a kettle.
Cups and Mugs
Fragility aside, nothing beats double-walled glass for at home use, and no one does it more beautifully than Fellow.
The problem with temperature as it relates to coffee and tea is that the ideal is a very thin range. Good travel mugs tend to keep your beverages dangerously hot for hours while anything with an open top gets too cold too quickly. Enter Ember.
Yep, they’re a $150 travel mug/$80 coffee cup pair, and they’re the only actual solutions to the temperature problem. Otherwise, the Contigo Autoseal West Loop is your pick for best travel mug, ~$10, and one of the most popular products we’ve ever listed.
Prior to getting the Ember, I was a Zojirushi user for years, and greatly prefer its shape and drinking mechanism to the Contigo.
For the metal-averse, there’s finally a great option for you as well.