Tea experts will tell you that the secret to a good cup of tea is a good tea infuser. They hold loose tea leaves inside the tea kettle or teapot as they steep. They allow the loose tea leaves to expand and completely release their flavors to the water. They also keep all of the loose tea leaves in place so you won't have to strain the tea before serving it. There are a lot of different kinds of tea infusers, and choosing one will depend on a few things. Each has its own use, because every kind of tea requires a different kind of preparation.
Tea eggs and tea balls are a classic example of tea infusers. They are rounded and have two sides of equal size. They open at the middle, and clamp together when closed. To make it easier for you to remove the tea egg once the leaves fully steep, a chain is attached to it which hang over the edge of the teapot. These eggs can be made out of mesh, because it lets the leaves seep through effectively. These have fine holes so that even the smallest tea leaves do not escape. Another variation of this tea infuser is the tong-type tea infuser. Attached to the quasi-tongs are cups as this is where you place the tea leaves. The other one effectively seals it so that no tea leaves come out. They have tiny holes so that the leaves can still steep without a hassle.
Tea infuser cups are commonly used by many tea drinkers. It comes with either a ceramic or plastic infuser that fits over a teacup. The lid is placed over the cup so that the tea steeps better. These are usually made for single-serve teas. However, infuser pots are also available. They are more suited to big batches of tea. They are much like a bigger version of tea infusers.
Even when using a tea infuser, you should never leave your tea leaves steeping for a longer time than necessary. Depending on the kind of tea you use, you need to stick to a specific time. Green tea requires a gentler heat. This is why you should not use boiling water to steep green tea; you should let it steep for only three minutes. You also need to use a gentle heat for herbal teas, but you will have to steep it for a longer time. Fifteen to twenty minutes should be sufficient for herbal teas to steep. Black tea, on the other hand, requires a much higher temperature and takes a lot longer to steep than green tea. It needs about five minutes, and the water has to be boiling.
If you're trying to master the art of preparing and serving tea, you definitely need a tea infuser. These will help keep your tea leaves in place, and at the same time help steep your tea even better to get a purer flavor.