Tea Strainer Vs. Tea Infuser: Which One Should You Use?

Conflicted about which one to choose between tea strainer vs. tea infuser? Find out their differences to help you decide which is suitable for brewing your tea.

tea strainer vs. tea infuser
Tea Strainer vs. Tea Infuser

Making a cup of tea is not always as easy as it seems. Aside from water temperature, steeping time, and quality teas, choosing the right tools will also make a difference between a good and a bad cup of tea. Not only that — using the right tools will also save you a lot of time and effort. 

Some tools for making tea can be used with almost any type of tea, while others are more appropriate for some particular teas. 

If you’re using a teabag like the Twinings of London Earl Grey Black Tea Bags, this process is quite simple — you just have to put it in hot water. Easy, right?

But what about if you’re using loose-leaf tea? You can use tea strainers or a tea infuser to steep the tea in your teapot or teacup. If you’re wondering what a tea strainer or a tea infuser is, keep reading to learn about the difference between these tools and which one you should use. 

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11/06/2023 08:19 pm GMT

You may also read our guide on Tea Bags Vs. Loose Leaf: What’s The Difference?.

What Are Tea Strainers And Tea Infusers?

First, let’s talk about the tea strainer. Instead of steeping inside your teacup or teapot, some teapots come with a strainer built into the pot — most vintage and luxury tea sets do not have tea strainers.

Most tea infusers look like a round, ball-shaped metal chamber with a thin chain, which allows you to brew finer tea leaves without having particles in your teacup. The mesh ball allows the water to circulate to the tea leaves as they slowly expand. 

Tea infusers come in different sizes — the smaller tea infusers are ideal for guests who each have different tea preferences. Each infuser can be filled with a different tea and may even be re-steeped for a second cup!

You might be interested in our explainer on how much tea goes in a tea ball.

What Tea Strainers And Tea Infusers Have In Common

Tea strainers and tea infusers are essential tea tools used to extract the flavor and properties of loose tea leaves. In addition, these tools keep the loose tea leaves together and allow tea drinkers to control how long their tea steeps.

Tea Strainer Vs. Tea Infuser: The Differences

Tea StrainersTea Infusers
Tea strainers rest on a teapot or teacup rim, holding the loose tea leaves as you pour the hot water through.Tea infusers fully immerse the loose tea leaves in the water for an extended period.
Tea strainers are good for large loose tea leaves because holes are usually too big to hold small particles. Tea infusers can only hold a certain amount of loose tea leaves and release flavor from small holes.
Tea strainers are used to prevent the loose tea leaves from getting into your teacup after the tea has been brewed.Tea infusers are used to hold the loose tea leaves while the tea steeps.
As you pour, tea strainers catch all the loose tea leaves and prevent them from getting into your teacup or teapot. Tea infusers let you steep the loose tea leaves in a teacup or teapot, allowing them to naturally infuse into the water.
Tea strainers are usually used when a larger quantity of tea is being made and served to several guests at the same time. Tea infusers are a good option for tea blends and flavored teas that you plan to steep once or when making tea for one guest only.

What’s Better About Tea Strainers?

One advantage of tea strainers is that they can hold more tea, which is perfect when sharing tea with your guests. Tea lovers will appreciate how easy it is to pour water directly from the kettle into their teacups using a tea strainer.

Tea strainer
Tea strainers have fine enough mesh to catch most loose tea leaves but some particles can still get through into your cup

A tea strainer can be small enough to rest on the rim of a teacup or teapot and is often, but not always, made of stainless steel. It lets you brew tea in your preferred container and then strain out the loose tea leaves while pouring the tea into your cup. Some tea strainers can also be used as infusers, which means they can sit inside the teacup or teapot while the tea steeps.

Although most strainers have fine enough mesh to catch most loose tea leaves, some tiny particles still manage to get through and into your cup. Tea experts usually strain the tea twice — the first strain in the pot and the second one using a very fine mesh strainer to remove any remaining leaves from the cup. If the residue at the bottom of your cup bothers you, filter it out using a very fine mesh strainer.

What’s Better About Tea Infusers?

Tea infusers allow you to steep loose tea leaves instead of using tea bags. A tea infuser holds the loose tea leaves together, typically in a mesh ball or basket, keeping the leaves from floating freely in your brew. It also allows premium tea leaves to expand to release their full flavor potential. 

A tea infuser comes in different styles and sizes — a fun yet simple tool for steeping the perfect cup of tea!

A tea infuser helps to make a higher quality cup of tea — not to mention that it is very easy to use. It also acts as a strainer or a filter, as it can prevent loose tea leaves from floating freely inside your teacup. In addition, tea infusers typically have a chain or a handle attached to them, which makes them easier to remove once you’re done steeping the tea. 

Who Should Get A Tea Strainer (And Why)?

A tea strainer is best if you deal with large loose tea leaves since its holes are usually too big to hold small particles. So, if you are making a large quantity of tea to serve simultaneously, you should use a tea strainer.

Furthermore, tea strainers are more suitable for tea leaves that require a longer infusion time; there are tea leaves that don’t become bitter if left inside the teapot for an extended period.

You may also read our guide on How To Make Loose Leaf Tea Without A Strainer?.

Who Should Get A Tea Infuser (And Why)?

If you want to make the most out of your tea, a tea infuser is exactly what you need in your kitchen! To tea connoisseurs, a tea infuser is priceless and a must-have tool, especially if you prefer brews made from loose-leaf tea. 

Tea brewing tools and flowers with glass of tea
Tea infusers prevent the loose tea leaves from floating freely in your brew

Tea infusers prevent the loose tea leaves from floating freely in your brew while capturing the essence of the tea in terms of flavor and aroma. You can have an exquisite tea experience with a high-quality tea infuser!

You may also read our guide on How To Use A Tea Ball: In 5 Easy Steps.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.