Tea lovers know there's nothing that a warm cup of your favorite brew won't make better. Whether you drink herbal or black, take it with milk or honey, a tea press comes in handy when you're working with loose teas. Traditional tea pots work well to infuse the flavor and aroma of tea leaves into hot water but don't do a great job when it comes to straining. Tea presses, such as the models made by Bodum, solve this problem.
Begin with clean equipment and high-quality loose tea. Tea presses look and work similar to their coffee counterpart, the French press. Remove the plunger lid and set aside. Place the desired amount of loose tea into the center column. Every variety and batch of tea is different in strength, so make sure to measure accordingly. Bodum recommends 2 to 3 Bodum scoops of black tea and 3 scoops of herbal or fruit teas. Consult your tea retailer regarding green or specialty teas.
Pour hot water into the press, stopping at the fill line. The fill line is located about 1 1/2 inches below the spout on the Bodum Assam model. Place the lid on top of the press. Leave the plunger raised while your tea steeps. Steeping times vary by type and strength. Bodum recommends three to five minutes for black teas and five to 10 minutes for herbal or fruit teas. Ask your tea retailer about steeping time for green or specialty teas.
Push the plunger down when your tea has steeped. Take care to push slowly. The plunger seals the leaves from your tea, allowing it to stay at your desired strength. Pour tea into a cup or mug for drinking and serve immediately. You may pull the plunger out and reuse the tea leaves, though the result is a much weaker (and less satisfying) cup of tea.
Clean your tea press promptly to prevent stains in the column. Rinse the tea leaves out, and wash the press clean with warm, soapy water. Some Bodum models may be placed in a dishwasher for easy clean-up. Consult your product manual for care instruction.
Use hot, but not boiling, water. Boiling water can produce a bitter taste. Speed up the steep time by moving the plunger up and down a few times.
Filling above the fill line might cause the press to pour improperly. If using tea bags, take care not to trap the bags between the plunger and column.
Briana Alfaro attended Humboldt State University, where she wrote and edited for the "Lumberjack" newspaper and "Osprey Magazine." Her work has also appeared in the "North Coast Journal," "Today's Local News" and the "San Diego Union-Tribune." She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism.