The Infuser Pot
There are several elegant glass pots on the market today which have their own in-built infuser sitting in the neck of the pot. To brew the tea, warm the pot in the usual way, measure the leaves into the infuser and pour on the boiling water. Put on the lid and leave to brew for the required number of minutes. Lift out the infuser with the leaves as soon as the tea has reached the desired strength.
Teapot with Plunger
The thinking behind this style of pot is to isolate the leaves after infusion in the same way that coffee is isolated in a cafetiere. Once the tea has reached the desired strength, the plunger is depressed to shut off any contact between the leaves and hot water. This stops any more tea solubles from being released into the water. The advantage over the infuser pot is that there is no risk of mess caused by a dripping infuser as it is removed from the pot.
Traditional teapots do not often have their own infusers and there are a number of infusers on the market made for use in any style of pot, or for use in cups or mugs. These come in a variety of sizes and are made from different materials. Avoid one-cup infusers since these do not give the tea leaves enough room to infuse properly. Larger leaf teas sometimes expand to several times the size of the dry leaf when infused in boiling water and unless they have room to do this, the tea solubles that give the brew its flavor cannot pass from leaf to water.
Infuser mugs are an excellent way to brew an individual serving of tea. The idea is based on the Chinese covered brewing cup, guywan, but recognizes the fact that it is better to remove black and oolong leaves from the boiling water once the liquor has brewed to the desired strength. The generous size of the infuser ensures that the leaves have plenty of room to infuse property.
Warm the infuser mug with boiling water before brewing the tea in the usual way. Place the appropriate amount of leaf into the infuser and then pour on boiling water for oolong and black tea, and just under boiling for green or white teas. Once the infusion is ready, lift out the infuser.