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Tea strainer vs tea infuser: Which one should you use?


Tea strainer vs tea infuser: Which one should you use?

Posted by Pumphreys Coffee ,15th Nov 2022
Tea strainer vs tea infuser: Which one should you use?

Making a good cup of tea is not always as straightforward as you think. As well as water temperature, steeping time, and quality teas, using the right tools will also make a big difference in the overall standard and taste of tea you make. Not only that but using the best tools for the job can save you a lot of time and energy too.

Some tools are suitable for use with almost any type of tea, whilst others are better suited to specific teas. That’s why in this article we’ll be looking at a tea strainer vs tea infuser to determine which one you should use in which tea brewing situation.

What is a tea strainer and what is it used for?

To use a tea strainer, normally a teapot is used to steep the leaves, with the strainer itself resting on the rim of your cup to catch the loose tea leaves as you pour them in. This is often done when brewing and serving a greater quantity of tea at the same time.

They are better suited for situations where loose leaf tea needs a longer infusion time, that won’t necessarily become bitter or harsh if it’s left in the pot for an extended period of time.

What is a tea infuser and what is it used for?

Tea infusers are receptacles with holes that are fully immersed in hot water and hold loose tea leaves. These infusers allow the tea to be absorbed into the water, whilst keeping the tea leaves contained. This means the tea leaves can easily be removed from the water and you have full control over how long the tea steeps for.

Without tea infusers, anyone who just wants a simple cup of tea may end up being disappointed when they get tea leaves stuck in their teeth!

tea strainer vs tea infuser

What are the differences between tea strainers and tea infusers and when should you use them?

Whilst the goals of tea strainers and tea infusers are the same: to extract the flavour and properties of loose tea leaves, keep the loose leaves together, and give tea drinkers more control over how long their tea steeps, there are several key differences between them. These differences can be found in the table below:

Tea strainers

Tea infusers

Rest on the rim of a teapot or teacup, catching the leaves as you pour hot water through

Fully immerse the leaves in water for a long period of time

Good for large loose tea leaves due to the holes normally being too big to hold small particles

Can only hold a limited amount of loose tea leaves and disburse flavour through small holes

Used to stop leaves from getting into your cup after the tea is brewed

Used to hold loose leaves while the tea steeps

Catches the leaves as you pour and stops from getting into your cup or teapot

Let’s you steep the leaves in a cup or pot, helping them to naturally infuse into the water

Normally used when large amounts of tea are being made and served to many guests at the same time

A good option for tea blends and flavoured teas that you intend to steep once or when making tea for only one or two guests

What’s good about tea strainers?

As mentioned above, a key benefit of tea strainers is that they can hold more tea, which is ideal when you want to share the tea with a lot of people. Tea enthusiasts will appreciate how quick and easy it is to pour water straight from the kettle into their cups using a strainer. Some tea strainers can also function as infusers, meaning they can sit inside a teacup or pot while the tea steeps.

Even though the majority of strainers have fine enough mesh to catch loose tea leaves, some tiny particles can sneak through into your cup. Tea experts strain their tea twice – the first strain in the pot and then the second one using a fine mesh strainer to completely remove any remaining leaves from the cup.

What’s good about tea infusers?

Tea infusers enable you to steep tea leaves instead of using teabags. The infuser holds the leaves together, often in a mesh ball or basket, stopping them from freely floating in your brew. Also, it helps premium leaves to expand and release their full flavour potential.

Not only does a tea infuser make a higher quality cup of tea, but it is also very easy to use. It usually has a chain or handle attached to it, making it easier to remove once you have finished steeping the tea.


Both tea strainers and tea infusers are useful when brewing tea, each one having its strengths in different situations. If you brew with a lot of loose leaves, a tea strainer is the best, since its holes are usually too large to hold small particles. If you’re looking to make the most out of your tea, an infuser is a must for your kitchen. For tea connoisseurs, an infuser is invaluable, especially if you prefer brews made from loose leaf tea.

If you’re looking to get a strainer or an infuser, or both, our Pumphreys tea range of products has got you covered. Find the right tea tool for creating your perfect brews today and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.