Have you ever brewed a fresh cup of tea, only to realize there were particles floating around in your cup? If this happens entirely too often, it might be time to invest in a French press for your tea-brewing endeavors.
For thousands of years, steeping dried tea leaves and other spices was the primary method one used to enjoy a cup of hot tea. Many ancient societies brewed tea in clay pots and would remove the leaves once the tea was finished steeping.
Since the advent of tea bags in the early 1900s, the classic style of brewing tea has been supplanted in many parts of the world, especially in the West. Recently, however, old-style cooking methods seem to have undergone a kind of renaissance. This movement aligns perfectly with using a French press for brewing tea. I’m ecstatic that more people are taking the time to slow down and savor their food and drinks.
How do you brew tea in a French press?
Brewing tea in a French press doesn’t require much more time than steeping a tea bag in a cup of boiling hot water. By filling the container with loose tea and covering it with a press (which houses a screen), you are creating a filter for keeping tea leaves out of your cup.
Although brewing tea in a French press requires you to boil water in a separate container, many people will already be boiling water for traditional tea bags anyway. Once the water is sufficiently hot, pour it atop the loose tea leaves and spices to allow the flavors to fully develop. Once your tea has finished steeping, simply press down on the plunger and pour the tea into your favorite teacup.
Since a French press has a larger area in which the tea can steep, it is the preferred method of making tea among devout tea lovers. The difference in flavor is noticeable enough that many would never consider going back to using a tea ball or tea bag.
Are there any other suggestions regarding brewing tea in a French press?
Ever been up in the air on whether you wanted one cup of tea or two? Then you’ve probably boiled enough water to make two cups with the intention of throwing out the extra fluid. French presses perform best when they’re used to make the exact amount of tea that you’ll be drinking. This is because the tea will continue to steep after your press it to the bottom of the carafe.
An effective French press will press the tea leaves to the bottom of the glass container. This, theoretically, halts the steeping process. However, the leaves often continue to steep beyond their recommended limit. This releases tannins (the stuff that makes tea bitter) into the water. If you are concerned about over-steeping, use only as much loose tea as you’ll anticipate needing.
Essentially, using a French press requires a little more precision than microwaving a mug of water, tossing a tea bag in, and hoping for the best. But, it’s nothing you can’t handle! Besides, spending a little extra time brewing the tea is part of the fun!
What features should I be looking for in the best French press?
A good French press will be made from quality materials. A glass container is especially desirable in a French press, and many argue that a glass carafe produces a “cleaner” taste than stainless steel or plastic.
Glass can be incredibly fragile, however. As it breaks more easily than other materials, you might want to think about getting a French press constructed entirely of stainless steel. The downside to choosing this type of French press is mostly aesthetic.
Even if you only intend on brewing one or two cups of tea, it’s a good idea to invest in a model large enough to allow the tea to fully unfurl and develop in the hot water. By using a French press, you are already making the move away from smaller tea receptacles like tea bags and tea balls. Avoid small, confined spaces if you wish to truly enjoy some finely-brewed tea.
The screen and plunger are the two other important components of a French press. You’ll appreciate owning a press with a screen fine enough to filter out leaves as you sip a clear cup of tea. A sturdy plunger will help you halt the tea from steeping so that you aren’t left with a bitter beverage.
If you prefer brewing your loose leaf tea in a pot – here are my recommendations for functional and beautiful tea pots.
Time for a cuppa!
Are you ready to ditch the tea bags once and for all and make the switch to a French press? Be sure to choose one that is personally tailored to your tea drinking needs! You can also use a French press to brew coffee. Or, if you prefer espressos and lattes, see this article on the best espresso maker for under $200!