Steeping a great cuppa oolong in our house has just gotten easier. Hubby and I purchased a new tea mug with lid and infuser basket. The basket is for us the most interesting part of the set. We made a happy discovery almost as soon as we brought it home and unpacked it.
Awhile back I wrote that if you must use an infuser, you would get a better steeped tea by using one that is about as large as the cup’s interior. This gives you the wonderful steeping of loose leaves floating in the water coupled with the convenience of an infuser. You can steep your loose leaf tea, remove the infuser basket and leaves from the cup, and enjoy leaf-free tea. For that experiment, I used a small infuser basket that had come with my cast iron teapot. It was serviceable, but sometimes a bit larger cupful is required.
Happily, the infuser basket I had just purchased as part of that new tea mug was a perfect fit inside a white teacup I had. Time for a bit of a tea infusing experiment all over again!
First, to choose a tea. Oolong seemed a natural. For one thing, it’s perfect for multiple steepings. One of my favorite oolongs, with its smooth, slightly roasty, and soothing flavor, is Tie Kuan Yin Iron Goddess that I had the pleasure of trying a few months ago.
That was the hard part. Now, on with the easy part.
Hubby helped me with preparations (he put the infuser basket into the cup, very delicate work).
A spoonful of the dried leaves in the basket patiently awaited the water heated to 165-190° F.
I steeped the leaves for only 1 minute to keep the flavor light and assure more tasty cupfuls to come. The leaves did not unfold quite fully for this first steep, yet produced a delicious liquid.
The metal infuser basket gets rather hot, but I was able to remove it from the cup and set it aside without too much scorching of my fingertips. It was well worthwhile anyway. The tea was steeped perfectly. I sipped and enjoyed.
Now for the pièce de résistance — a second cuppa! More water was heated, the infuser and tea leaves were put back in the now-empty cup, and the steeping commenced anew. This time, the leaves opened up the rest of the way.
After another minute, I had a second perfectly steeped cuppa oolong, and the tea leaves, safely in the infuser basket, were easily removed and set aside for a possible third, fourth, and even fifth steeping.
You can do the same. Find an infuser and mug that fit together well, where the infuser is about the same size as the interior of the mug. Then, get some great tea that can be steeped two, three, or more times, and have a steeping good time. Enjoy!
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