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The best tea strainer

Which tea strainer is best?

For tea lovers and beginners alike, a tea strainer is the bridge (literally) between your teapot and your cup. A tea strainer ensures that all those little bits of loose leaf tea stay behind while pouring a fresh cup of tea. When choosing a tea strainer for your kitchen, consider what type of tea you like and the size of tea leaves you usually use. 

If you’re looking for an all-around quality tea strainer for your regular tea fix, the FORLIFE Uni Brew-in-Mug with Tea Infuser is the top choice.

What is a tea strainer?

A tea strainer is different from a tea infuser or teapot. A strainer is a small metal mesh strainer that prevents loose leaf tea from getting into your cup. Strainers generally measure 2-4 inches in diameter, making them small enough to sit on the rim of most mugs. They are ideal for straining tea from teapots without a built-in strainer. Strainers simply act as a filter and are not meant to steep in water for long periods. Once you’re done straining your tea into your cup, you can remove the strainer and dump the leaves into the trash or compost.

If you’re also looking for a tea infuser, check out the best tea infuser buying guide from BestReviews.

What to know before you buy a tea strainer

In general, strainers are easy to clean, durable and simple to use, even for those new to the world of tea. There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a strainer, the most impactful being the type and size of your tea leaves.

Size of tea leaves

Good tea strainers help separate out smaller particles or random sizes of leaves as you pour your tea. If you’re using lots of large tea leaves, these may clog and overflow the strainer.

If you generally use teas with smaller particles, choose a fine mesh strainer.

Type of tea

Tea strainers are useful for teas that don’t need as much steeping time and may become bitter if over-extracted. Lighter teas like green and white teas produce a better cup with lower temperatures and less time.

Experience level

Strainers are an easy tool for beginners to use and a useful kitchen staple for tea lovers of all kinds. Even more simple than an infuser, all you have to do is set or hold the strainer over your mug and pour your tea through it. If you’re using a teapot to brew your tea, pour directly into your strainer. If you’re setting loose leaf tea in your strainer, do that first before pouring your water.

What to look for in a quality tea strainer

Though a strainer is a simple tool, there are a few differentiating factors between an average strainer and a kitchen utensil you can use for many years to come. Pay especially close attention to the mesh size if you like to enjoy a variety of teas.

Mesh size

The size of the metal mesh of your strainer will make or break your cup of tea. If you like brewing a variety of light and dark teas, a finer mesh strainer will help trap even the smallest particles as you pour your tea. However, larger mesh patterns are best suited for teas with larger particles. The mesh size determines what types of tea you can effectively strain.

Handle or grip

Many strainers come with a long handle like a utensil or a grip protruding from the rim. These handles and grips provide an extra layer of convenience and precaution against scalding your hands when you go to remove the strainer from your mug. Try to find a strainer that is easy for you to use, especially if you’re a regular tea drinker.

Dishwasher safe

Cleaning mesh tea strainers by hand can be cumbersome. Check to make sure that the tea strainer you choose is dishwasher safe.

How much you can expect to spend on a tea strainer

Most tea strainers cost between $5-$10. More expensive options are available for $15-$30, depending on the size of the strainer, materials and additional accessories.

Tea strainer FAQ

What’s the difference between a tea strainer and a tea infuser?

A. A tea strainer is meant to act as a filter between the tea being poured and the tea in your cup. A strainer generally sits atop the rim of the cup or has a handle to hold above the cup. With a strainer, the tea leaves do not steep in the water. A tea infuser, however, is meant to steep tea leaves in hot water and generally sits directly in your cup until the tea is done steeping. A tea strainer is ideal for more delicate tea leaves that may become bitter if steeped for too long.

How much tea do I use when brewing?

A. It depends on the type of tea, but generally, you can use 1 teaspoon of tea for every 6-8 ounces of water. Adding more tea or steeping for longer can make a more robust cup of tea, but too much of either can lead to an overly bitter cup.

What’s the best tea strainer to buy?

Top tea strainer

FORLIFE Uni Brew-in-Mug with Tea Infuser

What you need to know: This all-in-one mug and tea strainer offers a high-quality strainer that’s easy to grip and great for brewing all kinds of tea.

What you’ll love: The condensed extra-fine mesh strainer filters out even the smallest particles of tea. The strainer has an easy-grip handle and is extra deep. It also comes with a lid to keep your beverage warm. All parts are dishwasher safe, and the mug and lid are microwavable.

What you should consider: Since it comes with a ceramic mug, this strainer is more expensive.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top tea strainer for the money

LiveFresh Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Mini Tea Strainer

What you need to know: This straightforward tea strainer is a quality kitchen essential at an affordable price.

What you’ll love: The non-slip, heat-resistant handle is easy to hold while pouring your water through the strainer. The stainless steel strainer measures 3 inches across and 2 inches deep, offering plenty of room for different types of tea. It’s dishwasher safe and the sealed rim design prevents food from getting stuck in the strainer.

What you should consider: The mesh is not as fine as other options, but it does a good job with most teas.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Empress Tea Strainer with Drip Bowl

What you need to know: Inspired by the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, Canada, this delicate tea strainer is equal parts form and function.

What you’ll love: The delicate design work on the sides of the stainless steel strainer float across the edges of your cup, holding the strainer in place. It measures 3 inches across and 1 inch deep. It also comes with a matching drip bowl to make cleanup easy. The single layer of fine mesh traps most tea particles.

What you should consider: It is a shallow strainer, so it’s not ideal for adding extra steeping time to your tea.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Katy Palmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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