Learn How to Make Loose Leaf Tea without a Strainer

Updated on: March 16, 2022
Author: Nick
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How to make loose leaf tea without a strainer

Don’t worry if you decided to make the switch from tea bags to loose leaf tea, but forgot the tea infuser, because I’m going to show you how to make loose leaf tea without a strainer or tea infuser!

Most of us have these common kitchen tools, which you can use as a DIY tea infuser.

9 Simple Ways - How to Make Loose Leaf Tea without a Strainer

Multi-Purpose Brewing Gear

Use a French Press

A coffee machine and an infuser, all in one! A French Press works wonders at separating those tea leaves from your tea. Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself.

First, make sure there’s no coffee residue from brewing coffee earlier. Have you ever heard of coffee and tea being mixed together? Both of them are great individually, but not together...

Pour the hot water in the French Press, then introduce the fresh loose leaf tea to the water. Once the brewing is done, use the french press plunger as you would with your coffee and trap the tea leaves at the bottom. Then pour that deliciously brewed tea into your cup and enjoy.

This method of how to make loose leaf tea without a strainer creates lots of room for the leaves to circulate, getting out all the goodness and flavor.  

Make sure to use a tea with large leaves, such as the Butterfly Pea tea, to avoid having the fine leaves from going through the French press filter.

Bodum Brazil French Press - Tea & Coffee Maker

  • Comes in 3 sizes & 2 colors
  • Made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass
  • Dishwasher safe

Brew Loose Leaf Tea the Traditional Way

Have you ever used a Gaiwan before? It’s a traditional Chinese brewing vessel, made up of a small bowl with a lid. You place the loose leaf tea in the bowl with hot water and let them steep, then use the lid to trap the tea leaves while you pour the liquid into your teacup. 

Before you roll your eyes, I know that you probably don’t have that, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article. But you can use the same method but with a bowl and a small plate.

Gaiwan - How to make loose leaf tea without a strainer

Brew your loose tea in the bowl, when it’s done use the plate to block the tea leaves, while you pour the brewed tea into your mug, et voila!

Keep in mind that this method of how to make loose leaf tea without a strainer is not ideal for all types of tea, such as rooibos tea, which has tiny leaf particles that will seep through and into your cup.

Use a Coffee Filter or Cheesecloth to Strain your Tea

If you are also a coffee drinker and happen to have an extra coffee filter, for brewing coffee, lying around then this would make the perfect strainer to brew loose leaf tea.

If not, then you can use a cheesecloth or any piece of clean cloth as a filter, which makes this method a great DIY loose tea infuser, as it is efficient and easy.

Once you’re done steeping your tea, simply place the coffee filter over your cup and pour the water through the filter making sure to do this slowly and delicately to avoid ripping the coffee filter by accident. 

Creative DIY Options

Deconstruct a Tea Bag

If you have tea bags at home, but still want to brew loose leaf tea then you can open the tea bag up and replace the tea with the loose leaf tea then tie the tea bag with a string and place it inside your cup.

Tea Bag - How to make loose leaf tea without a strainer

Make sure the string is long enough for it to hang off the edge of your cup so it can easily be removed, once the steeping is done.

Although this method of how to make loose leaf tea without a strainer is simple, it is not ideal, because the loose leaf tea does not have enough room to circulate and release all the flavor and goodness.

Use Tin Foil to Create an Infuser

Everyone should have tin foil at home, so this is an easy way to make a DIY loose tea infuser. 

Cut a piece of tin foil that is approximately 8x8 inches, this can be larger or smaller, based on your preference. Then place the loose leaf tea in the center and crunch up the tin foil into a ball, making sure you do not over crunch it so the leaves have some room to expand.

Use a toothpick to punch some holes all over the DIY loose tea infuser, then place it in your mug with hot water and let it steep. Once done, remove the ball and enjoy your tea!

Kitchen Gadgets that Everyone Owns

Keep it Simple with the Double Cup Method

In my opinion, the easiest method for how to make loose leaf tea without a strainer is to use two cups or mugs, because who doesn’t have 2 cups at home? 

Simply brew your loose tea in one cup, and once done pour the steeped tea into another cup.

The loose leaf tea will naturally sink to the bottom of the cup, so when you are slowly pouring the water from one cup to the other, most of the leaves will remain in the brewing cup.

If some loose tea particles end up in your cup, then repeat the process a couple more times to achieve your desired results.

Use a Kitchen Sieve

A kitchen sieve acts just like a tea strainer. First, brew your loose leaf tea as you normally would. Once it’s done, place the sieve over the top of a mug and pour the steeped tea into your cup.

And ta-da! You have a nice cup of tea without loose leaf tea residue.

Use a Slotted Spoon

The slotted spoon method works just like a sieve. Brew your loose tea in one cup then use the slotted spoon to strain the tea as you pour it into another cup.

You may not be able to use certain teas to do this, because herbal teas have smaller loose tea leaves, and they might seep through the holes of a slotted spoon.

Use a Fork

Last but not least, you can use a fork to stop the leaves from going into your cup. Simply use the fork as a barrier for the loose leaf tea as you pour the steeped tea into a new cup. You might need to use the fork to fish out a couple of tea leaves that might have gone through the fork.

This method of how to make loose leaf tea without a strainer can be tricky but if you are camping or travelling then this could save you from a mouthful of tea leaves.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

What is the difference between a tea strainer & tea infuser?

A tea infuser is used as a brewing device. The loose leaf tea and hot water are placed in the infuser, which in turn is placed in the brewing vessel. The infuser keeps the leaves contained while letting them circulate so the flavor and health benefits seep into the water.

On the other hand, a tea strainer is used after you’re done brewing your tea. You use this to empty the contents of your teapot or teacup to separate the leaves from the tea.

What is a Gaiwan?

A Gaiwan is a traditional Chinese tea brewing vessel. It looks like a small bowl with a saucer and a lid. Tea leaves are placed into the Gaiwan and water is poured over it to infuse them. The lid is placed back on and left to steep.

Once done steeping, the lid is used to allow the water to be poured into your cup or teapot, while straining the tea leaves.

What is the most popular way to make a DIY tea infuser?

The easiest way is the double cup method as you are sure to have another cup handy. It’s quick and easy although you might get some residue in your cup and a couple spills here and there on your kitchen counter.

Final Thoughts

See, there was no reason for you to worry about forgetting that tea strainer, because there are plenty of items around your kitchen that can be used as a DIY tea infuser for any type of tea.

Tea leaves are the best way to get all the goodness and flavor and make a delicious cup of tea. Hopefully, these 9 ways of how to make loose leaf tea without a strainer have helped you ditch those inferior tea bags...

Of course, the ultimate way of brewing fresh loose leaf tea is to use the best cast iron teapot with a strainer... Happy Brewing!

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!
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