For those for whom clutching a hot gaiwan is not at the top of their list of favorite activities, technology brings us the cup-top style infuser, a see-through, durable teamaker that's gaining popularity. Sold as the "auto-open" tea infuser by Kamjove, or the more affordably manufactured Piao I teapot, these infusers use a tea-and-water chamber that sits on top of a pitcher or cup, releasing the tea at the press of your finger once infusion is satisfactory. Magic!
'Tea Technique' on Serious Eats
The dried calyces, the more delicate underpetal parts of the hibiscus flower, are infused in hot water to extract a vibrant array of flavors. Because it's such a lively, fruity and tangy concoction, Jamaica is often infused with other ingredients, such as lemon, cinnamon, sugar, honey, rum, or whatever else sounds delicious enough to add balance and drinkability to this tart brew.
For a drink as broadly sipped and versatile as tea, there are unquestionably more vessels for its preparation than most of us can get our heads around. But whether you're a gong-fu warrior or an absolute beginner, it's useful to distinguish why each style of pot is different from another. Enter the houhin. For brewing delicate, high-quality teas that prefer a low steeping temperature, the houhin is an excellent choice.
The kyusu, a side-handled clay teapot from the Tokoname region of Japan, allows tea to steep freely within the water, and pours off gracefully and easily pour with one hand. It's a vessel that allows you to make the most of the flavors in Japanese green teas.
Feel free to make room in the cupboards right now: though there are myriad devices to brew tea, the simplest, and perhaps most elegant, is the gaiwan. It's a basic lidded cup, typically made from porcelain but also available in glass and even clay. There is no strainer—only the skill of your hand's steady grip as you tilt the gaiwan, allowing only tea, and not leaves, to pass between the gap between lid and bowl.