A tea snap, or tea tongs, is a tea ball style infuser with a handle that allows you to open and close the mesh tea ball like a pair of tongs.
It looks very easy to use, but if you’re not doing it right, you could be wasting tea.
Tip 1: Don’t use too much tea
If you like a strong cup of tea, don’t cram your tea tong with loose leaf tea—get a bigger infuser instead. Loose leaf tea can double and triple in size when it gets wet. When you cram your tea snap full of tea, it expands and binds up, preventing the inner tea leaves from infusing. By using less tea, you are giving your tea snap breathing room.
Tip 2: Keep the edges clear
If you have stray bits of tea around the edges of your mesh ball, it won’t form a seal when it closes. As a result, loose fragments of tea will seep out. If you have a lot of loose tea in your cup, you can strain it into another cup, or just tough it out. No harm in swallowing stray tea leaves!
Tip 3: Stir your tea
A tea snap has a convenient handle that allows you to stir inside your tea cup. By stirring, you are allowing the tea to infuse better, making a fuller bodied brew.
Tip 4: Save the leaves
Don’t throw your tea leaves out just yet! If it’s an oolong tea, a pu-erh, a green, or a white tea, try making another steeping with the leaves. Just leave the infuser in the water a few minutes longer. You might be surprised at how much flavor is left in those tea leaves!