coffee explained

Can You Use a Tea Infuser for Coffee?


Yes, you can use a tea infuser for coffee. If you want to have a cup of great tasting coffee, however, you need to know how to get it right. Keep reading to find out how you can go about doing this.

Can You Brew Coffee Like Tea?

It is possible to brew coffee in the same way you steep tea. If you think about it, the two methods have a fairly similar function.

When brewing coffee and steeping tea, you are essentially relying on the same process. In other words, hot water is used to extract flavor and compounds from the coffee grounds and tea leaves. The procedures involved can be used interchangeably.

As you can imagine, the results might not be identical. For instance, your cup of coffee may taste a little different from what you are used to, especially if you rely on a percolator instead of a French Press. There will also be some trial and error to ensure that you get your desired strength.

In any case, this is something to keep in mind.

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The Benefits and Disadvantages of Using a Tea Infuser for Coffee

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and downsides for making coffee with a tea infuser.

The main advantage is that you can use one piece of equipment for making both coffee and tea. This can save you money as well as space as you have one less thing to store in your kitchen.

The other benefit is portability. Most tea infusers are more portable than a coffee maker. There are some types of tea infusers that are more travel-sized than French Presses as well. Not to mention, they aren’t quite as delicate either.

In terms of cost, tea infusers tend to be a lot more affordable as well. You will often have to shell out for a good quality French Press or coffee maker. Tea infusers can be bought for a fraction of the cost.

At the end of the day, though, tea infusers aren’t meant for coffee. As such, it is only natural to notice a few shortcomings as well.

One of the things you need to watch out for is the size of the infuser. Most infusers can’t hold the same quantity of grounds as a French Press or coffee maker. So, not only will you not be able to make coffee for as many people, you may have to limit your own quantity per serving.

There is also the fact that the holes in tea infusers are meant for large tea leaves. Due to this, they can be on the larger side. This can be an issue if you use finely ground coffee for your brew.

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Types of Tea Infusers

Before you learn how to use a tea infuser for coffee, you need to know about the different types of infusers. This will give you an idea of which design will work best for your needs:

Tea Ball

As the name suggests, this is a ball-shaped infuser, typically made of stainless steel. It works well for single brews. The ball opens up in the middle, allowing you to pour the coffee grounds in. Then, a clasp secures the two parts together.

Tea balls may either have a chain or a handle. This part of the tea infuser will sit outside of your cup as your coffee brews.

The holes on tea balls are a bit smaller than with most tea infusers. Due to this, you should be able to use your current coffee grounds and not expect any of the grounds to escape into your cup. The only issue, of course, is that you can only make one cup at a time.

Also, due to the limited size of the tea ball, you may not be able to fit in as many coffee grounds as you like. As a result, your coffee may be weaker or you may need to make a smaller cup.

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Tea Infuser Basket

Tea infuser baskets have a larger capacity than tea balls, which means that you can fit in more coffee grounds. Naturally, this means there will be more coffee for you or just a stronger cup. The bottom portion is basket-shaped and is topped off by a lid. There is a chain on the top of the lid.

The only thing to watch out for here is the size of the holes in the basket. Make sure that these are small enough to ensure that the coffee grounds won’t escape from the basket.

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Tea Mugs with Infusers

There are some tea mugs and tea travel mugs that come with built-in infuser baskets. Their perks, of course, is that you can brew your coffee as you go to work or while on the move.

At the same time, it can be messy to take the infuser out of the mug while you are on the go. Once again, you also need to make sure that the holes in the infuser basket aren’t too large for your coffee grounds.

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Infuser Teapots

Last, but not least, there are tea infuser pots. These are essentially tea pots with removable infuser baskets. This is a great option if you want to make coffee for a larger crowd or want to enjoy several cups by yourself.

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Needless to say, this design isn’t as portable as the rest. Also, you will have to check on the size of the holes of the infuser basket as the baskets for these infusers tend to be quite large.

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What Type of Coffee Grinds Should You Use?

As mentioned, one of the things you have to watch out for in a tea infuser is the size of the holes. These can allow coffee grinds to escape, making your brew gritty.

The best way to avoid such a situation is to use a coarser coffee grind. Keep in mind that your tea infuser should give you a better idea of which grind will work. On average, a medium coarse grind should do the trick. It is unlikely that you will need a very coarse grind.

Bear in mind that you probably have to allow the coffee to steep for longer than you are used to. This is because it isn’t as easy to extract flavors from a larger grind.

How to Brew Coffee Using a Tea Infuser?

Let’s take a look at how you should brew coffee with a tea infuser. For this process, you will need the following:

  • Tea infuser of your choice
  • Desired amount of water
  • Desired quantity of coffee

First, begin by boiling the water in a kettle. If you are using a tea infuser pot or kettle, you may be able to place this directly on a stove or in a microwave. However, always check the manufacturer instructions first to see if this is possible.

While the water is boiling, measure out your desired amount of coffee and carefully pour into the infuser. You may want to do this over a plate or bowl to catch any coffee grounds that may fall out. Make sure to close the lid or clasp tightly to prevent the infuser from opening once it is submerged in water.

If you are using a tea ball or tea basket infuser, you can place the coffee-filled infuser in the mug now. Once the water has come to a boil, take it off the heat. Carefully pour the water into your mug until it reaches the desired level.

Remember, once the infuser is removed, the water level may drop – you may want to add a little extra.

In case you are using a tea infuser mug or kettle, you may want to pour the water to your desired level first. Bear in mind that this level will rise when you add the infuser.

Then, add the coffee grounds to the infuser and gently place the infuser in the mug or kettle. Let it steep until the coffee has reached the desired strength.

You will need to test the strength every now and then to know when it has reached the right point. Make sure to dunk your tea ball or basket infuser before you take a sip. Also, stir well to ensure that the concentrated coffee has mixed well with the water.

Take out the infusers when the strength is just right. Misjudged the strength and it is a little too strong? Simply add some hot water to the coffee. Milk will work as well.

Can You Make Cold Brew Coffee with a Tea Infuser?

You can also make cold brew coffee with a tea infuser. For this purpose, it is best to use either a tea mug or tea kettle infuser. If possible, find a glass bottle equipped with a tea infuser.

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You may ask why this step is necessary. Well, with cold brew coffee, the coffee needs to be steeped for several hours. As a result, it is a good idea to have a lid with which you can cover your coffee. Not only will this prevent the aromas for escaping, it will also ensure that no other flavors invade the coffee as it is brewing.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee with a Tea Infuser?

Here is your guide to making cold brew coffee with a tea infuser.

You will need the following:

  • Tea infuser mug, kettle, or bottle
  • 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water
  • Desired quantity of water

For cold brew coffee, you can choose either room temperature water or cold water. It doesn’t matter because the coffee will brew in the refrigerator for several hours.

Pour your desired quantity of water into the bottle, mug, or kettle. Then, add the coffee grounds to the infuser. Place the infuser in the vessel and replace the lid tightly. Place the coffee and water mix in the refrigerator.

The exact time you should let the cold brew steep for does depend on a couple of factors. First, there is the coarseness of your grind. A finer one like a medium grind will allow flavors to be extracted more quickly. So, around 12 hours may do the trick.

If you are using a medium coarse grind or even a coarse grind, then it is a good idea to let the coffee steep for longer. Between 16 and 24 hours will work. However, avoid letting the coffee brew for longer than this.

As this is the first time you are attempting this method, it is a good idea to have a taste test after the 12-hour mark. If your brew isn’t strong enough, continue to taste it at 14 hours, 16 hours, etc. Keep tasting it until you’re satisfied with the result.

Always gently shake the mug or the infuser to incorporate the coffee better. You need to be careful though, as you don’t want to upend the coffee grinds into the brew.

In case you can’t be bothered to check the coffee too often, leave it up to around 18 to 24 hours. If the brew is stronger than you like, you can dilute it with some iced water, ice cubes, or cold milk.

Once your cold brew has reached desired strength, you can remove the infuser. First, shake the bottle to incorporate the coffee. Once you have removed the infuser, stir or shake the coffee again. This will create a more cohesive flavor.

Pour out your cold brew and enjoy it immediately or place it back in the refrigerator.

There you have it. You can use a tea infuser to make coffee and now you know precisely how to do it. You can even make cold brew with this method and get the best of both worlds!

For the best results, make sure to follow the guidelines outlined in this article. You will then be able to enjoy a perfectly brewed cup of coffee every time. Now go ahead and give this technique a try. You will be amazed at the results.

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About the author


Samuel is a coffee lover and a writer. He's travelled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and has soaked up the sun, the culture, and of course - the coffee. He loves to write about his experiences, and he hopes to travel even more in the future.

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