Several years ago we started using common coffee tools to brew teas and tisanes at our market booth. We had started using dripper cones like the Clever Brewer because they allowed us to hold leaves in full immersion without constriction- while also giving us easy cleanup! This meant that we did not have to sacrifice that most important of steeping tips (no constriction) for ease of use. No constriction in this sense means that we allow the leaves to float freely in as large an area as possible, without being placed in a strainer or sachet, meaning that more leaves received more contact across more surface area leading to better and more even infusions.
When we found the Bonavita version of a dripper– we really fell in love. The Bonavita gave us the benefit of being made of porcelain, meaning we could retain more of the heat of steeping water in the vessel, and also- they look cool! The one little drawback was that they do not have that nifty “auto-drop” contraction inside the dripper that customers always loved- but we thought the trad-off was more than acceptable.
Here are some tips for using a nice dripper to make great tea and tisane:
Use a gold filter- we still use paper at the market for super ease of use in a less than ideal environment, but at home or your shop, use a nice gold or steel permanent filter. They allow for more delicious non-water soluble material to pass through into the liquor. Use a #4 filter, and make sure that it comes above the rim of the dripper. (Here we are showing you the steeped leaves of our amazing Dragonwell!)
Pour your water over the botanicals quickly, but make sure not to let them slip over the edge of the filter and into the body of the dripper
Make sure that you only pour the hot water to the edge of the filter rim- over-pouring will cause botanicals to slip in between the filter and the brewer body, possibly clogging your brewer and leading to, gasp, over-steeping at the critical moment of decanting. (Here we are picturing some lovely Raja Spice steeping away!)
A note on decanting: You should decant the ENTIRE contents of the brewer once it has steeped for the appropriate time. This allows the entire contents of the dripper to be evenly distributed for serving. The #4 Dripper pictured here produces 16oz of liquor, enough for several cups of tea- and if we simply dispense directly into individual cups from the dripper, some will get different levels of the steeped liquor. Decanting allows the entire batch to be intermingled and evenly distributed to cups next.
Make sure that your decanting vessel is the right size for the dripper to rest on. Luckily the Bonavita dripper has a nice handle too, but I think it is safer to be able to rest the dripper right on your vessel. (This is the liquor that came from our Yun Wu!)
Cleaning the filter is really easy- simply turn it over into your compost, then spray it down inside and out with your faucet.