Madness? Not really. I made the mistake of buying one those little mesh balls from T2, thinking it'd make brewing loose tea easy. And it did, as long as I didn't mind finding most of what was in the ball in my cuppa also. After my hundredth mouthful of 90-per cent dried fennel, 10-per cent tea, I decided I didn't have much to lose by using my tiny French press instead.
The press in the photo is a cheap, single-cup model from Big W (no expense spared!). The tea is T2's Liquorice Legs, easily the most delicious tea I've ever tasted (with the exception of hibiscus tea I had constantly in Egypt).
Using the press seemed like such an obvious thing to do -- was I missing some small detail that would foil my efforts? A Google Search later failed to turn up references to freak poisonings or horror tales of coffee-making device destruction, but it did reveal this guide on getting the best results:
1. Thoroughly clean the French press, paying careful attention to removing coffee residues from the mesh plunger. If there is a significant amount of coffee residue, consider cleaning it with a mixture of vinegar and water. If residue remains, you should consider another way of brewing your cup of tea.
2. Add only the amount of water needed for the cups of tea that are going to be poured as soon as the first steep of tea is completed.
3. Steep the leaves for the desired strength of brew.
4. Carefully lower the plunger about halfway to the bottom. The idea is not to compress the leaves, but to use the plunger as a sieve. Compressing the leaves may damage them and result in bitter, subsequent steeps of the leaves.
5. Pour off all the tea, either into cups, or into a separate carafe. Do not allow leaves to remain in any water in the French press.
Easy. It works darn well -- probably one of the better loose tea drinking experiences I've had. I don't drink enough tea to justify buying a pot and a single cup carefully rationed is almost always enough for me, so using the press is the perfect solution.
Any tea brewing tips you'd like to share?
Brewing Tea in a French Press [In The Pursuit Of Tea]