How do you make a coffee infuser out of a tea infuser? Apart from the nutritional (caffeine and antioxidant-rich) similarities between coffee and tea, they both brew at a temperature that is just off the boiling point.
In fact, some of the coffee brewing methods compare to some methods of making tea.
For instance, drip coffee and pour-over coffee with mesh filters compare, in a way, to making tea with a tea infuser basket. A French press, like a tea infuser, involves steeping.
So, can you make coffee with a tea infuser?
Yes, you can make coffee with a tea infuser. The infuser holds the ground coffee and water wets the grounds and dissolves the coffee solubles to yield full-bodied coffee. Different types of tea infusers require a different technique to pull a great cup of coffee.
What is a Tea Infuser?
A tea infuser is a filtering tool that can fit inside a cup or vessel and is usually mesh-style or a perforated container. Loose tea goes in the infuser that is then immersed in a container such as a cup or pot and hot water is added.
The loose tea steeped for about four minutes for maximum extraction before removing the infuser from the container to avoid extracting bitter flavors.
Types of Tea Infusers
There are six common types of tea infusers
- Tea Infuser Basket. It is a filter-basket with ears that sit on the top of the vessel where you are making tea
- Tea ball infuser. It is made of mesh with tiny holes that keep tiny loose tea particles at bay. Tea balls come in different sizes and shapes: they can be ball-like or cylindrical. They have a chain handle with a clip that attaches to the top of the container in which you are making tea for easy retrieval after steeping
- Tea infuser spoon. A ball-like mesh infuser with a long solid handle
- Tea infuser egg. Is egg-shaped, as the name suggests, and has a chain for easy retrieval. Some egg infusers are made in a way that they float on the water but with two-thirds or more of the infuser still submerged
- Tea infuser tumblers. Infuser bottles have a filter basket that fits in the bottle. Some have an insulated or double-glass wall to retain the temperature of the drink and prevent burning your hands
- Disposable tea bags
How to Make Coffee With a Tea Infuser
Let’s discuss how to convert a tea infuser to a coffee infuser and make rich coffee.
1. How to Make Coffee with a Tea Infuser Basket
A tea infuser basket is very similar to the filter baskets for coffee. The ears on the rim of the infuser basket prevent it from dipping in the vessel where you are brewing coffee. When brewing coffee with a tea infuser basket, use pour-over technique to make a clean flavorful cup.
Materials: a tea infuser basket, a tablespoon, medium-coarse coffee grounds, coffee beans, a wide-mouthed mug or jar, a goose-neck kettle, a timer, and a measuring cup
Optional: a digital scale
- Bring half a liter of water to a boil and set it aside for 30-45 seconds for the temperature to drop. Measure about 240ml (8oz) of the water and add it to the goose-neck kettle
- Set the infuser basket on the mug rinse and pour the rest of the hot water over the basket to warm the basket and the mug. Empty the mug
- Add 3 tablespoons of medium-coarse grounds to the infuser basket and shake the basket to ensure a flatbed for the grounds
- Using the kettle, add hot water over the grounds in a controlled circular motion to evenly wet the grounds for about 30 seconds. Most people like to add water from the center and circle outwards
- Allow the coffee to bloom for 45-60 seconds to release the gasses.
- Add the rest of the water slowly over the grounds for 2-3 minutes while maintaining a flatbed. Give a gentle stir with the spoon to enhance the flow of water through the grounds
- Remove the tea infuser basket when all the water has gone through and dump the used grounds. Enjoy the flavorsome cup of coffee
2. How to Make Coffee With a Tea Ball Infuser (also works for infuser egg and spoon)
A tea ball, tea infuser egg, and tea infuser spoon are quite similar in that they all submerge in the water. However, most tea infuser eggs have bigger holes so you need to be careful about the grind size when making coffee with a tea infuser egg.
Generally, tea ball and tea infuser spoons have tiny holes and a medium-coarse grind should do the job.
Materials: a tea infuser ball or spoon, water, an empty cup, a timer, a measuring cup, a tablespoon and, medium-coarse ground coffee
- Bring about two cups of water to a boil and rest it for 30-45 seconds to achieve the optimum temperature for brewing coffee
- Rinse the cup and the tea infuser ball/spoon with hot water
- Add three tablespoons of coffee grounds to the tea ball and clasp the two meshes together
- Insert the infuser ball or spoon in the mug with the handle protruding from the cup
- Add about 240ml (8oz) water to the cup and steep for four minutes. Use the handle of the infuser to stir the infuser from time to time to enhance the interaction between water and coffee grounds
- Use the handle to remove the infuser ball from the cup and discard the used grounds. Enjoy your cup of coffee
3. How to Make Coffee in a Tea Infuser Bottle
The most common tea infuser tumblers have a filter basket that is either attached to the lid or sits just below the lid and has a small handle. Some infuser tumblers provide a pocket within the lid for storing some loose tea or coffee grounds. Insulated tea infuser bottles keep your drink hot longer and also protect your hands from burning.
Materials: infuser bottle, water, medium-coarse ground coffee, a measuring cup, and a timer
- Heat up about one liter of water and let it cool for 30-45 seconds
- Prewarm the infuser tumbler with hot water and empty it
- Add 3-6 tablespoons of grounds to the filter basket depending on the size of the tumbler or the amount of coffee that you want to make. For a 15 or 16oz tumbler, 5-6 tablespoons of coffee grounds is fine
- Add the desired amount of hot water to the infuser bottle
- Insert the filter basket in the bottle and screw the lid tightly
- Steep for 4 minutes and shake the infuser bottle or flip it upside down from time to time
- Remove the infuser basket and toss the wet grounds in a trash can. Enjoy your cup of Joe
Pros and Cons of Making Coffee with a Tea Infuser
- Tea infusers yield full-bodied coffee as they do not trap the coffee oils
- Tea infuser balls are more affordable as compared to cone filters for coffee that cost as much as three times more
- Easy to use and clean
- Stainless steel infusers do not give off-tastes to the coffee
- Infuser baskets are large enough to brew several cups of coffee at a time
- Infuser bottles are an excellent way to make coffee with minimum equipment and keep the coffee hot longer
- Tea infuser balls and eggs can be too tiny and limiting as to the amount of coffee grounds that you use. Coffee grounds expand as they absorb water
- Fine grinds can easily get through the mesh of the infuser into the coffee
- Some tea infusers have bigger holes and would require extra filtration with either a paper filter or a fabric filter, which beats the purpose of using the tea infuser
- The latch on the two baskets of some infuser balls and spoons is not tight enough and may leak some grounds into the coffee
4. How To Make Coffee Using Tea Bags
You can purchase empty tea bags and use them to brew your coffee. See our detailed guide on how to use tea bags for coffee.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee with a Tea Infuser
A tea infuser basket makes great cold brew coffee and the size of the basket is large enough to brew a few cups.
Materials: a scale, a mason jar, infuser basket, coarse ground coffee, filtered cold water, a table spoon and a measuring cup
- Immerse the infuser basket in the mason jar so that the ear of the basket sit on the mouth of the jar
- Add coarse ground coffee to the infuser basket at a ratio of 40 grams of grounds per half-liter of water
- Add filtered cold water over the infuser basket in conformity with the coffee ratio. You many use a spoon to prod any floating dry grounds
- Cover the infuser with its lid and leave the mason jar in the fridge or on a kitchen table for 18-24 hours
- Remove the infuser basket and discard the wet grounds. Enjoy your cup of coffee
You can also use a tea infuser bottle to make cold brew coffee. The downside is that infuser bottles have small filter baskets that only accommodate fewer grounds. To make cold brew coffee with an infuser bottle,
- add 250ml water to the bottle and 20 grams of ground coffee to the filter basket
- insert the basket in the bottle and screw the cover tightly
- invert the bottle upside down and make sure it’s not leaking
- leave the inverted bottle in the fridge or pantry for up to 24 hrs
- open the bottle and discard the grounds. Enjoy your cold brew coffee
Cold brew coffee is rich in caffeine and is much smoother than hot brewed coffee. The acidity and bitterness in coffee does not dissolve in cold water. Some people prefer to dilute the cold brew further with cold water when it’s stronger than what they desire.
Key Points to Remember When Making Coffee With a Tea Infuser
- Mind the size of the holes on the infuser. Some infusers have finer holes than others. The size of the holes on your infuser will dictate the grind size of your coffee
- Use a coffee ratio that suits you. The amount of coffee grounds per cup is not a one-size-fits-all. Some people prefer to use more grounds whereas others prefer less than the golden ratio of 1:18 and they all swear by their preferences
- Freshly ground coffee tastes much better than pre-ground coffee
- Remove the used grounds when steeping time is over to avoid extracting bitter flavors
- Use filtered water
There are parallels to be drawn between tea infusers and some coffee brewing methods such as the French press and pour-over. You can make coffee in a tea infuser, but the method may change depending on the type of infuser at your disposal. Check the size of the holes on your tea infuser to determine the right grind size for that infuser.
Tea infusers are inexpensive as compared to paper and mesh filters for coffee, so improving your coffee brewing technique with tea infusers can save you some bucks.
A tea infuser basket can fit enough grounds for several cups of coffee as compared to the tiny tea balls and infuser spoons. Consequently, tea infuser basket is ideal when making cold brew coffee with a tea infuser as it accommodates more ground coffee.
French Press vs Tea Infuser
Both the French press and a tea infuser involve steeping coffee in water to extract the soluble compounds. You can brew tea and coffee with both the french press and tea infusers.
Traditionally, a French press uses coarse grounds but lately, some coffee experts have advocated for a medium grind size and a longer brew time for the French press. Tea infusers on the other hand have different hole sizes and it’s difficult to strictly adhere to a particular grind size for all infusers.
A medium-coarse coffee grind size is ideal for most mesh tea infusers whereas a finer grind would work in a tea bag.