GradHacker has a wonderful post about tea and some of its intricacies. I love coffee more than SLHedge, but I love tea too, so here are a few thoughts of my own.
I’ve long since given up on tea-infusing balls after my uni roommate and I managed to rust through one and we thought that perhaps we were insufficiently responsible for such a device. We transferred over to DIY teabags or ‘paper filters’ such as these. I still use these, years later, because they are just more convenient, particularly for use in work where I don’t really want to be cleaning out an infuser in the little kitchenette! They are also much easier to use, for example, in library kitchenette’s, as you can bring them from home pre-prepared.
A kettle is definitely preferable to the microwave or the sort of hot-water dispensers some offices have (i.e. water about 70-80 degrees that has been standing on a permanent cool-heat cycle for who knows how long).
Storage tins are a must. Even though lots of supermarkets (e.g. Marks and Spencers) are selling loose-leaf in plastic bags inside paper envelopes, resist the temptation.
I generally steep for less than the recommended time, in part because I am big re-user of tea. Your mileage may vary, as they say!