Is using the same leaves more than once to make tea a good idea?
Does it depend on the type of tea? I usually drink plain Assam tea, and it certainly would be nice to get more actual tea from a given amount.
Go ahead and try it with the tea you are using now. Whole leaf and loose leaf teas are so flavorful, the leaves have more to impart a second time and even a 3rd or more depending on the type of tea.
Tea Bag tea, can be different depending on the intent. Some companies, like Tea Forte for instance, may bag their loose leaf in sachets that give more room and a visual of the tea. Do infuse those a second time. The intent of most bagged tea is convenience and a swift brewing, hence very small pieces of leaf.
Whole leaf tea takes longer to infuse and extract flavor from the leaves. (oversteeping may bring out bitter tannins)
So, actually, to get the full enjoyment from your whole leaf teas, don’t turn your nose up at the thought of "used leaves’’
The types of teas that one will see multiple infusions being a given would be with oolongs and puerh. As with wine, tasters may wax poetic on the different levels of flavors brought forth with each new infusion.
I new to loose leaf tea, if I double steep my leaves for the same cup of tea will my flavor be stronger? I like lots of flavor with my tea and sometimes I have teas that are too light in flavor for me, do you know how I would get a stronger flavor?
Have you tried using more leaf for your cup? For instance, if the recommended amount per 8oz of water is 1 tsp and you find that too light, try a heaping teaspoon or even 2 teaspoons. :)
I have tried that, I just feel like I’m using an insane amount of tea for one cup of tea (But I guess I could try reusing the leaves again) I guess its cause I’m new to loose leaf tea and only have had experience with bagged tea in the past.
No harm in trying out a second infusion on the leaves – experiment with steep times and leaf amount, and I’m sure you’ll find something that works. Some teas are just lighter in flavor than others, and if it’s too light for me, I don’t get too worried about using extra leaf to get it how I like it. :)
You can also try adjusting your water temperature slightly lower than what you typically use. If you do, it will allow you to steep your tea longer without as much risk of making it bitter, and you don’t have to use larger amounts of tea.
I’ve been able to steep white and green teas well beyond the recommended times by doing this, and with no bitterness.
I generally do at least 2 infusions with all of my loose teas, and will even do third infusions of some (generally not white though). I find that on the second infusion I have more “tea” flavor and any other added flavors (berries, etc.) have a much more muted flavor.
The only times when I do one infusion is when I boil tea leaves in water :D
Oh yes! That’s why most people prefer loose leaf- better quality means longer lasting. And some teas, like pu erh and oolongs, are known specifically for their multi infusions. I can get upwards of 12 infusions from pu erh and most good quality dragonwell green. It really depends on your starting steeping parameters. The only category of teas I don’t have resteeping luck w/ is blacks. The only exception has been 52teas’ beer flavored black tea.
I tried a second steep with my Assam, and I have to say, it wasn’t bad at all.
The flavour felt more rounded (mild, I suppose) than in the first steep, but the tea was certainly not weak. The third steep, however, was rather mediocre. Perfectly drinkable, but quite dull.
A related question… If you are re-steeping your tea, does each cup have the same amount of caffeine? Or do you only get the caffeine on the first cup? I have MateVana from Teavana at home that had a good second infusion, but was wondering about the amount of caffeine that second cup had.
I’m fairly certain that each subsequent steep would have less caffeine than the one before, so the second cup would have some caffeine, but quite a lot less than the first one.
For an exact answer, I guess you’d need to find a scientific paper on the subject.
@mortenfyhn is generally correct. There’s SO much conflicting info on caffeine, but that’s generally true. Although it does depend on steeping parameters I think. Take pu erhs for example. I use 1g of tea per 1oz of water and after a 10-15 sec rinse my 1st drinkable steep is only 20 sec. I think it’s likely due to the short steep that caffeine may increase for a while inspite of me not increasing the steeping times.
Good idea @mortenfyhn! I did find the following information after geeking out on the scientific research:
In one super-long steep, 9% of the caffeine was removed after 30 seconds; 50% was removed after 6 minutes; 80% removed after 9 minutes; and 96% after 15 minutes.
After sequential three-minute infusions, the second infusion will generally contain 40-70% less caffeine than the first. The third infusion will contain about 75-90% less caffeine than the first.
Here is the research in case you care to verify the data:
“Tea preparation and its influence on methylxanthine concentration”. Food Research International.
“Tea and the rate of its infusion”. Chemistry in New Zealand Journal.
“Analysis of Caffeine Levels in Multiple Infusions of Tea”. Asbury College.
“Kinetics and equilibria of tea infusion”. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. (multiple studies over 15+ years… rate of infusion with/without tea bag, rate of infusion vs. temperature of water, etc.)
I steep as many times as i can. if it starts to taste bad or has no flavor, i stop. You might as well try to get as much out of the leaves as you can. I believe that you lose the caffeine after the first infusion.
I agree- I’d rather throw away an infusion because it’s too weak than waste infusions by not steeping them.