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Julia said

How many times can you steep tea leaves

Hi, I am new here and new to tea. My brother got me hooked, however he says he uses his tea leaves many times. He lets them dry on a napkin and adds them back to the tin. I didnt know if that was such a great idea.
So anyway how many times do you use the tea leaves?

40 Replies
BubbleDrae said

You’re getting into dragon territory there. Lots of people who drink tea (most often oolongs, but also high quality whites, greens, etc) do multiple infusions, but you sort of have to change from thinking about brewing “western style” with enough leaves for a big mug, and several minutes of steeping, also – I wouldn’t encourage drying and replacing the tea in the tin – that sounds unsanitary at worst, and degrading to the tea’s quality at best.

I usually use small yixing pots – about 5-6 oz maximum. I put about 7grams of leaves in the pot (or fill it about halfway, eyeballing.) Then I usually do infusions of about 20 seconds, increasing 10 seconds or so each time. Traditional tasters would want to taste each of these brews in a fairly elaborate ceremony, but I generally dump them into one big thermos to pour off from through my day. After about 8-10 infusions (sometimes more, depending on the tea) it starts going bitter, or just not putting out much flavor. Of course, by that time, I’m usually bored anyway. I dump the pot at the end of the night – mildew mold and bacteria start creeping in after too long for sure.

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For me it’s 3-30 infusions, depending on the tea and brewing style. Occasionally I don’t like a tea and would stop before it ends. Otherwise, I would try to squeeze the last drop from the tea :-D I admit 30 infusions is either crazy or stingy. But try at least 3 infusions.

But I think it’s a better idea to leave the tea leaves in the cup/teapot and re-steep. When I let tea leaves dry on paper towel, the next stop for them is a pillow :-D

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TOMMMMMM said

So when making an 8 oz cup of tea with 1 tsp @ say 4 mins, do u generally resteep a 2nd and 3rd cup if 8oz too @ 4 mins or do u steep longer?

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BubbleDrae said

I don’t resteep if I’m steeping the first at several minutes, with just a tsp per 8 oz. They’re usually spent after that. (Especially black teas.) Again, 5-6oz pot gets about 7grams of leaves (this looks like a lot if they’re unrolled – probably a tablespoon) and very short infusions, 20 secs, 40 secs. Sometimes I use two infusions to fill up a mug. I’m not an expert, but if you are further interested, do some searching with the term “gong fu tea” and you’ll get what we’re trying to explain. :)

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K S said

My experience is bagged tea will usually only steep once. Loose small piece tea like Twinings and similar will go twice @ 1tsp per 8oz water for 3-4 minutes. Whole leaf teas I normally can get at least 3 steeps. Puerhs I have steeped 10 times but here I use 30-45 second steeps.

I am one of the heathens that will attempt to use the leaves a second day. I leave them in the pot, remove as much water as possible, and spread the leaf out. You can pretty much tell immediately if it was a bad idea and the leaves should be dumped. Obviously don’t use if the leaf is growing anything. I have never seen that happen overnight by the way.

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Personally, I steep only twice, however I probably could try to do it once more. I’m a recent convert, used to very..very strong coffee, because of this, I think the second steeping is probably as weak as I would like to go.

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TeaVivre said

In my opinion, this is mainly depend on what tea and brew methods you’ll be used. Generally, if you use a Gaiwan or Sand-Fired teapot, it can be steeped for many times. As for Gaiwan , it is very perfect for multiple infusions.

Here are some information about the different teas’ steeping times:

White teas: most of the white tea can be steeped at least 5 times.

Green teas: at least 4 times, except Dragon well, Bi Luo Chun, Huang Shan Mao Feng, Xin Yang Mao Jian, Tai Ping Hou Kui, and Liu An Guan Pian. These green teas just can be steeped not more than 3 times.

Black teas: for keemun teas, usually can be brewed for 3-4 times, however, for Yunnan teas, the steeping times are more than 10 times until it lose its flavor.

Pu-erh teas: more than 12 times

Oolong teas: for the common Tie Guan Yin Oolong teas, most of them can be brewed in 7 times, for the premium ones, the steeping time can last 9 times.

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Julia said

Well after trying different methods over the weekend I found out I do not like tea steeped the 2nd time. But I do like a tea with only 1/2 tsp leaves per cup. So that saves me.

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Excelsior said

For my premium Alishan Oolong, 8 times.
For my FF Darjeelings, only 1 time.
For my SF Darjeelings, 2 times.
For my Japanese greens, 5 times.

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Fezly said

I love brewing tea as many times as possible. I usually steep white teas for hours and I find that the flavor gets even better after the first five. For example I recently purchased some Ceylon Golden Tips White Tea from Druera and the teas flavor lasts incredibly long. I just increase the temperature and steeping time in small intervals. For example first few around 160 to 165 degrees increasing about 3 degrees each time. For the steeping time I will increase for about 15-30 seconds each time. I love white tea and feel that when your buying the highest grades you should suck as much flavor out of the buds as possible. I read somewhere on the internet that you get the most antioxidants out of steeping the tea a maximum of ten minutes and drinking the infusion hot although I do tend to cool the tea to around 140-150 degrees which is just personal taste preference. hope this helps

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