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Scott B said

Time frame for "using up" steeped leaves?

I normally do multiple steeps of teas the same day. However, I was looking at some breakfast tea that advertises at least 4 infusions. I don’t want to drink 4 infusions of a breakfast tea every day-would rather have just one or two. Is there a time frame after a first steep in which the leaves should no longer be steeped? If anyone steeps over multiple days, how do you store the leaves? Thanks

14 Replies
ChaMei select said

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, if you prefer just a few cups. My Breville requires minimum 500ml to brew so I’m stuck with two cups worth each brewing. Some people put the leaves in the refrigerator but last time I tried that, the leaves absorbed some fridge smells and I threw them out. I’ve left my tea leaves in the brew basket overnight and reused it fine. Would question keeping damp leaves beyond that though. I do feel you being reluctant to discard tea leaves with some life left. Maybe you can do the multiple steepings, storing the overage in a jug to ice?

DaisyChubb said

Good call! In the summer I always steep the heck out of whatever has some life left and stick it in the fridge. You might discover new flavours that way too!

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cteresa said

How long it will last will depend on how dry it gets and where you keep it. Make sure you drain those well, maybe keep it in a small drainer over a glass or something. if you keep those leaves without drainage, very wet, much higher chance of decay (particularly fungus and all).

(and for some teas, I agree it is a pity to not do more brews! Because they can have a different smoother character than the first one)

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teawade said

I only re-steep leaves no more than one extra day after use. Like ChaMei, I keep my leaves in the brew basket and they turn out fine. For more than one day, I’m not so sure on how to go about it. But both suggestions above sound good and steeping the tea 4 times and storing the last 2 in a jar sounds like a great idea that I may have to try. While not using the loose leaves to their full potential may seem like a waste, being careful of fungus, etc as cteresa said is more important in my opinion. I hope you find the answer you’re looking for and happy steeping!

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Scott B said

Thanks for the advice. Yeah, I was thinking about just hanging my brew basket over an empty cup and reusing the next morning. I’m not used to getting so many steeps out of a breakfast blend and I do like to drink other teas throughout the day.

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You can consider using half amount of the leaves and brew each infusion to fill half of your cup. Then 4 infusions would be 2 cups :-)

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Scott B said

Good tip, thanks :)

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Uniquity said

I save mine overnight quite frequently (though I must admit at being terrible at re-steeping – I frequently forget or want something different) and have pushed it to two days a couple times. Always use judgment and check the leaves before re-steeping and you should be good!

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David Lau said

I’ve re-used 3 day old tea leaves with no problem. I’ve found that the more leaves you have the better they will keep. I once had about 8L of tea leaves leftover from an event and those started growing a little bit of mold after 10 days.

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Since I brew my tea gong fu style in small chinese pots up to @ 150 – 180 ml, it usually takes me at least three brewings to drink the amount most people get in a single American mug. And usually I’ll go more brewings htan that: until the leaves begin losing their flavor. Drinking it that way, I don’t often have leave over tea with enough decent brewings to make me feel guilty about throwing them away.

For a green oolong the most I’ll go is a couple of hours or from morning to evening. For dark or Pu-erh, I’ve gone overnight or a day. Rather than wait til the next day, I prefer to come home at night to the partly steeped leaves and drink tea with dinner (hoping that most of the caffeine is gone after my first few brews).

There’s just something about starting each day with fresh leaves, a fresh start with fresh optimisim.

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Another thought: if you’re using a Brevil or other device that requires larger amounts to be brewed, why not just make a full pot and then pour whenever you don’t drink into a glass bottle in the refrigerator so you can have really tasty iced tea when you want it, instead of the swill most places sell?

DaisyChubb said

My thoughts exactly!
It’s better than any iced tea you can buy in a bottle! Most of the time anyways haha

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