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Would you redry (and reuse) old leaves?

A question for the “tea-nut” gallery:

My brother and his girlfriend were at a teashop, and the vendor said, “Our teas are of such high quality that you can steep the leaves once, take ’em out, let ’em dry, then reuse them again.”

He later asked me if this was a legit practice. I said I’d never heard of anyone doing that. My “opnion” was that it seemed unsanitary. (That and the leaves might not have very much flavor.) But what do I know…

So, the question is, have you folks done this or heard about anyone who’s done this? If so, it’s new news to me.

7 Replies
Azzrian said

Absolutely! Depending on the tea of course as some just do NOT resteep well while others can be resteeped over and over. However I either lay the leaves out on a towel to dry or put the strainer in the fridge as long as I intend to resteep soon – as in later that day or the next day.
Leaves CAN begin to mold and collect bacteria so you don’t want to save them for too long but yes you can do this.
I am sure others will tell you more – this is really all I know about it and how I do it.
Some teas are so precious and expensive you don’t want to just toss them but maybe are not ready for more of it right away.

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K S said

According to this link: http://chineseteas101.com/kettle.htm
the Tibetan people commonly reuse the same leaf for days and days. I have gone two days without issue. I just make sure I get as much moisture out as possible and leave it exposed to air to dry.

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gmathis said

I agree with the day-or-so opinion. Generally, my MO is to set a “used” brew basket in a cup to allow air to circulate a bit. I’m still learning which varieties are recycle-friendly. Oolongs seem to be the best (in strength and quality), then good strong black and assam varieties. Greens and whites, not so much.

Azzrian said

Agreed – I too do the basket in a cup thing for circulation of air!I find MOST red rooibos flavored teas re-steep quite well too.

Kittenna said

Oh yes, I’ve found that vegetal greens do not last overnight well, and often taste funky the next day. So I try to drink all the infusions I want the same day.

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Thanks for the informative feedback all. I was unaware that there was some semblance of heritage to the claim.

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I already responded on Google+ but I’ll say it again… No thank you.

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