Time between re-steeping
Is it okay to leave tea leaves in your infuser and then re-steep them 3-4 hours later? Does the tea loose flavor over time or is it okay to wait hours before re-steeping tea?
As long as there is no mold wait as along as you like. I occasionally start a serving of leaves at night and finish them in the morning because life is too short drink bad tea and I think it’s equally wrong to waste good tea by throwing the leaves out prematurely. Just make sure you decant completely. I have a glass pot that is really tricky to decant- it takes forever to get that last little bit of water out. Mold forms more quickly when leaves are more densly confined (as in a basket infusor or filter bag vs. a tea pot).
3-4 hours later would be ok. The professional advice I was given was not to re-steep after 24 hours… but, personally, I would not let them sit more than 12 hours before re-steeping. Light and air are the two enemies of tea. The leaves may be sitting in a dark teapot, but they are still exposed to air through the spout… which can ultimately affect the flavor.
When re-steeping after the leaves have set for a couple of hours, it may be a good idea to do a quick rinse of the leaves (pour hot water in the teapot, then immediately pour out), then add fresh hot water and proceed with your infusion.
I didn’t think of the light issue til you mentioned it. I personally let them breathe to dry and prevent molding, but that adds air to the equation. I told someone else earlier today that I can’t tell you 100% w/o doing a side by side taste test (i.e. 2nd infusions done immediately, 2 hrs, 12 hrs, and 24 hrs after the 1st), but I haven’t had any complains w/ the quality of infusions no matter what the time between them is. The only way to find out your opinion would be to try it:)
I should let you know, mattscinto, that my suggestions were based on advice I was given by others who use the same leaves throughout the day and not from personal experience. I have never re-steeped a batch of leaves more than 3 hours later from the initial steep. In addition, I only re-steep blacks, whites, and greens twice and oolongs and pu erhs four times.
Thanks IdentiTEA. My number of steeps are similar to yours. Sometimes I dump the first quick steep and then do two “real” steeps, so I guess that’s technically three…but I find that for most teas, once you go past three you’re heading into tasteless colored water territory!
Unlike Shanti, I have very good success steeping my teas (except blacks) SEVERAL times (6-22 depending on the tea and pending mold formation).
No problem, Shanti. I apologize for not being more specific in the first place. The source of the advice in my initial post is from what I call “professional” tea drinkers (people with 20+ years of experience).
What I am referring to is that they told me that they will have 3-4 teapots with a different tea in each pot at the same time. For example, they will make a black tea in one pot in which the wet leaves will remain in the pot after pouring out all of the tea. Then, they will make a different tea, oh lets say green, in another pot using the same method. They would continue this with 3-4 pots, then they may go back to the black tea (their first pot of the day) and re-steep those leaves. That is why they told me to throw out the leaves after 24 hours… which means they would wash out the pots in the morning. I said 12 hours because I do the dishes at night.
Does that make more sense? Basically they don’t use just one tea all day until the poor leaves are spent… it is more like 3-4 batches a day.
I agree with you about the “tasteless colored water territory” as you nicely put it. I have tried steeping green tea more than 3 times and I felt like it just wasn’t worth it… even after carefully noting the water temperature and time, as I so often do.
IdentiTEA, reading that made me dizzy! LOL I tried to make 2 teas at once and couldn’t do it=D
That’s really neat IdentiTEA, thanks for sharing :)
By the way, I keep wanting to type “My Sigh” instead of “IdentiTEA” hee :D
what is the best way to go about preventing molding?
Tea leaves get spinach-y if let to sit too long, discard them after 3-4 hours. It shouldn’t ever get to the point where you are trying to figure out ways to prevent mold ..gross
a couple hours is all i allow in between steeps, perhaps it might work better if you were able to spread them out and block them from light ? I agree with Pithy too long and they get over-cooked veggie like and smooshy
The only time I’ve encountered the “smooshy” problem is when I steep them several times. It hasn’t had anything to do w/ the time frame for me.
i think mine get smooshy when i fail to properly dry them in between steeps as well as over brewing. Like if you keep them packed together and moist in the basket infuser and don’t spread them out and then forget about them for the day, ick!
Just going to chime in with Pithy and AmazonV that 3-4 hours would probably be okay.
Yeah, I have to agree, I think it’s pretty gross if you’re keeping tea so long that mold is even in the question….there’s a point when it ceases to be “tea” and becomes “decomposing leaf infusion”!
Well this is certainly the best tea community around. hah :)
I use bags mostly and rarely use the same one twice . But I wouldn’t let more than 1-2 hours pass before using the same set of leaves for resteeping .
I can re steep my organic silver needle as many times as I want 10-20 and it never looses color or the flavor of the first glass. I use a 10 oz. Thermos insulated cup with basket infuser which is flipped upside down to brew. I can shake the glass and leave it for 2 hours(happened on accident, forget it) and it is never bitter and will still brew the same strength and color. Is this unique to silver needle? I just dont want to waste tea this expensive especially if there is stuff left in the leaves. Or am I just being tight? I really cannot tell as the color and flavor are the same which is light to begin with. One last thing, the only change I ever get is if it is steeped for a long period of time 15 min or more it has a sweeter taste. I drink tea for the antioxidant and calming effects and dont want to waste money but am looking for ideal amount of steeps for this tea before no real antioxidant benefits are realized. Please explain any opinions with links or facts. Thanks to the best tea community around.