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Barbara said

Do you really like your second steep?

I recently bought a Yin Zhen Silver Needle at E 30,- and a Milky Oolong at E 25,- per 100 gram. At these prices I thought it prudent to have another look into resteeping tealeaves.

Unfortunately I have found that I like the 2nd – let alone 3rd – steep considerably less than the 1st. It is not that they become bitter or really tasteless, but they just aren’t as flavoured, full and rounded as the 1st steep.

I decided to steep only once. Maybe its a pity considering de price and quality of the tea, but on the other hand I really detest paying a lot and then doing something to ruin the experience.

How do you do that?

PS: Ik drink everything from big mugs i.s.o. those small china cups that are usually associated with resteeping. I may be that that makes the difference.

48 Replies
Angrboda said

Actually for many teas, the second steep is considered the superior one. How long do you steep your first steep for?

For me, in even just a mediocre quality leaf there is little to no difference between first and second steep. It rarely works with teabags, but with loose leaf, I can’t recall having a noticably less flavourful second steep. In flavoured teas, the flavouring sometimes fade the second time around but still plenty of flavour in the base.

Angrboda said

Also, how long is your second steep compared to the first? Do you increase the steeping time or is it the same. We usually do four minutes on a large pot for the first steep, and five minutes for the second steep, making sure to drain the pot of excess liquid after pouring the cups in between.

Barbara said

Hi Angrboda,

With both the Yin Zhen and the Oolong I’ve tried it as follows:
- 1st steep: 5 minutes at 80 C
- 2nd steep: 6-7 minutes at 80 C
According to the tin the Yin Zhen 1st steep should be 18-25 minutes, but I didn’t like that. The Oolong 1st steep should be 4-6 minutes. I usally go for 6 minutes.
I’ve tried increasing temp in stead of time, but prefer incresing time.

Angrboda said

Bit long for my taste, personally, but otherwise it looks sensible… Of course it could be that the second steeps just aren’t to your particular taste. I’d still try to cut a minute or so off the steeping time, at least on the first steep, and see if that changes anything.

You could also have a look at how much leaf you use. Is it perhaps a little on the skimpy side? Since there’s nothing wrong with how you experience your first steep, maybe try to just add a little fresh leaf to the second pot. Not nearly as much as you started with, of course, just a pinch. It might give the used leaf the support you need for a more enjoyable second cup.

Barbara said

I’m going to try it now. Update will be following :-)

Barbara said

Update: yeah, seems to be doing the trick.

Did an oolong: 1st steep 5 min, 2nd steep + 1/2 tsp & + 1 min.

The first steep is slightly more ‘buttery’ and de second slightly more floral, but other than that booth steeps are very similar and entirely enjoyable.

I’ll be trying this with my other teas aswell.

Thanks!

Angrboda said

I’m glad I could help. :)

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Kamyria said

Amazing. I actually thought about starting a thread like that because I’m new to loose tea and like Barbara I had also found my second steep less desirable than the first. I kept thinking.. What am I doing wrong?

I always rinse my leaves for 15 seconds or so and then steep according to directions but most of the time I lean towards the longer steeping time. My teas are usually steeped for 5-6 min. They are always perfect, never bitter, but the second steep just lacks the oomph regardless of how long I steep. I did notice though that people who usually do many steeps tend have shorter steeping times…

Barbara said

Indeed, the “oomph” lacks in de 2nd steep :-)
I’m going to try the suggestion of Angrboda and if that doens’t work, I’ll just put it down to not being to my particular taste…
Very relieved to discover I’m not the only one however. I started to feel like a tea-barbarian :-) (Can you say that in English??, anyway you probably catch my drift…)

Kittenna said

Yeah, I was going to say that the longer the first infusion, the less “goodness” often seems to be left in the leaves. With a milk oolong that I have, I usually use a 3-minute first infusion, and let the second one for for 4-5, and both infusions are tasty. There’s often a drop after that, however.

Barbara said

I understand. However a 1st steep at 3 minutes isn’t as enjoyable als a 1st steep at 5-6 minutes imo. It seems you have to compromise either on the first or on the following steeps…

Perhaps. I personally usually find that steeping 5-6 minutes is far too long for me, unless I’m making a herbal or sometimes a white. I usually average somewhere around 2-3 minutes for my first steep, and then about 3-4 minutes for my second. Perhaps by steeping first at 5-6 minutes it’s more than the leaf can take for another steep.

Kittenna said

Hmm. Well, I guess the teas I use for a 3-min first infusion work perfectly for that, and then a longer second infusion. One other things I frequently do with additional infusions is to reduce the amount of water I use, to make it more concentrated/flavourful.

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Denny said

Yeah I usually steep three times.

Barbara said

Just like that? Or do you increase time or temp or add some extra new tea or just use a larger amount to start with??

Kamyria said

That’s what I was thinking… Do people maybe also use more leaves then recommended?

Denny said

I usually keep everything the same, sometimes the mate and rooibos steep longer. I don’t think I’m drinking honey water.

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Lala said

I generally do not re-steep just becuase I do not like the taste. Some strong teas I will re-steep though. I usually steep for longer time on the second steep. Once the first cup is done, I will put the leaves into the second cup and leave it steep while I’m drinking the first.

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It really depends on the tea for me. When trying new teas lately I have been re steeping till I don’t care for the tea, experimenting. Sometimes I still like the tea over 5 steeps in, sometimes It only “lasts” 1-2.

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Barbara said

Thanks guys for all the great replys! Much appreciated!!

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Zeks said

You can try shorter steeping times. For example I like to steep most teas a couple seconds to half minute only for the first steeping. For good quality tea this produces really tasty results.

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Will said

Try a flash rinse, then drink the steep after this. And also, you can try using more tea and a little bit shorter steep.

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Tamm said

For certain flavored teas a second steep just not feasible; especially flavored mate from Teavana for whatever reason. For me, I steep unflavored teas for at least 3-4 steeps, but I use the short steep preparation for those. Even steeped, I guess what could be “Western style” for longer, the David’s Tea Milk Oolong lasted me 3 strong flavorful steeps.

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Id say that your first steep is a bit too long. It depends on how long your first steep is and of course, how much liquid you are pulling from each steep.

I agree with Will…do a quick first rinse, and use MORE tea initially instead of relying on your steeping time to strengthen and characterize your tea.

Barbara said

I’ll make sure to try this aswell.

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