boomerfss said

Re-using Tea leaves.

Hi. I have a few questions about re-using tea leaves.

1. How do you store them between cups?

2. Are certain teas better for re-using than others (I primarily drink black loose leaf teas)?

3. Do you get the same health benefits from subsequent cups, or is it a case of diminishing returns?


19 Replies

1. It depends upon how I brewed the tea in the first place. If I used my smart tea brewing device, I just keep the leaves in the chamber and resteep (I generally do not move on to another tea until I’m finished with the leaves because otherwise I’d become overrun with storage containers of steeped leaves). If I use a teapot and strain the leaves, then, I dump the leaves back into the teapot and steep again… if I use my KATI then I just put the infuser basket (which still has the leaves in it) back into the KATI cup and steep again.

2. I find that good quality black leaves are good for resteeping. The best for resteeping in my opinion are Oolongs. Greens, yellows and pu-erhs are also great for resteeping. I do not generally resteep rooibos, honeybush or herbals.

3. As far as health benefits, I cannot answer that question, because I don’t really know nor do I really care to know because I do not drink tea for the health benefits. I drink it because it’s my beverage of choice, I love the way it tastes. The health benefits are merely a bonus.

Hope this has been helpful.

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Muiriddin said

1. Like liberTEAS said, I typically store them in my “brewing device” of choice whatever that may be. I also typically keep re-steeping until the leaves are “done” and then moving on to another tea.

2. In addition to what LiberTEAS suggested, I do find that white teas are great for resteeping. A good silver needle tea can be steeped at least twice. Sometimes three times. I have found some Oolongs can steep 3-4 times. Rooibos I can typically get one more steep from but I typically use more “leaf” for my rooibos teas than is suggested on most of the labels.

3. No idea as to what the effect of resteeping does to any health benefits from tea…

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boomerfss said


Number 3 was just a bonus question. I was curious if there was any info out there. I have moved from coffee to tea and loving it for the drink itself. The health aspects are just a bonus.

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MaddHatter said

Boomerfss, thanks for this post, it was helpful to me.

I want to add, that when I am completely done resteeping teas I lay them out on a clean dishtowel to dry (or just a cookie sheet) and then dump them into my vacumm resovoir as it helps to keep smells down, I also sprinkle them on to my carpets and let them sit for a bit before vacumming them up, my favourite for this is DAVIDsTEA Chocolate Mint Rooibos, make my house smell like a actually can bake! lol and I can’t wait for Baked Apple to come back, because this house rarely smells like Christmas until the Hubby cooks the turkey…

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Erin here is some more info. So my opinions aren’t always mainstream so perhaps here is another spin on your questions.

1. I never reuse leaves that have been sitting since my last cup for more than 2 maybe three hours so I just leave them in my infuser basket yixing pot, or gaiwan. If you are thinking about long term storage (even overnight) the problem is that it severally adversely effects the taste. In my opinion this should never be done, but there are other schools of thought and I respect that. Think though teas main enemies are light, air and moisture, once you’ve steeped them and try to store them they are now exposed to all three, even if you keep them in a dark pot they have two enemies.

2. As stated oolongs re-steep very well, good quality greens and whites do as well and puerhs. Popular steeping methods do not lend themselves to re-steeping black teas and still having a nice flavorful cup, eg, 3grams tea to 7-10 oz water for 4 minutes. However more traditional steeping methods in which you use considerably more tea and steep for only a few seconds gives you a vibrant cup which can be re-steeped many times.

3. As LiberTEAS stated I drink tea because for many reasons, health benefits are not among them just an added bonus. However, especially if you use current popular steeping methods, than yes the benefits will be greatly reduced each subsequent cup as with each steeping you are draining the leaves and nutrients out of the leaves and nutrients seem to drain quite quickly. An example is caffeine, studies have stated that if you brew the tea for 30 to 60 seconds most of the caffeine is drained out, I believe between 70 and 80 percent.

Cofftea said

Per your point number 1- it must be different for each person which wouldn’t surprise me since everyone has different preferences in tea and tastes things differently. I have never noticed any decrease in flavor that was linked to time or storage between steepings. So your statement that it does is opinion and not fact- or at least not fact for everyone.

Per #2. I would agree with the fact that blacks resteep less effectively. I always use 3g/8oz water.

Per #3. There are lots of conflicting statements about caffeine and antioxidants relating to resteeping. Because of this, I am skeptical of almost every “study” that has been done because the next one always contradicts it.

Not to start a fight or anything :) but your response to number 1 is also opinion as it could be a scientific fact that there is a decrease in taste but not everyone is discerning enough to notice. However with the absence of such information I would agree that we are forced to leave it up to each persons opinion.

And for #3 I will definitely agree with you that scientific studies leave much to be desired and seem to be constantly conflicting, as for the numbers I stated, I wouldn’t put much stock in them. The principle though that every time you steep the leaves they are drained of their taste and nutrients I think is universally agreed upon.

To make sure I’m not misunderstood, I am not exactly arguing with you more of stating another school of reasoning :-).

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Will said

I re-brew a lot of times within the same several hour period. Occasionally, I’ll leave something overnight, in which case I leave it in the brewing vessel and just pick up where I left off.

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We usually drink iced Sencha in the afternoons. We steep the tea 3 times = once at 30 seconds, once at 10, and once more at 30. Also, do it all at once and just pour the results into our 2 quart pitcher. That way, everything mixes together, the nutrients, the flavor, and the caffein are distributed equally throughout the mixture.

As far as hot tea goes, I think all the advice above pretty well covers it.

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Kitty said

Thanks for asking the questions! I just brewed my Golden Bi Lo and was wondering about resteeping it as I have never done that before. I also wondered about the long term storage and whether it would impact the flavor.

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teatiemz said

I usually only resteep non-black teas (to me, black teas always taste a little off if you wait too long to resteep)- I store them in a mesh strainer spread out and elevated so that they can air out, throw them away after 24 hours. I’m with LiberTeas in believing that oolongs are the best for resteeping, but greens and whites are good too! Ultimately it’s all about personal choice though- whatever works for you!

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From my perspective, traditionally re-steeping is a faux pas because the taste is never the same the 2nd time around. With that said, if you steep it twice as long the 2nd time around it’ll taste OK, but with a definite loss of health benefit. One major exception is with rooibos. Thanks for the topic, I’d hate for you to lose any tea flava!

Will said

I think it depends, both on the type (and quality) of the tea, how much leaf you’re using, and what “tradition” you’re talking about when you say “traditionally”.

Angrboda said

Actually the fact that the flavour changes is the interesting thing about a resteep. It reveals more about the tea’s character. Especially in a green. If you use a good enough quality, you can easily get two or three good steeps out of it.

As for the health benefits… I think the vast majority of people around here chooses tea because of the nice flavour, not because of minimal health benefits.

I definitely wouldn’t say re-steeping is a faux pas, but I will agree with you in regards to black teas. I’ve found that most black teas won’t hold up to a second infusion without significant flavor loss, at least according to my tastes, many others will argue that.

However as angrboda said, some whites and greens, will yield very nice second and third cups. In fact many oolongs and pu erh’s need multiple infusions to release and yield a wide array of flavors, instead of each cup being weaker than the former, each cup simply has a new unique flavor profile, to a point of course.

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