Do you really like your second steep?
I know, it’s heresy, but I really never enjoy my second steep that much. Even when I brew things gong fu, that is a series of very short steeps, high tea:water ratio. I will steep a tea for many steeps anyway, but I never enjoy the later steeps as much as the first, even when my first steep is only 4 seconds! I have tried so many things, and I’ve never been able to figure it out.
I tend to enjoy my second, and 3rd steep much more than the first, i use short steep in the gaiwan so by time i get to steeps 2 and 3 the tea has really been given a change to wake up and come alive and start making really nice brews, But thats just me, I just toss the first steep as a “rinse” when making oolongs or puerh :)
I only do multiple steeps for oolong and green teas. I also use a smaller pot (~6 oz) with the same amount of tea (2.5 to 3 grams) as I use for black tea. I do about one minute per steep and find that I always get 3 good steeps and sometimes as many as 5. On the other hand, if you look at the total amount of tea compared to my black tea steeps (3 gms per 12 oz) I’m only getting about 50% more tea by re-steeping. Also, my TOTAL steep time is always less than 5 minutes. My experience thus suggests that re-steeping as a cost measure is over-rated.
Is the milky oolong the theodor one? if so I got the precise same one, and truth is if I brew it according to their instructions, european wise, then no the second brew is not as good as the first. The milky oolong I warm up the pot, put some tea in the covered warmed damp pot while I warm the water again, and then maybe 80C water for about 4 minutes. Second steep is maybe a little bit hotter water for about 4 minutes as well. First steep for me is perfect, second is OK. But not the same! But I like the first steep so very very much I am not changing a thing.
I agree. You hear people say you can steep multiple times, but the first steep is always the best.
I also like the first infusion best. Resteeping is more of an art than a science, you should do more infusions until you keep enjoying it, otherwise what’s the point.
With fine Pu’er Teas, it is best after the 3-5th steep. Most Chinese will not drink Shou Chaa(Cooked Pu’er) until the 5th steeping.
Some teas need time to bring out their character
Here’s my feelings regarding re-steeps, when brewing tea by the cup:
1. If the tea is ‘cut’, flavored, or in a tea bag, I never bother with a 2nd steeping. I usually give it 4 minutes.
2. If the tea is full leaf, I’ll steep 3 – 4 mins for the 1st time, 5 min for the 2nd steeping. I rarely go for a 3rd steeping, although there are a few exceptions (can you say “Laoshan Black”).
3. If I have to add a pinch of tea to give it enough flavor, I’d rather just brew a fresh cup.
4. If I’m using a Gaiwan, disregard all of the above! I’ll keep re-steeping until I get bored. Usually steeps 3 – 6 or so are the best ones, but I drink them all, sometimes even the rinse water.
I use quite a bit of tea and steep for a short time and steep again. I played with it and don’t like any bitterness at all; I’m re-steeping not to save money (altho that’s awesome), but to get the flavor I like. I drink black tea and love a strong tea flavor. I don’t use a timer for my workhorse tea – (the one I drink every morning and take to work in a thermos). I wanted to learn to make it without a timer. Impatience probably started me on the quick steeps but I began to love the lack of bitterness. I do time things when I try something new and will try re-steeping anything and everything and steeping for shorter than the recommended time.
I do 2nd and 3rd steeps all the time. Often, I find later steeps to be better than the 1st one. I think the problem is later steeps require more time and it seems to be different for every tea. It just takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what you like best. If you drink different teas every day of the week, it’s harder to figure out what works for you. I generally have less than 10 teas on hand, so I revisit them often and know what I like.