Tea isn’t just a delicious drink, it is also economical. Even the most expensive tea leaves seem a bit more reasonable when you realize those leaves can be used more than once. Dearies, don’t get rid of those leaves after one cup! You can get a few servings of tea with just one batch of leaves.
For whole leaf teas, you can get quite a few steeps out of those leaves. The color and flavor of the teas change after each steep. Many teas get lighter, but oolongs and pu-erhs will start to change drastically. New flavors will be introduced after a few cups. I love hearing Kat’s reaction as she goes for her 3rd or 4th steep of one of these teas. She is always amazed at how the flavors transform.
If you are using a bagged tea, whole-leaf bags are best to get more than one steep. Bags with small leaf bits will not do as well. When the leaves are cut into small pieces, the flavor is infused much quicker, so there is less to give in a second steep. But it never hurts to try and see what happens.
Black teas will lose the most flavor after a couple of steeps. But the larger the leaves, the more you’ll get out of them. Pu-erh teas are amazing for re-steeping. Some can get upwards of 20 steeps! Oolongs also hold up to many steeps and green teas can get a few as well. Basically the larger the leaf, the more life you’ll get out of them.
Kat and I always steep up a storm, and here are a few of our re-steeping tips:
-Be careful making that first serving of tea. You don’t want to over-steep the leaves! That will take away some of the power for the next infusion. To make sure you don’t over-steep your leaves, follow the suggested steep time and temperature for the tea, and use a timer.
-If you are using a teapot or cup, use a tea strainer for the leaves. That way you can take the leaves out once they are infused and stop that steeping process.
-You can also use a gaiwan, which is a traditional Chinese tea vessel. When brewing in a gaiwan you generally use more leaves, steep quickly, and empty the liquid out each time you infuse into a separate cup. If you’d like to learn more about using a gaiwan, you can check out this helpful guide.
-When you re-steep you may want to increase the brew time just a little bit with each steep. The leaves are losing their potency, and can use the extra infusion time.
It’s difficult to say exactly how many steeps you can get out of a particular tea. Taste is subjective, so just go with your palate. Don’t be afraid to try one more steep. If the brew still tastes good after a few infusions, go for one more!