Talk to me about re-steeping


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Talk to me about re-steeping

Fev 28, 2021, 10:06 am

I like my tea strong and black without sweetener, so I've never really re-steeped. But, of course, this starts to get expensive, so I'm experimenting with re-steeping with mixed results. Those of you who re-steep, how do you do it?

- Do you add a bit more tea and steep a shorter time for the first cup?
-Or do you just steep for a shorter time?
-Do you just do it with black tea? Or does it work with Oolong?
- Do you just re-steep the same day's leaves? Or do you keep steeped leaves overnight?
-Do you re-steep more than once?

Help me out here! Thanks.

Fev 28, 2021, 10:16 am

I re-steep only with Oolong and Pu Erh, not black and green teas. I don't add fresh tea, and I steep for as long as the first time (1-2 minutes with Oolong, 5 minutes and longer with Pu Erh). Never did overnight, though!

I've resteeped both for up to 3-4 times. Oolong becomes weaker and sweeter more noticeably than Pu Erh, but there are many variations depending on the sort/batch used.

Fev 28, 2021, 10:35 am

Do you brew by the cup or by the pot? That’ll surely make a difference in your calculations. I use one teabag for a pot of tea and it stays in the pot till all is drunk. So, no question it is exhausted, but I’ve had four mugs from it. If I’m somewhere without a microwave, I use a thermos jug for brewing.

Fev 28, 2021, 10:56 am

>3 2wonderY:. I brew by the cup. Usually, loose leaf.

>2 LolaWalser:. Hmmm, perhaps I will have better luck with Oolong.

Thanks to you both.

Fev 28, 2021, 11:02 am

I re-steep all teas except black. IMO, it's only interesting for good quality teas, with proper leaves: you do get different flavours coming through with expensive green, Pu Erh and white teas. Flavoured teas tend to be disappointing, except for jasmine pearls and the like. With Lapsang souchong, it depends. If it's very smokey, I actually prefer the second steep. Typically the first goes to Mr D, who likes builder's tea and tea that tastes like the inside of a chimney... I heard that on jasmine pearls, the seventh is the best cup. I tried it once, but wasn't convinced. My palate is probably not sophisticated enough...

Fev 28, 2021, 12:10 pm

I steep every loose leaf tea at least 3-4 times if I’m brewing it gongfu style (as much as 12 for some), but if it’s western then only once. The main determinant for how successful later infusions are is the quality and quantity of leaves. Great leaves in abundance means great later infusions, while small amounts of average leaves gives weak later infusions.

If you’re brewing western and want to get a decent extra steep or two, I’d try: increase the leaves by maybe 20-30% of what you’d usually use, and decrease your first steep time by a similar amount. Then steep the second for longer, the 3rd longer than that, etc.

All types can be resteeped (other than flavored), but some more than others. The order from most to fewest is usually: Puerh, oolong, aged white, black, white, green.

As for keeping the leaves, I generally resteep as soon as I finish the current cup, but it is indeed possible to keep them longer. For best results, spread the leaves over a flat plate and allow them to sit where they’ll dry, preferably alway from sources of fragrance (candles, fruit, kitchens, etc.). You can then resteep them as usual, or, when fully dry, put them into a bag to use at your leisure.

Fev 28, 2021, 1:15 pm

>6 rjbd:, excellent information. Now I need to google gongfu style. Thank you.

Mar 1, 2021, 4:26 pm

Certainly! It’s not too different, mainly just the leaves:water ratio and the steep times, but can make great tea really shine. Happy drinking!

Mar 2, 2021, 3:49 am

I'm lazy and not that schooled in tea types and steeping arrangements, so I generally steep everything twice and see how it comes out. Personally though, I've found the pot method works best for cutting back on the tea bags I use in a day. I have a personal sized teapot that holds 2 to 2.5 cups which about what most of my teas are good for, before they either have no flavour or I'm sick of them.

Mar 2, 2021, 4:16 am

I'll re-infuse most of my teas except those I drink with milk (eg Assam Kenya Ceylon BOP grades).

Some green teas benefit from re-infusing, indeed the traditional practise with some of the bitter grades is to ditch the first infusion without drinking it. It depends on the leaves used.

I just add more boiling water to the pot. (probably for oolongs etc I should add 85C water but I'm not that fussy). Mostly it's just slightly faded in flavour but some do improve.

Mar 2, 2021, 4:44 am

Oolongs are steeped at a lower temperature?

Mar 2, 2021, 12:56 pm

>11 WeeTurtle: Yes, normally. I use an electric kettle, so I just add some cold water after it's boiling. So, no rocket science involved :-)

Mar 4, 2021, 7:03 am

>11 WeeTurtle: yes. Green and white teas too. Even some more delicate blacks can be. Esp for green tea if the water's too hot, it brings out some of the more bitter flavours. You can get fancy kettles that heat to specific temperatures, but I just let it finish boiling and stand for a bit.

Mar 4, 2021, 7:10 am

>13 reading_fox:

Interesting. Very different from what we were brought up on for normal black teas, that the water has to be at a "rolling boil".

Mar 4, 2021, 9:26 am

>14 John5918:
Funny enough, it can even depend on the particular kind of tea, even of the same type (blacks, oolongs, etc.). I’ve done side-by-side comparisons, and have found that a 10 degree (F) change can make a huge difference for leaves that only differ in size.

For example, a small leaf black I had steeped at 212 degrees (F) causes it to be overly bitter and terrible, while 195 degrees (F) makes it delicious. Meanwhile, a larger leaf black I have tastes flat and characterless if the water falls below 205 degrees (F). I don’t think I’ve had a black tea that did well at full boil.

Also, to complicate matters further: a great many oolongs actually infuse much better with full-on boiling water. Most oolongs are grown from large leaf (assamica) leaf varietals that have been allowed to grow to huge size, which causes their leaves to reduce their water permeability. Hence, it becomes harder to get a strong enough infusion without a long infusion time (which can pull out a lot of unpleasant bitterness and astringency). Many of the most famous kinds (tie guan yin, dahongpao, etc.) frequently do best with those temperatures.

Mar 6, 2021, 1:44 pm

>14 John5918: and >15 rjbd: I think the best rule is to experiment a bit and then go with what tastes best to you :-)

My current Darjeeling is good for a single re-steeping. Anything after that is just watery. Some of the Oolongs are good for several re-steepings. Stuff like "small leaf black" ... "overly bitter and terrible" mentioned in >15 rjbd: might also be caused by an overdose of tea, since a spoon of small leaf weighs a lot more than a spoon of large leaf.

Mar 7, 2021, 6:40 pm

>16 bnielsen:

Great point! I neglected to mention that I measure everything by weight, for just the reason you mention. Some of mine can vary by more than a factor of 3 in terms of density! The old “spoon of tea” mantra gets tough to use once your selection is wide enough.

Mar 8, 2021, 2:31 am

>17 rjbd: yes! I have some Bai Mu Dan white tea where 35 g fill out one of my Twinings 100 g tins completely. So I've often brewed a quite watery tea out of that :-) Compared to a Ceylon Dust the density is probably less by a factor of 6.

Editado: Fev 7, 2:20 pm

>1 vwinsloe: Hi, I re-steep any tea that still tastes good the 2nd time around. That includes organic teas like Trad Med's green tea with matcha, Eden's Sencha green tea, Good Earth's black tea w/ flavoring (not organic but I'm crazy about it), Trad Med's green tea w/ dandelion, and even straight dandelion (tastes better than it sounds). Also there's a black tea from the UK that is endorsed by the King (Prince of Wales when I first bought it) that tastes great, also not organic. Distribution of the Good Earth tea is discussed at:

I stopped drinking coffeeshop tea after reading about severe problems w/ microplastic ingestion when consuming any tea housed in those miracle plastic fibers:

Fev 7, 8:57 pm

A friend of mine steeps and re-steeps back to back, then combines them to get a happy medium.

Fev 8, 8:43 am

>19 MaureenRoy:. Thanks for that. I stopped drinking any tea in those (plastic) pyramid style bags a while ago for environmental reasons. I didn't think about the fact that I was probably ingesting plastic as well. I've been sticking mostly to loose leaf for a while now.

I will check out that Good Earth tea.

Fev 22, 2:06 pm

>21 vwinsloe: On the Good Earth tea, they just introduced a no-caffeine version and one other type ... I haven't tried those, but their basic variety is what I recommend --- with caffeine, and it's called "sweet and spicy." I don't know what their newer varieties taste like. I tried to buy more at my local natural foods store today (SoCal, USA) but they were out; it's also sold at Wal-Mart and Amazon (possibly at Whole Foods markets as well).

I also found the full name of the other black tea that I like: It's made by Taylors of Harrogate in the UK, and that variety is Yorkshire Gold ... good stuff. Their website:

Fev 23, 7:59 am

>22 MaureenRoy: I've wishlisted the Good Earth on Amazon to remind me to look for it. Thanks.

Editado: Maio 29, 11:38 pm

Resteeping is not a sport I usually indulge in, as I find with most teas it results in a rather weak and watery cuppa. However I have been resteeping Morrison's Everyday Loose Tea, and I must say it still produces a decent cup of builder's tea, if not quite as potent as the first cup.

Maio 29, 5:08 pm

Yorkshire Tea holds up decently for a second steep, particularly their Toast and Jam Brew.