How to Re-Steep Tea

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Did you know that most loose leaf teas are meant to be re-steeped? The flavor of your tea changes with each steep, so when you use your leaves multiple times you’re actually getting a new experience in every cup. This also explains why high quality loose leaf teas are usually more expensive than single-use tea bags or sachets that may contain crushed tea leaves.

When you want to make your favorite tea last a little longer, give re-steeping a try! It’s a great way to get a better value out of your expensive loose leaf tea while savoring those hidden changing flavors.

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WHAT IS RE-STEEPING TEA?

What does it mean to re-steep tea? Re-steeping tea simply means that you reuse your tea leaves at least more than once, and it’s one of the best tricks for a tea lover to get the most out of their tea! While re-steeping tea won't work with every type of tea, you can re-steep most higher quality loose leaf or uncrushed teas with delicious results.

WHAT KIND OF TEA CAN I RE-STEEP?

You can successfully re-steep almost any type of tea made with whole or unbroken leaves. It’s always a good idea to re-steep your loose leaf teas for the best flavor and liquor, but if your tea bags or sachets contain whole tea leaves you can definitely steep them twice.

Pu-erh and oolong teas are a perfect choice for re-steeping because they have unique flavors with depth that change with each infusion, but most black, green, and white teas are also up to the challenge.

HOW MANY TIMES CAN I RE-STEEP MY TEA?

When steeped in a mug or tea infuser, most black, green, and white teas can be re-steeped 2-3 times. Pu-erh and oolong teas can even be re-steeped up to 10 times, depending on the type and quality of the leaves. However, most herbal and flavored teas tend to lose potency after the first infusion so they are best enjoyed the first time around.

You can re-steep your tea leaves at least twice in a standard size teapot. If you want to steep your leaves 2-4 times in a teapot, try adding ½-1 tsp of extra tea with each infusion and steeping the leaves for 1-2 minutes longer.

Also, when using some Eastern steeping methods such as gongfu cha, you can steep up to 10 cups of tea within 30 minutes! The method here is using limited quantities of water and steeping high quality tea in a small brewing vessel called a gaiwan.

HOW TO RE-STEEP TEA

I used to never feel like I could re-steep my tea leaves but by following these few simple steps I now get to enjoy the most flavor and value out of my favorite teas!

HOW TO RE-STEEP TEA

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

  • Water kettle or pot to heat water
  • Whole leaf loose tea or sachets
  • Brewing vessel

STEP ONE: STEEP THE FIRST CUP

Use our Loose Leaf Tea guide to make your first cup. No matter which type of tea you are steeping, it will let you know the perfect length of time and water temperature you can use.

Pro Tip: Remember, properly re-steeping your tea begins with making your first cup of tea right the first time - try not to oversteep or all of the delicious flavor will be released into your first cup.

STEP TWO: REMOVE TEA LEAVES

After your first infusion, remove the tea leaves from your mug or teapot right away. You can keep them to the side until you’re ready to re-steep, but make sure to reuse your wet leaves within 1-3 hours or the delicate flavor in your leaves will start to break down.

Pro Tip: Don’t refrigerate the steeped tea leaves as this will compromise the flavor. Instead, rest your infuser or tea filter on a small saucer or tea dish.

STEP THREE: RE-STEEP TEA

When you’re ready to enjoy a second cup, start by heating fresh water at a slightly increased temperature than the first time. Next, re-steep the tea leaves by adding 1-2 minutes to the original steeping time to retain a full-bodied flavor from your tea. Don’t worry, the tannins in your tea are released the first time around so it shouldn’t result in a bitter cup.

Pro Tip: You can add some fresh tea leaves when you re-steep to get a stronger infusion.

STEP FOUR: ENJOY AND REPEAT

Everyone likes their tea differently! Follow your taste buds and re-steep your tea as long as it still tastes good to you.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to throw your tea leaves away when you’re done with them. You can mix your used tea leaves in a compost, use them to clean, make DIY sachets and add them to a relaxing bath tea, or save the leaves for iced tea.

HOW TO MAKE RE-STEEPED ICED TEA: To cool down with some refreshing iced tea, you can also choose to re-steep your tea leaves in cold water and leave in a sealed pitcher in the fridge for one day. After it’s finished steeping, strain the tea over ice and enjoy. Optional: Add fresh lemon slices, mint leaves, or fruit such as orange, raspberries, or blackberries for fun flavor combinations.

BEST TEAS FOR RE-STEEPING

Typically, the longer tea leaves are oxidized - the step in tea processing that exposes the leaves to air so they dry and darken - the stronger the final flavor will be and the best it is for re-steeping. Every type of tea (excluding pu-erh which is fermented) undergoes some level of oxidation. Black tea is the most oxidized tea while oolong tea is a semi-oxidized tea. Green tea is heated to stop most of the oxidation but high quality green teas can still be re-steeped. White tea is a minimally processed tea but its smooth and floral flavor can still be nicely re-steeped twice.

Try more loose leaf teas for re-steeping with your own Sips by Box.


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