How to re-steep loose leaf tea
If you’re used to drinking tea with tea bags, then you’re probably in the habit of throwing the bag away after you’ve finished the brew. When it comes to loose leaf tea though, it can be steeped and re-used multiple times. This doesn’t negatively impact or weaken the flavour in any way. In fact, the aromas and tastes will change with every steep, offering an entirely new drinking experience in every brew. However, it’s important to know how to properly re-steep loose leaf tea to ensure you preserve and enhance the amazing flavours of the tea.
Why should you re-steep your tea?
The practise of re-steeping tea originated in the basic principle of Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies. Since then, the idea of re-steeping loose leaf tea has spread around the world and no longer just applies to eastern tea steeping techniques. As mentioned above, one of the main reasons people re-steep their tea is to maximise the flavour of the leaves as much as possible. Depending on the type of tea you have, one steep could only be scratching the surface on the depth of flavours you can get from it.
In addition, re-steeping your tea can ensure you are getting the most value out of it too. Buying loose leaf tea will likely cost you a bit more in comparison to cheap tea bags from the supermarket. However, the ability to re-use the tea leaves across more than one steep means you are getting better value out of the tea and will save you money in the long term. Equally, this also means you will waste less as well because you won’t be discarding the leaves after only one use and sacrificing the flavours that are still leftover in the tea.
Do’s and don’ts of re-steeping tea
When it comes to how to re-steep tea there are some key tips you should be aware of to create the perfect cup of tea every time.
- Use a smaller tea pot/steeping vessel – when re-steeping your tea, you typically shouldn’t use a tea pot that is larger than 150ml. This is because when you use a small number of leaves in a big mug of water, the flavour can become diluted. Whereas when you use a smaller vessel, the same serving of leaves will allow for a better infusion that creates a deeper flavour and stronger aromas.
- Steep the tea for less time –re-steeping the tea for less time will ensure you get better control over the flavour. You will be able to extract the flavours and notes you want without bringing through any of the bitterness held within the leaves. The exact length of time you should allow the leaves to steep will depend on the type of tea you’re using. Loose leaf earl grey tea might require different steeping time to green tea for example. However, it is usually recommended that you allow the tea to infuse for between 30 seconds and 3 minutes for the best results.
- Add more leaves for a stronger flavour – if you’re looking for a stronger flavour from your next steep then adding a few extra leaves will help you achieve that. Make sure to reduce the steeping time if you’re adding more leaves.
- Use freshly drawn water –the type of water you use will make a big difference if you want to pull out the hidden notes in your tea leaves.
- Try each infusion –each time you re-steep the tea you will get a less concentrated flavour. It’s a good opportunity to try the flavours each time to make sure you have maximised the essence of the tea. If you can’t manage all the tea you have made after each steeping, you can pour the rest of the brewed tea into a larger teapot and store it in the fridge to be used as an iced tea.
- Leave wet tea leaves for more than a few hours – you can leave the tea in the pot for a short time after steeping. However, you should always avoid leaving them wet for longer than a few hours. This is because when damp leaves are left for too long, bacteria can begin to form on them.
- Re-steep tea bags – tea bags contain powder which can mean they aren’t as rich in flavour. Unless they contain unbroken leaves, they should only be used once.
- Underestimate the water temperature – preparing the first infusion is extremely important, if you use water that is too hot the first time, the leaves can break down and create bitterness. Again, the exact temperatures will depend on the type of tea you’re using. For example, green tea and white tea are best brewed at a lower temperature compared to oolong and black tea.
- Throw away the leaves after final use – the leaves can still be used in many different ways after you have extracted all the flavour. For instance, they are ideal for composting.
Hopefully this guide will help you maximise the flavours in your tea and avoid unnecessary waste. If you’re looking for high quality tea leaves at an affordable price Pumphrey’s can help. We provide a wide range of loose leaf tea in Newcastle, perfect for tea lovers that want to create flavourful and rich daily brews. Explore our tea products today and don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team if you have any questions.