Twice the Tea: Brewing Tea Multiple Times
After you’ve brewed a pot or cup of tea, it can feel wasteful to simply dump your leaves and start again. The good news is that many teas can be steeped multiple times! While loose leaf tea is an affordable luxury, you can probably stretch your tea much further than you think. Whether you just want to make the most of your tea or are curious about how tea changes with each infusion, steeping your tea multiple times can be a great way to explore new flavors and characteristics of your favorite teas.
How to Brew Multiple Infusions
If you’re looking to brew a second cup or pot with the same leaves, there are a few things to take into consideration to make sure that you end up with a tasty and flavorful tea, rather than a weak or bitter cup.
When heating your water, you should heat it to the same temperature that you used for your first infusion. When timing how long to steep the leaves for, we recommend adding one to two minutes to the steep time for each successive infusion. Every tea responds differently to multiple infusions, and different people have different preferences for how strong they like their tea! Try experimenting with different steep times and multiple infusions to find what works best for you. There are often subtle differences in flavor with each successive infusion, and some teas can even be infused four or five times!
Cups, Pots, and More
If you’re looking to steep your tea more than once, you can usually use the same pot or cup you used for the first infusion. Teapots with built-in infusers are a great choice to brew loose leaf tea in, as are infusers and filters that you can set right in a cup.
If you’re looking to step up your tea game, you can also used pots and sets that are specially designed to be conducive to multiple infusions. These include yixing clay pots, small pots perfect for successive steepings of Chinese black, pu-erh, and oolong teas, and kyusu, Japanese pots designed for multiple infusions of Japanese green tea. Ultimately, whatever pot or cup you decide on is a matter of personal preference!
People have been preparing and enjoying multiple infusions of tea for hundreds (if not thousands!) of years. Chinese tea brewing methods like Gongfu Cha place a special emphasis on steeping tea multiple times, often with very short, seconds-long infusions in a small pot made of yixing clay. Each infusion reveals different nuances in the taste and character of the tea. Loose leaf green tea is also often prepared with multiple infusions in Japan.
Best Teas for Multiple Infusions
While you can infuse any tea multiple times, some teas hold up better after multiple steeps than others. In general, we recommend black, green, oolong, and pu-erh teas for multiple infusions. But if you’re curious about what a second steeping might taste like for another tea, feel free to experiment! Here at ArtfulTea, we’re of the firm belief that any cup of tea is a good cup as long as you enjoy drinking it.
Oolong teas are often specially designed to be infused multiple times, with the tightly-rolled leaves continuing to unfurl the longer you steep them for. Oolong teas can be infused many times without loosing flavor, and become mellower and more floral over time. We recommend the Milk Oolong and Jade Song Oolong for a classic, unflavored tea that you can infuse many times over. For a flavored cup, we enjoy the Ginseng Oolong for a beautiful oolong tea with a touch of sweetness and spice.
If you’re looking to infuse a green tea multiple times, we recommend Japanese green teas. Sencha can be infused two to three times before loosing its characteristic grassy flavor. For green tea with a traditional twist, try the Genmaicha, a Japanese green tea with toasted rice kernels and rich, nutty flavor.
Pu-erh teas are aged and fermented for several years, resulting in a deep, dark colored brew with a rich, intoxicating flavor. Pu-erh teas can be steeped many times without losing their flavor. For a classic, unflavored cup, we recommend the organic Leaf Pu-erh, which has been aged for three years. If you’re looking for a flavored cup, the Caramel Pu-erh is a deep, rich, and slightly sweet tea that holds up well over multiple infusions.
Many black teas can be infused a second time, resulting in a lighter, mellower cup. For second infusions, we recommend Indian black teas, which usually have enough heartiness to allow for a flavorful second steep. Irish Breakfast is a classic breakfast blend with a rich, malty flavor, while Assam is a robust Indian black tea that holds up well under a second infusion.
If you’re curious about infusing tea multiple times, it can be a quick and easy way to make the most out of loose leaf tea while also exploring the depth and nuance of tea flavors!