Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Resteeping tea -- multiple infusions


Recommended Posts

I've recently discovered that some of the higher quality teas I've been buying really can be reused for several cups of tea. This is working beautifully with oolongs, chinese green teas, and pu-erhs.

Some questions that have come up, and my apologies in advance if this is discussed elsewhere, but I can't figure out how to search for this topic without getting huge numbers of irrelevant hits:

Why does the resteeping not draw as much bitterness out of the leaves as does a longer primary steeping?

How long do the leaves need to rest, if at all, between steepings?

And a related but more general question: when served tea in a gaiwan, the handleless cup with shallow saucer and lid, how do you prevent oversteeping and bitterness and at the same time avoid a burnt tongue from drinking the tea too quickly?

Link to post
Share on other sites
I've recently discovered that some of the higher quality teas I've been buying really can be reused for several cups of tea.  This is working beautifully with oolongs, chinese green teas, and pu-erhs.

Some questions that have come up, and my apologies in advance if this is discussed elsewhere, but I can't figure out how to search for this topic without getting huge numbers of irrelevant hits:

Why does the resteeping not draw as much bitterness out of the leaves as does a longer primary steeping?

How long do the leaves need to rest, if at all, between steepings?

And a related but more general question:  when served tea in a gaiwan, the handleless cup with shallow saucer and lid, how do you prevent oversteeping and bitterness and at the same time avoid a burnt tongue from drinking the tea too quickly?

I love how high-quality leaves can resteep!

Bitterness in teas is from the tannins in the leaves. There's only a limited amount of tannins, so once they've been released in the first steep or a long steep, that's it.

The leaves do not need to rest between steepings. Although they shouldn't be let to dry out before resteeping.

Traditional gaiwan (and yixing teapot) sets come with a little decanter/pitcher thing(sorry I don't know what they're called!) plus the cups. You'd steep the tea for the proper number of minutes, then pour it into the decanter, then serve it in the cups.

Otherwise, you could also try using water that is slightly cooler (below boiling), around 70 C. Tannins take longer to leach out in cooler water, so the resulting tea will taste less bitter. Short of digging out the leaves, there's not a whole lot you can do for oversteeped tea in the gaiwan, other than diluting with more water.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a teapot for a gift two years ago that solved the bitterness or oversteeping problem. It is ceramic (nice Japanese look too, but on the heavy side like Heath ware) with a wire mesh strainer/basket that sits in the rim below the lid. The basket extends down about half-way or a little more into the pot, so when about half the tea has been drunk the water is no longer in contact with the leaves; it stays hot without getting stronger. This allows for a good second steeping, as well and it is easy to dump the leaves. Doubtless this is not an uncommon teapot design, but it seems like a smart one. I'm so protective of this teapot I won't let anyone else in the house wash it. My husband is an enthusiastic dish washer--sometimes too enthusiastic!

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my store's tea room we tell folks to resteep based on what our supplier (Ming at Vital Tea Leaf in San Fran) suggests. We have no problems with this except some of the sweeter (naturally sweet) teas that lose most of their sweetness after the first steeping. The best example that is coming to mind is a jasmine pearl. It is so sweet on the first steep, but the second has very little sweetness, which is why most people buy it. This also plays into the teas that they need to rinse or decaf first, where much of that initial taste is washed away or reduced.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I did some deep digging and only found one post talking about it. THIS topic might be helpful, and reply #20 talks specifically about resteeping. I think the challenge with this search is that others may call it a "second steep" or a "subsequent steep," etc., so there are 41 pages of replies that contain "steep" but I'll let you dig through those in your free-time. Thanks for making a topic! :biggrin:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a small tin of Hangzhou Pre-Chingming LONG GIN

brought to me from Hong Kong, it cost £15 and is a lovely green tea with very large leaves (when steeped).

The instructions that came with it was the first steeping for 2 mins

second steeping for 4 mins and third steeping for 5 mins.

There may have been a fourth steeping.

Anyway, using a Korean glass tea cup with a slotted inner i follow the instructions and each brew is very good.

I use it teaspoon by teaspoon , once a month. :biggrin:

edited to up the price.

Edited by naguere (log)

Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
I've recently discovered that some of the higher quality teas I've been buying really can be reused for several cups of tea.  This is working beautifully with oolongs, chinese green teas, and pu-erhs.

Some questions that have come up, and my apologies in advance if this is discussed elsewhere, but I can't figure out how to search for this topic without getting huge numbers of irrelevant hits:

Why does the resteeping not draw as much bitterness out of the leaves as does a longer primary steeping?

How long do the leaves need to rest, if at all, between steepings?

And a related but more general question:  when served tea in a gaiwan, the handleless cup with shallow saucer and lid, how do you prevent oversteeping and bitterness and at the same time avoid a burnt tongue from drinking the tea too quickly?

I love how high-quality leaves can resteep!

Bitterness in teas is from the tannins in the leaves. There's only a limited amount of tannins, so once they've been released in the first steep or a long steep, that's it.

The leaves do not need to rest between steepings. Although they shouldn't be let to dry out before resteeping.

Traditional gaiwan (and yixing teapot) sets come with a little decanter/pitcher thing(sorry I don't know what they're called!) plus the cups. You'd steep the tea for the proper number of minutes, then pour it into the decanter, then serve it in the cups.

Otherwise, you could also try using water that is slightly cooler (below boiling), around 70 C. Tannins take longer to leach out in cooler water, so the resulting tea will taste less bitter. Short of digging out the leaves, there's not a whole lot you can do for oversteeped tea in the gaiwan, other than diluting with more water.

Hello- The decanter is called a chahai in Chinese. The literal translation is"tea sea", but "faircup" or "serving vessel" would be a better translation. You can buy them alone at this site.

Edited by Naftal (log)

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I get it now--following that link and googling a bit for chahai--the gaiwan is either used for brewing the tea for just a few seconds, then drunk quickly (hard to see how I would accomplish that without burning my tongue), then repeated, or for tea steeped in the other container then poured into it.

So if someone serves loose leaf tea in a gaiwan, you're to add the hot water, and toss it off quick before it gets bitter?

Link to post
Share on other sites
in making oolong tea-it is common to rinse leaves for a few seconds with water(agony of the leaves)-

Agony of the leaves sounds so evil!

And unfortunately for my budget, I've discovered several places that have lovely teas online and in person. Very dangerous. But much to my unexpected pleasure, I found that a tin of Ti Kuan Yin I bought fairly inexpensively some months ago held up very well next to the more expensive stuff I found online. But I've never rinsed it; I would need an extra container just to hold the rinse water when I make tea at work.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I got a teapot for a gift two years ago that solved the bitterness or oversteeping problem. It is ceramic (nice Japanese look too, but on the heavy side like Heath ware) with a wire mesh strainer/basket that sits in the rim below the lid. The basket extends down about half-way or a little more into the pot, so when about half the tea has been drunk the water is no longer in contact with the leaves; it stays hot without getting stronger. This allows for a  good second steeping, as well and it is easy to dump the leaves. Doubtless this is not an uncommon teapot design, but it seems like a smart one. I'm so protective of this teapot I won't let anyone else in the house wash it. My husband is an enthusiastic dish washer--sometimes too enthusiastic!

I have the same teapot, Katie, the latest in a lifetime of teapots. I l cherish it. I saw it at the Japanese-American History Museum gift shop in LA, with my tea-loving- son-in-law. We continued browsing (windup sushi!) and checked out separately. Back home we handed each other a package: he'd bought me one, and I'd bought him one. It was a sweet moment.

Resteeping: My English grandmother always had a pot of hot water handy to refill the teapot as levels sank. It was taken as a matter of course that the leaves would be steeped again. She was an oolong lover.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
I got a teapot for a gift two years ago that solved the bitterness or oversteeping problem. It is ceramic (nice Japanese look too, but on the heavy side like Heath ware) with a wire mesh strainer/basket that sits in the rim below the lid. The basket extends down about half-way or a little more into the pot, so when about half the tea has been drunk the water is no longer in contact with the leaves; it stays hot without getting stronger.

You can buy the little basket-like things for steeping tea separately. They're available at any Y100 store, in different sizes, so I imagine if you're lucky enough to live in an area with a Daiso (Vancouver, Hawaii, Dubai, etc.) or Japanese grocery store (like Uwajimaya), you should be able to pick one up for a few dollars.

I have one for my mug, but I take it out after it finishes brewing, then put it back in when I want a second steeping. My mug also has a lid to help keep the contents warm (but it doesn't really work).

Edited by prasantrin (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

My six-cup McCormick Aladdin-style pot has a neat white ceramic "basket" with holes which drops down neatly to nestle beneath the lid, looking like a little clerical collar when the lid's on.

I've never thought of leaving it IN---I just remove it to a saucer as soon as steeping time is done. But the tea level would, indeed, fall low enough after a cup or two is poured. Neat.

This is a Forties model, and the ones with the inserts still intact are hard to find.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been frustrated by a couple of teapots with inserts that are too high from the bottom of the pot, so that they do not efficiently brew a single cup of tea--if it's too high, the tea isn't covered unless the pot is nearly full.

I'm loving one I found in a chinatown shop that is actually from japan, very simple clear glass with a mesh basket insert. I like the glass to see the color variations in the brewed tea.

I can see that the teaware collecting can be as addicting as the teas themselves, however, and have to firmly remind myself that there is only so much room in the cupboards whenever I see another cute ceramic/cast iron/glass pot.....and I have a nice teapot for home and for work already.

As soon as the tea is brewed, I pour it off into a thermos, and resteep immediately, until the thermos is full. Then I can carry the thermos with me to the nearby offices of several other tea-loving colleagues, and to the clinic workroom where I can share more. One quart of tea can yield half a dozen happy campers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I got a teapot for a gift two years ago that solved the bitterness or oversteeping problem. It is ceramic (nice Japanese look too, but on the heavy side like Heath ware) with a wire mesh strainer/basket that sits in the rim below the lid. The basket extends down about half-way or a little more into the pot, so when about half the tea has been drunk the water is no longer in contact with the leaves; it stays hot without getting stronger.

You can buy the little basket-like things for steeping tea separately. They're available at any Y100 store, in different sizes, so I imagine if you're lucky enough to live in an area with a Daiso (Vancouver, Hawaii, Dubai, etc.) or Japanese grocery store (like Uwajimaya), you should be able to pick one up for a few dollars.

I have one for my mug, but I take it out after it finishes brewing, then put it back in when I want a second steeping. My mug also has a lid to help keep the contents warm (but it doesn't really work).

I have a similar basket that I got from The Cultured Cup. It has a plastic frame with a gold-plated wire basket and a plastic lid. It not only works well in a mug, but also in a small (3-4 cup) white French porcelein teapot. The lid also serves, upside down, as a saucer for the basket. (Edited to note that they have two sizes of these filters, one for a cup and one for a pot: clickety click.)

I routinely get two to three steepings out of oolongs and green teas.

Edited by Richard Kilgore (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
I've recently discovered that some of the higher quality teas I've been buying really can be reused for several cups of tea.  This is working beautifully with oolongs, chinese green teas, and pu-erhs.

Some questions that have come up, and my apologies in advance if this is discussed elsewhere, but I can't figure out how to search for this topic without getting huge numbers of irrelevant hits:

Why does the resteeping not draw as much bitterness out of the leaves as does a longer primary steeping?

How long do the leaves need to rest, if at all, between steepings?

And a related but more general question:  when served tea in a gaiwan, the handleless cup with shallow saucer and lid, how do you prevent oversteeping and bitterness and at the same time avoid a burnt tongue from drinking the tea too quickly?

Hello- Tea :wub: is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. So,I was wondering if you have anything new to report. Have you been resteeping :huh: ? How is it turning out? Are you familiar with Gong Fu Cha?

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 9 months later...

Hello-I know no one asked, but...One reason Tea can be resteeped is because most tea leaves are rolled.With each steeping, they unroll a little more.I know there are other reasons too, like the fact that all the oils and other goodies just don't come out after one steeping, but I thought this was interesting.

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hello-I know no one asked, but...One reason Tea can be resteeped is  because most tea leaves are rolled.With each steeping, they unroll a little more.I know there are other reasons too, like the fact that all the oils and other goodies just  don't come out after one steeping, but I thought this was interesting.

interesting point. Some of my most-re-steepable teas are the most highly compressed, but some of the straight white teas which are nearly flat before steeping also do well. It makes sense to me that many teas don't give everything on the first steeping.

What I am very curious about, however, is whether there is a significant difference between tea steeped multiple times and tea steeped once for longer but with a larger volume of water--e.g.,

one teaspoon of tea steeped 4 times with 6 oz of water for 1 minute each

vs

one teaspoon of tea steeped 4 minutes with 24 oz of water

Do the multiple infusions have some additional agitating effect that helps to get more good flavor out of the leaves, or is the tradition of multiple infusions simply a practical way to make use of smaller vessels for brewing?

Edited by Wholemeal Crank (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites
Hello-I know no one asked, but...One reason Tea can be resteeped is  because most tea leaves are rolled.With each steeping, they unroll a little more.I know there are other reasons too, like the fact that all the oils and other goodies just  don't come out after one steeping, but I thought this was interesting.

interesting point. Some of my most-re-steepable teas are the most highly compressed, but some of the straight white teas which are nearly flat before steeping also do well. It makes sense to me that many teas don't give everything on the first steeping.

What I am very curious about, however, is whether there is a significant difference between tea steeped multiple times and tea steeped once for longer but with a larger volume of water--e.g.,

one teaspoon of tea steeped 4 times with 6 oz of water for 1 minute each

vs

one teaspoon of tea steeped 4 minutes with 24 oz of water

Do the multiple infusions have some additional agitating effect that helps to get more good flavor out of the leaves, or is the tradition of multiple infusions simply a practical way to make use of smaller vessels for brewing?

Hello-Obviously, I can only speak from my own experience/opinions... I have noticed that the 2nd, 3rd,4th steepings actually taste different from one another. I enjoy comparing these differences.In my opinion, it is not a matter of more flavor, but of different flavors.A small pot allows one to finish one steep quickly and go on to the next. But, if I am brewing a tea that does not change much from one steeping to the next(or one in which the change is undesirable), I will get a bigger pot and use more tea and more water. I always brew pu'er in small pots (for multiple steepings), but I will brew a large pot of my rose-scented tea for long term enjoyment of its rosey goodness. Does this make any sense?

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, that does make some sense.

What I have been doing is 3-4 infusions in a small pot, which are then combined into a large thermos that I drink throughout the day. So I don't really taste the different brewings one by one, nor have I tested whether the results are really different from a single larger pot brewed a little longer.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, that does make some sense.

What I have been doing is 3-4 infusions in a small pot, which are then combined into a large thermos that I drink throughout the day.  So I don't really taste the different brewings one by one, nor have I tested whether the results are really different from a single larger pot brewed a little longer.

Let us know what you discover if you try tasting each of the infusions separately.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...

Today finally did the experiment, round 1

Used Rishi Tea Pu-Erch Tuo Cha tablets

Rinsed each briefly, did not break them up

Brought water to about 185 degrees

Steeped tablet with 1 cup water, poured 1/3 to single cup and rest to thermos, then added another cup of water to the leaves for 2nd steeping.

Repeated 3 times, net 4 samples of different rounds of steeping and 1 sample of all mixed together

Then took a fresh tablet and, after rinsing, steeped it with 4 cups of 185 degree water, and let steep for 4 minutes.

Tasted the results with puffed rice to clear the palate in between.

Results? Not that surprising.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/debunix/3625463423/

The first 1 minute steeping was thin, light, hardly worth drinking.

2nd minute steeping was still thin, notably darker, and a bit more tannic.

The 3rd and 4th minute steepings were not really distinguishable, but very nice.

The mix was the most rounded flavor.

And the single brewing with 4 cups for 4 minutes was essentially indistinguishable from the mixed single steepings--equally delicious. The primary difference was that the mixed cup was a bit cooler by the time the larger volume brew was ready.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Today finally did the experiment, round 1

Used Rishi Tea Pu-Erch Tuo Cha tablets

Rinsed each briefly, did not break them up

Brought water to about 185 degrees

Steeped tablet with 1 cup water, poured 1/3 to single cup and rest to thermos, then added another cup of water to the leaves for 2nd steeping.

Repeated 3 times, net 4 samples of different rounds of steeping and 1 sample of all mixed together

Then took a fresh tablet and, after rinsing, steeped it with 4 cups of 185 degree water, and let steep for 4 minutes.

Tasted the results with puffed rice to clear the palate in between.

Results?  Not that surprising.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/debunix/3625463423/

The first 1 minute steeping was thin, light, hardly worth drinking.

2nd minute steeping was still thin, notably darker, and a bit more tannic.

The 3rd and 4th minute steepings were not really distinguishable, but very nice.

The mix was the most rounded flavor.

And the single brewing with 4 cups for 4 minutes was essentially indistinguishable from the mixed single steepings--equally delicious.  The primary difference was that the mixed cup was a bit cooler by the time the larger volume brew was ready.

Hello-I am a big fan of tuo cha, and I enjoyed reading your post. I have one question:Were you using a "raw" or a "burnt" tuo cha?

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Kasia
      Even though I would like to change the situation, the winter is coming. Sooner or later there will be sharp winds, frost and unpleasant moisture. I don't know how you like to warm up at home, but on the first cold day I dust off my home recipe for hot and yummy winter teas.

      You can use my recipe or come up with your own proposals for fiery mixtures. Only one thing should be the same: your favourite tea must be strong and hot.

      Ingredients (for 2 teas)
      Raspberry-orange
      8 cloves
      a piece of cinnamon
      2 grains of cardamom
      4 slices of orange
      2 teaspoons of honey
      your favourite tea
      50ml of raspberry juice or 30ml of raspberry juice and 30ml of raspberry liqueur
      Add 4 of the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom to some water and boil for a while to release their flavour and aroma. Remove the seasoning and brew the tea with this water. Crush two slices of orange with honey. Add the raspberry juice or a mixture of juice and liqueur to the tea. Next add the honey with orange. Mix it in. Decorate the tea with the rest of the cloves and orange.

      Lemon-ginger
      8 cloves
      3 slices of fresh ginger
      2 grains of cardamom
      50ml of ginger syrup or 30ml of ginger syrup and 30ml of ginger-lemon liqueur
      4 slices of lemon
      2 teaspoons of honey
      Add 4 of the cloves, ginger and cardamom to some water and boil for a while to release their flavour and aroma. Remove the seasoning and brew the tea with this water. Crush two slices of lemon with honey. Add the ginger syrup or mixture of syrup and liqueur to the tea. Next add honey with lemon. Mix it in. Decorate the tea with the rest of the cloves and lemon.

      Enjoy your drink!

    • By liuzhou
      China's favorite urinating “tea pet” is actually a thermometer.
    • By Johnhouse
      Hello everyone!
       
      I have been working in food and beverage industry for almost 10 years in different countries. I am looking forward to learn new things on this forum to expand my food and beverage knowledge as well as sharing my experiences that I gained in my journey!
       
      Have a good day! ☺️ 
    • By MattJohnson
      I've been a big coffee fan for years, but lately, I've been drinking more tea.
      Where do you get your tea? Do you have an importer you like? An online store you frequent. I've been buying tea from Rishi at stores in the Milwaukee area (they are located in the area too) and have been very happy.
      One of my favorites so far is the Earl Green. Very tasty.
      .... sorry if there is a thread like this already, I did a quick search but didn't see anything....
    • By liuzhou
      This arose from this topic, where initially @Anna N asked about tea not being served at the celebratory meal I attended. I answered that it is uncommon for tea to be served with meals (with one major exception). I was then asked for further elucidation by @Smithy. I did start replying on the topic but the answer got longer than I anticipated and was getting away from the originally intended topic about one specific meal. So here were are..
       
      I'd say there are four components to tea drinking in China.

      a) When you arrive at a restaurant, you are often given a pot of tea which people will sip while contemplating the menu and waiting for other  guests to arrive. Dining out is very much a group activity, in the main. When everyone is there and the food dishes start to arrive the tea is nearly always forgotten about. The tea served like this will often be a fairly cheap, common brand - usually green.
       
      You also may be given a cup of tea in a shop if your purchase is a complicated one. I recently bought a new lap top and the shop assistant handed me tea to sip as she took down the details of my requirements. Also, I recently had my eyes re-tested in order to get new spectacles. Again, a cup of tea was provided. Visit someone in an office or have a formal meeting and tea or water will be provided.
       
      b) You see people walking about with large flasks (not necessarily vacuum flasks) of tea which they sip during the day to rehydrate themselves. Taxi drivers, bus drivers, shop keepers etc all have their tea flask.  Of course, the tea goes cold. I have a vacuum flask, but seldom use it - not a big tea fan. There are shops just dedicated to selling the drinks flasks.
       
      c) There has been a recent fashion for milk tea and bubble tea here, two trends imported from Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively. It is sold from kiosks and mainly attracts younger customers. McDonald's and KFC both do milk and bubble teas.
       

      Bubble and Milk Tea Stall
       

      And Another
       

      And another - there are hundreds of them around!
       

      McDonald's Ice Cream and Drinks Kiosk.


      McDonald's Milk Tea Ad
       
      d) There are very formal tea tastings and tea ceremonies, similar in many ways to western wine tastings. These usually take place in tea houses where you can sample teas and purchase the tea for home use. These places can be expensive and some rare teas attract staggering prices. The places doing this pride themselves on preparing the tea perfectly and have their special rituals. I've been a few times, usually with friends, but it's not really my thing. Below is one of the oldest serious tea houses in the city. As you can see, they don't go out of their way to attract custom. Their name implies they are an educational service as much as anything else. Very expensive!
       

      Tea House

      Supermarkets and corner shops carry very little tea. This is the entire tea shelving in my local supermarket. Mostly locally grown green tea.
       

       

      Local Guangxi Tea
       
      The most expensive in the supermarket was this Pu-er Tea (普洱茶 pǔ ěr chá) from Yunnan province. It works out at ¥0.32per gram as opposed to ¥0.08 for the local stuff. However, in the tea houses, prices can go much, much higher!
       

       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...