Can tea be used several times?

Posted on Mar 9, 2022      364

Surely, as a good tea lover, more than once you have wondered whether it is possible to use tea several times. Especially when you drink a high-quality tea, it is “embarrassing” to get rid of the leaves. Now what happens if you infuse it more than once?

In some households, reusing the tea bag is a daily and ingrained activity, especially among older people. Is this okay or does the tea lose its properties? Keep in mind all your doubts because, below, we will answer them one by one.

Is using tea several times a good idea?

The answer to this question is difficult, at least as it will depend on several factors such as the variety of tea, whether it is in bulk or in a bag, the temperature and the infusion time.

The general answer to this question would be: yes, tea can be used several times. There is no law that forbids you to reuse tea and, in fact, if you still like the taste, you can reuse it as many times as you wish.

However, it is always more advisable to reuse the tea leaves than the bags.

Remember that the bags include a lot of dust and broken leaves, which is why the essential oils come out more quickly and, therefore, successive infusions will have less and less flavor. Does this mean that you should use a tea bag and throw it away? No, of course not, as we told you before: the decision is yours.

With leaves, making a second, third or even fourth infusion is not crazy. In fact, it is common for Congou tea, for example, to be served continuously, always using the same leaves.

It is worth clarifying that each type of tea may vary in terms of the number of recommended infusions, water temperature, and infusion time. As long as it is still to your liking, nothing prevents you from using the tea several times.

How to know how many times to infuse the tea?

Higher quality teas allow a greater number of infusion processes; those teas with whole, well-preserved leaves will give more play and will continue to give a tasty liquor despite successive infusions.

Teas of more moderate quality, such as bag teas, can be re-infused, but you surely notice that the flavor is much milder. This is also because when preparing tea bags, we usually use boiling water and, therefore, the first infusion is much stronger than the following ones.

Brewing times for using the tea several times

Experts do not agree on the best way to perform the second infusion. In fact, there is more controversy about it.

One group recommends short infusions when the leaves are to be reused. Thus, the first infusion should be between 30 seconds and 1 minute and a half, depending on the type of tea.

For a second infusion, the tea should be left to brew for another 30 seconds. Thus, if for the first cup the tea is infused for one minute, the second cup would need one and a half minutes. With the following ones, 30 seconds would also be added each time.

The other argues that the best way is to make shorter and shorter infusions, but with a higher water temperature. Here, if we were to prepare a black tea with a rest of 4 minutes at a temperature of 95 ºC (1), the second cup should be infused for 3 minutes at a temperature of 100 ºC and the third cup for only 2 minutes.

Which varieties of tea can be re-infused?

As many as you like! Don’t forget that in Chinese and Japanese culture, using tea several times is very common.

Oolong teas, for example, are among those that respond best to the re-infusion technique and with each cup you can perceive new nuances in the mouth. Did you know that this technique can be carried out until the leaves are completely open (after 4 or 5 infusions)?

As already mentioned, Congou is another good option, but what about green, black, red, yellow and white tea?

Of course you can use the leaves more than once, especially if they are quality teas. Strange as it may seem to you, re-melting allows you to appreciate new nuances of the tea, so go ahead!

Does tea lose properties when infused several times?

This is not the first time we talk about the properties of tea. As you know, teas are rich in polyphenols, substances with antioxidant potential, and contain caffeine. What happens to these components when the leaves are steeped in water several times?

If we talk specifically about caffeine, it is believed that the highest concentration of caffeine would appear in the first infusion, disappearing almost completely on the third. However, one study pointed out that if water at a lower temperature were used, the release of caffeine would be more progressive and, therefore, would last longer than one or two infusions.

As for catechins, the data are inconclusive. It is estimated that the first infusion of the leaves extracts the greatest quantity of essential oils and thus of substances beneficial to the body, but this theory has not been scientifically proven to date.

In conclusion, be guided by your palate! If you like tea, even if you have re-infused it three or four times, who’s stopping you? Tea drinking is a pleasurable experience and if you still find tea enjoyable, go for it.

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