Our Top 3 Tips for Multiple Infusions
An article provided by our guest author Selina Reusser
One of the biggest benefits of drinking tea from whole tea leaves is that each serving of leaves can be infused several times. As they steep, they unfurl, exposing more surface area and releasing more flavor. As the leaf opens, the flavor becomes more intense, with most teas delivering the best taste on the second or third infusion.
If you are used to drinking tea from tea bags, this multiple usage may seem counterintuitive, as tea from tea bags is unlikely to give a second or even third infusion. This is because the tea dust contained in bags has a more exposed surface area, thereby releasing its flavor more quickly. Tea bags not derived from the tea plant Camellia sinensis usually consist of smaller petals or chopped ingredients such as leaves or roots. These teas are known as ‘tisane‘ (or Herbal Teas) and are usually non-caffeinated, which is why their ingredients rarely give off flavor for more than one infusion.
If you want to improve your tea brewing ability and release more flavor during your tea drinking, it is worthwhile to switch to whole tea leaves. Only the leaves of Camellia sinensis (e.g., green tea or black tea leaves) survive several infusions.
Below we have put together our TOP 3 tips for the multiple brewing of tea leaves:
1. Consider the steeping time:
A tea bag tipically contains about 1,5-2 grams of powdered tea, which should be soaked in 3-4dl of water for 8-10 minutes. This tea releases its full aroma in no time and cannot be infused again. However, if you allow whole tea leaves to steep for so long, these too will give most of their taste and aroma into the first cup. But since we are using whole leaves suitable for several infusions, it makes more sense to let the leaves steep for only 2-4 minutes. The shorter steeping time allows the tea leaves to slowly develop their flavor with each additional infusion, which also reduces the bitterness in the brew and decreases the caffeine content.
2. Do not wait too long between infusions:
Once you have infused the tea leaves, something similar happens to them as with cooked vegetables: when exposed to air, they gradually lose their aroma and taste. For example, lighter styles like Green Tea ‘Silver Shan’ and White Tea lose their aroma very quickly. So it’s best if you do not leave used tea leaves in between infusions for too long, and use them up within a day. In our experience, it is fine to store the leaves in the brewing vessel, at room temperature. If you live in a more humid climate, it makes more sense to keep the leaves in the fridge to avoid any chance of mold.
3. Finish with a ‘Cold Brew‘:
If your tea leaves are still fresh and aromatic after several infusions, we recommend soaking the leaves in a large glass of water and storing them overnight in the fridge to prepare an iced tea the next day. The long, cold infusion pulls even the last taste out of the leaves, without this becomes bitter. By doing this, you can make sure you get the most out of every tea leaf.If you do not have time for a long tea session, you can simply vary the amount of water, the amount of tea leaves, and the steeping time to extract all the aroma at once. This method is best for high-quality teas, as low-quality leaves are likely to produce bitterness with this method. You will find more brewing tips suited to our different teas in each of our Peace Kits.
Regardless of how many cups of tea you consume daily, the flexibility of making loose leaves will make you create the perfect brew – have fun experimenting and enjoying!