Rooibos: Number of re-infusions?


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Rooibos: Number of re-infusions?

Postby ohiosux » Dec 31st, '06, 01:47

Hello all,

I am new to loose tea, and am the happy new owner of a Zarafina machine. My question is about how many times am I able to re-infuse/re-steep (I am not sure which terminology is correct) Rooibos? In fact, if someone doesn't mind answering, I would love to know this answer for all teas.

Many thanks in advance and Happy New Year!
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Re: Number of re-infusions?

Postby Chip » Dec 31st, '06, 02:55

ohiosux wrote:Hello all,

I am new to loose tea, and am the happy new owner of a Zarafina machine. My question is about how many times am I able to re-infuse/re-steep (I am not sure which terminology is correct) Rooibos? In fact, if someone doesn't mind answering, I would love to know this answer for all teas.

Many thanks in advance and Happy New Year!


Well, ohiosux...lol...I could change my name here to PAsux..

Steep=Infusion...you can interchange one with the other.

I am not certain how the Zarafina affects multible infusions...so perhaps someone can answer that...

Each tea is different...there is no abosolute rule of thumb on the number of infusions. I can get multible infusions out of virtually any tea assuming it is FRESH. Personal taste enters into the equation also...for instance, I do not bother trying to get multible infusions out of black tea...but you certainly can.

Experimentation is the best way to find out...
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Postby TeaFanatic » Dec 31st, '06, 03:33

I agree with chip, in that any fresh tea can be resteeped. I have found that most rooibos is very good for a second steeping, because you can make the steep time very long (rooibos doesn't get bitter because it has no tannins).

Typically the best teas I have found for resteeping are fresh oolong teas. Typically I can resteep a good oolong 4-5 times if I desire.

The best thing to do though is experiment. The worst that can happen is you get slightly tea flavored water.
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Gotcha...kinda...

Postby ohiosux » Dec 31st, '06, 04:07

Thank you both for the great answers. I guess part of my problem is that I can't tell the difference yet between a mild tea and tea-flavored water. I have no idea what makes a tea fresh or garbage. I have re-infused my current pot of Rooibus about 5 times now. I would guess that this last time was one too many but, then again, maybe it has another infusion left in it and I can't taste the difference....yet. Do you consider most or all of the teas from Adagio and Teavana as "fresh" and does the source play a role in the number of possible infusions? I guess it is all up to how meticulous the high school kids are that they have working in the evening. Over the Holidays, I have noticed many of the big tins at the stores in a big mess on the counters with the lids not on correctly or at all. I have a sense that tea is similar to most other quality-driven products where the product is only as good as the weakest link found during the journey of the tea to your counter.
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Postby Jodoteapn » Jan 5th, '07, 17:51

If you haven't yet, you might try using bottled water. I've discovered the tap water in my apartment makes awful tea, but the tap water where I work makes a decent cup.
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Postby kissmyhuman » Jan 23rd, '07, 01:41

Well if you can't taste the difference, then reinfuse it again, just keep increasing the amount of time until you can taste the difference. After a while your pallet will get use to the subtleties of teas.

As far as freshness, actual tea is harvested from early spring to fall, and most vendors will state harvest year and will sometimes offer the previous years harvest at a very discounted price. Try not to stock up on tea until the spring harvest. With roobios, I have no idea when it's harvested.
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Postby Zanato » Jan 23rd, '07, 03:04

Rooibos tea is harvested during the summer (Southern Hemisphere). Most of the tea is picked manually. The tea is then bruised and cut using tobacco cutting machines. At this stage, Rooibos is still green. Fermentation is essential in order to enhance the flavor of the tea. Rooibos is fermented in mounds and then spread out to dry in the sunlight. Fermentation turns the tea red. Rooibos’ nick name “red bush” does not apply to a live plant since it is green until it is fermented. In the final process Rooibos is sterilized by steam, dried in commercial dryers, sifted and packaged.
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Postby Mary R » Jan 23rd, '07, 11:44

Hmm. I did not know how rooibos was processed. Thanks, Zanato! Green rooibos isn't bad, though. I actually prefer it to red when paired with a fruit flavoring like mango.

As for rooibos steeping, I like to keep it strong. So I stop at 2 if I'm using a flavored rooibos as by that point the vanilla or mango or whatever seems a distant memory. With plain rooibos, I've gotten a good 3 infusions before it lost too much character for my taste. For the first I do 5 minutes at 212 degrees F, second 7 minutes at 212, third up to 12 minutes at 212.

To keep it strong, I also half the water I use. So if I start off with a pot (about 18-20 oz for me), I might make subsequent infusions using an 8 oz mug. If I keep using the pot, I'd probably do about 14 oz for the second infusion and 8 oz for the third.

As far as other teas go, I often do this rooibos technique with black tea (though I keep the time at 5 min) and can get up to 3 decent infusions. With oolongs and white tea, I know I'll use it for multiple infusions (5-7) so I'll either cup brew or use a gaiwan and keep using the same initial amount of water. I'm not much of a green tea person, so I rarely drink more than 1 pot or 1 cup of it. It's like candy corn for me...I see it and think, "Yum, candy corn!" and then I eat it and think "Yuk, candy corn!"
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Postby riz » Feb 6th, '07, 23:47

i am very new to fresh tea too and am a little confused about re-steeping... what are you doing with the leaves after the first infusion? leaving them wet would seem to invite mold or bacteria... but how are you drying them out or how long between infusions???

thx!
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Postby deadfingers » Feb 7th, '07, 00:26

riz wrote:i am very new to fresh tea too and am a little confused about re-steeping... what are you doing with the leaves after the first infusion? leaving them wet would seem to invite mold or bacteria... but how are you drying them out or how long between infusions???

thx!


Well I don't know about everyone else but I usually resteep after I finish drinking. I don't "save" that tea for later use, I use it all at once (with multiple infusions) then once I've had my fill throw the leaves away. This is what I do though, I'm pretty sure you don't save the leaves for later use.
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Postby Madam Potts » Feb 7th, '07, 10:44

As stated earlier in this thread, saving wet leaves invites bacteria. If you have leaves sitting around for over an hour it would be best to dispose of them. Otherwise, multiple infusions are an important part of tea drinking. I find the best way to find out which tea has how many infusions is pure trial and error.

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Postby Chip » Feb 8th, '07, 01:07

I guess I am just a wild and crazy guy. What Madam Pots is saying could be true...but...

Although I will reinfuse the leaves usually in rapid succession, I frequently come back to SLT..."soggy leaf tea" several hours later. In fact I will purposely save a few steeps of something for the evening when I do not want to start a new tea because of the caffeine.

Perhaps I should add a legal disclaimer to this post... :oops:
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Postby Madam Potts » Feb 15th, '07, 18:32

you are a wild man. drinking tea with reckless abandon.

Living Dangerously is your cup of tea....

cool.
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Postby Mocha Wheels » Aug 26th, '07, 15:58

TeaFanatic wrote:I agree with chip, in that any fresh tea can be resteeped. I have found that most rooibos is very good for a second steeping, because you can make the steep time very long (rooibos doesn't get bitter because it has no tannins).

Typically the best teas I have found for resteeping are fresh oolong teas. Typically I can resteep a good oolong 4-5 times if I desire.

The best thing to do though is experiment. The worst that can happen is you get slightly tea flavored water.


i'm drinking a chocolate rooibos right now- i infuse 1 teaspoon 4 times in 6oz. of water each. again, combining all 4 cups- you may get less out of it if you drink the weakest cup just by itself, depending on how it tastes. so it is my theory that if you make several cups and then pour each cup from the total amount made, you'll be able to get far more infusions.
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