Multiple Steepings?


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Multiple Steepings?

Postby beforewisdom » Dec 31st, '11, 18:03

Quality green tea can be ( and is sometimes desirable ) used for multiple steepings. Is this true of any black teas?
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby Bryan_drinks_te... » Dec 31st, '11, 18:27

Yes. Chinese Black tea can be brewed multiple times, and the best results tend to come from brewing gongfu style. Indian/ Sri Lankan Teas don't seem to work as well in my personal experience.
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby Tead Off » Jan 2nd, '12, 23:23

beforewisdom wrote:Quality green tea can be ( and is sometimes desirable ) used for multiple steepings. Is this true of any black teas?

As far as Indian teas go, the common way to brew is western style in larger teapots. I can usually get 2 steepings this way. However, Indian teas can also be brewed gongfu style and will hold up nicely for multiple brews.
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby AlexZorach » Feb 6th, '12, 14:07

When I first got into tea I was stuck in the thinking "black tea doesn't work well for multiple steepings" but I think this isn't true really at all.

If you want to do multiple steepings, my recommendations are:

  • Try a large-leaf tea, a whole-leaf tea.
  • Use more leaf than you usually would.
  • Use briefer steeping times.

Even if a tea doesn't seem to work well with multiple steepings the first time, if you use more leaf and shorter steeping times, you might get very good results.

This method is great because it can allow you to experience nuances of the tea that you might not notice. Often, I find the first infusion is most aromatic, the second has the richest flavor, and some of the later ones can be sweeter and more herbaceous. This is often even true of black teas!
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby SlientSipper » Feb 28th, '12, 00:04

My record for most steepings out of a pot of tea was a black tea.
I can't quite remember which one but, it was definitely a black one.
the third steeping was also the best. :)
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby CupofTree » Feb 29th, '12, 16:45

I've actually been experimenting with this lately. I've had interesting results with just full leaf Irish breakfast so I'm sure higher quality would hold up much better.
I sweeten my first steep of Irish but my second steep I don't sweeten at all because it has a much less strong flavor that I can tolerate on its own. Its kind of sweet in a way. It tastes like an entirely different tea by the second steep so I like that.
I'm thinking of shortening the time of the first steep (4-5 mins) but I always end up going that long regardless because I want that strong first cup!
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby TeaEarlGreyHot » Mar 1st, '12, 09:10

I can say it doesn't work well with the typical Lipton/Red Rose/Tetley/etc tea bags. Flavor ends up being very watered down.
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby mbanu » Mar 7th, '12, 18:07

You basically have only so much tea flavor in the leaf to extract... it depends on how you prefer to take your tea. You can do one long steep for a concentrated flavor or several short steeps for a lighter flavor. The cumulative steeping time is the same.
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby Tead Off » Mar 8th, '12, 00:17

mbanu wrote:You basically have only so much tea flavor in the leaf to extract... it depends on how you prefer to take your tea. You can do one long steep for a concentrated flavor or several short steeps for a lighter flavor. The cumulative steeping time is the same.

Not really. If you are trying to brew gongfu style, you fill your vessel about 1/3-1/2 capacity. Some will use more leaf than that. Gaiwan works well. Generally, I use whole leaf Darjeeling. The first several brews are very short, 10-15s. The concentration is much more powerful than with western style brewing. This is the whole point of short brews. If you are using high quality tea, the kinds of flavor produced this way can be very intense without being astringent or bitter. This being said, I still brew western style at least as much as I do gongfu style. Both produce very different but satisfying results.
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby mbanu » Mar 8th, '12, 21:30

I certainly agree that brewing gongfu style you can get strong tea in multiple steepings. However, one is not coaxing more tea flavor out of the leaves than there is to begin with; the amount remains fixed. If a person were to do a 5-minute steep for their first gongfu brew (perhaps making a zavarka for Russian-style tea?) instead of the standard short steep, the later steepings would not be as flavorful. I guess that the limited flavor to spread around in any amount of leaves is what I was trying to get at.
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby Tead Off » Mar 8th, '12, 23:35

mbanu wrote:I certainly agree that brewing gongfu style you can get strong tea in multiple steepings. However, one is not coaxing more tea flavor out of the leaves than there is to begin with; the amount remains fixed. If a person were to do a 5-minute steep for their first gongfu brew (perhaps making a zavarka for Russian-style tea?) instead of the standard short steep, the later steepings would not be as flavorful. I guess that the limited flavor to spread around in any amount of leaves is what I was trying to get at.

I think there is a difference between the 2 styles in flavor because in gongfu style, you are using much more leaf than you would be using brewing western style. Therefore, the concentration of flavor is more intense through a number of brews. The flavor being deeper, more accessible, not as subtly tasted as in western style brewing.

Also in western style brewing, all the flavor is not extracted in the main brew which is the first. After this 1st brew, you have to steep even longer than 5 minutes and you never really achieve the flavor and aroma of the 1st brew wherein gongfu brewing, the number of brews with full flavor and aroma is much greater. It is the best way to extract ALL the flavor and aroma of a tea. I enjoy both ways but you need a good tea to enjoy it gongfu style.
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby AlexZorach » Mar 15th, '12, 15:54

I want to chime in, I got a shipment of four teas from Rare Tea Republic, three of which were black teas, and all of them, including all three black teas, performed well under multiple infusions (two were really good in the second cup but one was only okay). I did not try gong fu brewing with these teas though.

Another sample though that I tried was from Upton Tea Imports, TO50: Putharjhora Estate FTGFOP1 Tippy/Cl First Flush Organic. This tea was truly outstanding under multiple infusions. It even seemed to share some qualities in common with sheng Pu-erh.
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby Tead Off » Mar 16th, '12, 00:33

The whole idea of gongfu style brewing of Darjeelings is to increase the leaf amount, decrease the brew time, in order to extract maximum flavor from the tea over a number of steepings. I think there may be a confusion of multiple brewings with gongfu style. Most Darjeelings will probably yield 3 cups if brewed western style with increased time after the 1st cup. But, only the 1st cup will really have the full flavor. With gongfu style, it can be more than 6-7 cups of very flavorful tea. I continue to drink both ways. It's more expensive to brew gongfu style and you go through a lot more tea that way.
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Re: Multiple Steepings?

Postby djlau » Mar 20th, '12, 13:23

Multiple steeps for black teas? Definitely.

Like many others have mentioned, I'll use less water so: I get to enjoy the progression of powerful to smooth to water, and so I don't have to keep running to the bathroom :D
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