reusing loose tea leaves

topic posted Tue, October 25, 2005 - 5:56 AM by  Unsubscribed
is it ok to reuse loose tea leaves?
I'm talking 1-3 times a day or so after the first brewing.
I know you can reuse rooibos and yerba mate about 3 times; but how about green and black tea leaves?
posted by:
  • Re: reusing loose tea leaves

    Tue, October 25, 2005 - 9:49 AM
    You can reuse green and white tea leaves up to three times average, depending on the tea. Black tea is another story. Most will tell you not to reuse black tea leaves or you get a lot of bitterness. Of course, there's nothing illegal about it and some people like that strong bitter flavor. So the best thing is to try it and see what you think.
    • Re: reusing loose tea leaves

      Tue, October 25, 2005 - 10:22 AM
      I reinfuse tea leaves all the time, but I'm not sure about the "day or so after the first brewing" part. My concern would be that the damp tea may mildew in that period of time...especially if it doesn't completely dry between infusings? I've never tried letting the leaves dry and then reinfusing, so I don't know about taste, but it just kind gives me the willies, thinking of that wet tea sitting there for more than an hour or so. Just my .02 worth of neurosis, probably <g>.

      If you do try it, let us know if the quality/taste holds up? I'm curious, even if I probably won't try it at home ;).
      • Re: reusing loose tea leaves

        Tue, October 25, 2005 - 1:44 PM
        Wrap your tea basket in a pastic bag and put it in the fridge to prevent mold. Just like a vegetable!
        • Reusing tea NO NO NO

          Thu, October 27, 2005 - 12:32 PM
          After one day the green tea leaves will start absorbing things from its environment. Things like toxins and untasty flavors. I would recomend steeping as much as you want for at least twelve hours or until the tea looses all of its flavor. Teas) I don't reccomend drying them out. Tea is best savored in the first steeping. The following steepings are usually less and less flavorful until it just tastes like water with a hint of leaf. Work on brewing green teas. I find alot of pleasure in creating a perfect cup of green tea.
          • Unsu...

            Re: Reusing tea NO NO NO

            Thu, October 27, 2005 - 5:09 PM
            I have read tea studies who claim that leaving tea drying after using it does the opposite of what it is supposed to do, instead of preventing cancer, it causes it.

            I am avid fan of Chinese tea litterature and I have also read many times that tea should always be submersed in water after the 1st infusion, never left to dry.

            I personally leave it for a max of an hour with a little bit of left over water to keep the tea wet if I want to brew another infusion but not right after I did the first one. I also leave the lid on to prevent it from getting oxidized.

            This is my take, especially for green teas.
            For an everyday black tea, one can make a strong pot of concentrate and leave it on the counter for a day in a cool spot. You can just warm your cup, add a bit of the thick tea and add freshly boiled water.

            • Re: Reusing tea NO NO NO

              Fri, October 28, 2005 - 12:16 PM
              Huh, I had never heard of that about tea toxins and cancer. Good to know. I like doing the concentrate thing with pu-ehr. In fact, that reminds me I just saw a GREENISH puck of pu-ehr in the tea shop window , I'm gonna go try some today! Anyone ever had that?
              • Unsu...

                Re: Reusing tea NO NO NO

                Sat, October 29, 2005 - 11:02 PM
                Just about the only teas I will resteep later in the day in something big-leaf like Oolong, which actually tastes better on the 2nd steep as the leaves expand. Otherwise, flavor slides downhill, and the health concerns seem valid.
            • Unsu...

              Re: Reusing tea NO NO NO

              Thu, November 3, 2005 - 9:08 PM
              I seem to recall that the tannins in tea (or anything, for that matter) are carcinogens anyway. I wonder if the resteeping simply leaches out proportionately more tannins per cup?

              Did the studies mention any probable mechanism?
              • Re: Reusing tea

                Fri, November 4, 2005 - 5:13 PM
                Your recollection is as mistaken as it could possibly be.
                Tannins are a type of polyphenol. They carry flavours and colors, you might know it as "astringency" or bitterness if over steeped. They lower cholesterol and reduce the chance of heart disease. Steeping longer does release more tannins but it sure as heck doesn't cause cancer. In the animal studies it prevented it! Studies in humans are pending.
                Additionally, I have done some extensive research and found no corroborating evidence about "absorbing toxins from the environment". Does whomever posted that have a source for that info?
                • Re: Reusing tea

                  Fri, November 4, 2005 - 5:16 PM
                  PS Here is one of MANY sites on tannins. Aint google great?
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Reusing tea

                    Sat, November 5, 2005 - 2:33 AM
                    hey guys,

                    tannins are really good for you!

                    we were having a discussion about leaving the tea dry out and using it again.

                    No it is not safe but you can definately brew your tea for an hour and everything will be fine.

                    Just no Brewing then leaving the tea in the teapot to dry for a couple of hours and using it again, that's all there is to it!

                    Enjoy your tea. ; )
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: carcinogenic tea

                    Sat, November 5, 2005 - 5:36 PM
                    Yeah, google's great... I found both stories... (mostly looks good for green tea, but some opposite studies, most implicating very hot water)



                    According to Tyler, there is evidence indicating that the condensed catechin tannin of tea is linked to high rates of esophageal cancer in some areas where tea is heavily consumed. This effect apparently may be overcome by adding milk which binds the tannin preventing its deleterious effects. GRAS ([[section]]182.20). Tyler (1982) produces a chart comparing various caffeine sources to which I have added rounded figures from Palotti (Industric Alimentaire 16:) (1977).



                    Though epidemiological data are mixed with respect to the effects of green tea consumption on the incidence of cancer, the predominant data suggest that green tea confers protective effects against many cancers. The incidence of prostate cancer, for example, is the lowest in the world in China, a country with high green tea consumption. Esophageal cancer risk has been found to be reduced by 60% in those who consume two to three cups of green tea daily in China. And smokers in Japan are reportedly less likely to develop lung cancer if they regularly consume green tea.

                    ...and both in one...


                    Esophageal cancer
                    Studies in laboratory animals have found that green tea polyphenols inhibit the growth of esophageal cancer cells. However, results of studies in people have been conflicting. For example, one large-scale population-based study found that green tea offered significant protection against the development of esophageal cancer (particularly among women). Another population-based study revealed just the opposite -- green tea consumption was associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer. In fact, the stronger and hotter the tea, the greater the risk. Given these conflicting findings, further research is needed before green tea can be recommended for the prevention of esophageal cancer.

                    ...and one implicating hot drinks in general (with a green tea caveat)


                    Drinking very hot beverages appears to raise the risk of esophageal cancer by as much as four times.

                    * Researchers analyzed results from five studies involving nearly 3,000 people.

                    * While several hot beverages were found to increase the cancer risk, green tea was actually found to be protective.

            • Re: Reusing tea NO NO NO

              Sat, November 5, 2005 - 8:57 PM
              I'm looking like crazy for references to used leaves going carcinogenic, but I'm not finding anything. The only site I found recommends refrigeration if you plan to keep your wet leaves up to 2 days, but it's a store's website (

              I can't seem to google anything about negative effects connected to tea leaves (wet, dried, reused or otherwise) except the first study I referenced below, and I think their whole thing about adding milk to bind 'harmful' tannins is a false positive. Excessively hot water has been connected to esophageal cancer, and, hmm, milk cools down your tea. Everything else about tannins shows a protective response. Even some hot water studies show green tea mitigates the damage.

              So, sidenote: definitely backs up the lower steeping temperature philosophy.


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