Did you know that the same green tea leaves can be steeped for more than one time? Steeping the green tea leaves for the second time is known as the second infusion. In Japanese it is called nisenme (nisen-me 二煎目) for the 2nd infusion and sansenme (sansen-me三煎目) for the 3rd infusion.
Resteeping is slightly different than your first infusion of tea. Unlike other tea types, green tea leaves only have limited infusions, max three or four. However, it is not quite easy to get the perfect cup on every infusion because you need to be careful about the water temperature and steeping.
Do not try to use hot boiling water and longer steeping time to make leaves infuse all at one time. Because tea made like this will be very bitter with strong astringency to the point that it will be unpleasant. It is due to the fact; different compounds infuse in the water at different temperatures to create a balance and good flavor. Therefore, it is important to have different infusions to get the best flavor and nutrients out of green tea.
After the 1st infusion, the leaves still have compounds left, which creates barely any flavor, but it is fun to try mild and low notes flavor. The second infusion is not like 1st or 3rd steeping because it has a controlled temperature steeping time different from others.
When you first brew tea, it is for a longer time because tea leaves are dry and take time to infuse. But it is not the same second time because tea leaves are warmed up and unrolled from first steeping and just need a little time to extract some more flavors. While we are waiting for a second infusion, the leaves continue to release flavor, and therefore resteeping is for a shorter time but with a bit higher temperature of the water. You only need a little time for a second infusion, so when you pour water over tea leaves, wait for 30 or 60 seconds and then pour into cups.
Nevertheless, some people have different opinions, such as that leaves release more flavors when brewing longer. Here is an interesting fact, with each additional steeping time, you get a different flavor, and therefore it is good to experiment to get the best taste suited for you.
Many people wonder if there are health benefits in the second infusion, and they are right to think about it. Second and later infusions are mainly for taste and quality rather than its benefits. However, it does not imply that it does not have any effect on health. According to a study, the caffeine content in first infused tea is 68%, and later it decreases to 23%. It is due to the fact that 70% of tea leaves content dissolves in water in the first brewing, while for later, only 20% remains. The catechins and polyphenols dissolve in water slowly compared to caffeine, resulting in more content in later infusions than the first brewed tea. Therefore, it shows that later infusions also have healthy substances and are not regarded as useless.
It was mentioned that the standard practice in Japan is to do a 2nd infusion of the tea. I've seen other places on the internet where it is mentioned that green tea can be steeped usually up to 3 times, or even more (depending on the quality of the tea), and this is common practice in Japan. Would 2 infusions only be good for lower quality teas, or "non"-green teas?
You can do 3rd and 4th infusions with any tea in my opinion. If the flavor comes out on 3rd/4th infusion is probably not related to the quality of the tea; rather type of tea.
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