If you’re spending a good amount of money on puerh tea, it would be a shame to only use the tea leaves once before throwing them away. You might want to reuse the leaves because using them only once seems like a waste. or is it? is it actually safe to reuse puerh tea? This article offers a complete overview of whether you can and should reuse puerh tea leaves or not.
You can definitely reuse puerh tea for multiple brews. The faster you reuse tea leaves, the more flavor they will retain. Reusing tea leaves the next day is fine as well, but might not be the best option flavor-wise. Tea leaves lose most of their flavors overnight so you will not get the best experience.
Can you reuse puerh tea?
Puerh tea is a type of tea that is made from fermented tea leaves (both sheng and shu puerh). The leaves are then compressed into a cake or brick shape, and aged for years to decades. This process changes the flavor and texture of the tea.
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Before discussing anything else, it’s important to know whether you can and should reuse puerh tea or not. Puerh tea is safe to reuse for multiple cups of tea and is definitely something you should be doing for various reasons (discussed below).
Puerh tea leaves can be reused for 3 to 15(!) times, depending on how many grams you use for a particular amount of water.
Puerh tea is usually compressed or can also be enjoyed in loose form, which allows for good reusability. It’s usually processed in a way in which the whole leaves are preserved and allow for several good infusions.
This is a big difference from tea bags, which usually consist of small particles and tea dust that release all of their flavors in one infusion.
If you’re brewing puerh tea according to the Chinese Tea Ceremony (Gong Fu Cha), you can even steep puerh leaves 8 to 15 times! The Chinese Tea Ceremony is based on the idea of using and reusing a high amount of tea in a small amount of water for multiple short infusions.
Can you reuse tea leaves the next day?
Some people think that it’s not safe to reuse tea leaves the next day. A lot can be said about this topic, but tea leaves are generally safe to reuse the next day.
This doesn’t mean that everyone should be doing this because your tea-drinking experience might be completely different from the first day.
The fact that you already used tea leaves, that they cooled down to room temperature, and that you reheat them will greatly affect the flavor you’ll end up with in your cup. Tea leaves are sensitive so using them the next day might result in a stale or even bitter tea.
In general, larger tea leaves are more suitable to reuse. It’s perfectly fine to reuse tea leaves the next day, but it’s not recommended.
How to store tea leaves to reuse the next day
Before using tea leaves, they should be stored in an airtight container, such as a jar or tin. They should also be stored away from light and heat.
If you are storing the tea leaves in your fridge (like fresh Japanese green tea), make sure that they are not near any other food items that may have strong smells, like onions or garlic. Tea leaves can absorb odors and flavors from other foods and this will affect their taste when brewed the next day.
If you use tea leaves and you want to reuse them the next day, it’s best to make sure there is no water left in the brewing vessel. Otherwise, the tea leaves will continue to release flavors.
Once there is no liquid left in the brewing vessel, let the leaves cool down to room temperature. If you want, you could store them in a fridge, but I usually leave them somewhere at room temperature.
Just pour hot water over them the next day and brew them how you like it. As mentioned above, you will have a completely different experience than the day before. Keep this in mind to not be disappointed by the (lack of) flavors and depth.
Benefits of Reusing Your Puerh Tea
There are many benefits of reusing puerh tea and the two most important reasons are discussed below.
A pretty vital reason to reuse puerh tea is that it saves you money. Puerh tea can become expensive if you’re going for more exclusive regions and vintages. Reusing your tea leaves for another cup of tea is better for your wallet than using a batch of fresh tea leaves.
It’s best to reuse puerh leaves as soon as possible for the best experience. It’s fine to brew a cup of tea and reuse the leaves an hour later, but using them the next day can be a disappointment if you were expecting the exact same result.
It’s important to find a balance between price and enjoyment. Sometimes, it’s fine to spend extra money by taking fresh tea leaves to get the best possible experience. In other instances, it’s better to reuse tea leaves when you’re in a hurry, for example.
Loose-leaf tea is known to change quite a bit within a single tea session or over the course of several cups. That is why it can be an interesting experience to taste and feel how tea leaves change throughout different brews.
If you’re brewing according to the Chinese Tea Ceremony, it’s interesting to see how each brew is different and how the tea leaves develop within the same tea session.
Conclusion: how to get the most out of your puer tea
Puer tea is a type of fermented tea that is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. To get the most out of your tea leaves, it’s a good idea to reuse them multiple times. The Chinese Tea ceremony is based on this idea, but you can also reuse loose-leaf puerh tea when brewing a large mug of tea.
You can reuse puerh leaves the next day or several days later, but it’s not recommended because flavors will have changed considerably. Reusing tea leaves a couple of hours later or even within the same tea session is a good idea because every time you brew a cup/mug, you experience something different.
Experimentation is important here to see whether you want to save money and reuse leaves, or want the best possible experience and use fresh tea leaves every time you brew a cup/mug.