How to Re-Steep Green Tea to Get the Best Results

Jill Caren

One major plus of using high-quality loose-leaf green tea is that it may be re-steeped several times.  Re-steeping green tea is fascinating because you may …

Categories Green Tea

One major plus of using high-quality loose-leaf green tea is that it may be re-steeped several times. 

Re-steeping green tea is fascinating because you may taste varied flavors while using the same tea leaves.

It’s simple to re-steep any tea, but there are certain guidelines to follow to get the proper flavor and avoid damaging the already wet tea leaves. 

I’ll show you how to make the second infusion of green tea as well as the basics of re-steeping.

Key Highlights

Green tea can be re-steeped 2–4 times, depending on the type.

When making multiple infusions, use smaller cups and high-quality, whole, loose-leaf tea.

The second infusion of green tea usually contains less caffeine than the initial brew.

To Re-Steep Tea: What Does That Mean?

Re-steeping tea simply means using the same tea leaves for multiple infusions. 

Using the same tea leaves for a second or third infusion is a fantastic chance to experiment with different flavors of your favorite tea.

Every high-quality loose-leaf tea that comes from the Camellia sinensis (tea plant) can be re-steeped. Herbal teas may also be re-steeped, although the flavor will be considerably weaker in the second brew.

The longer the tea leaves are oxidized, the more intense the final flavor is, and these teas are ideal for re-steeping.

Interesting to Know

Black, green, and white teas can be re-steeped 2-3 times. Pu-erh and oolong tea can be re-steeped 6-10 times, depending on the type of tea you use.

Tea bags can also be used for a second infusion. The problem here is that they are filled with tea dust and relatively small broken leaves that release flavor very fast. 

So using a tea bag for a second infusion is not a smart idea. You may give it a try, but the tea will be quite weak.

If you try a second infusion with tea bags, do it as soon as possible after the first infusion. It’s not a good idea to leave a wet tea bag out in the open for an extended period of time. Wet tea bags are prone to microbial infestation.

A high-quality whole-leaf tea is ideal for re-steeping several times. Re-steeping loose-leaf tea with broken leaves will not add much flavor. Tea bags, in my opinion, should only be used for one brew.

How many times you can use the same tea leaves will depend on many factors, such as the type of tea you use, the duration of the initial infusion, the quality of the leaves (whole or broken), and so on.

The benefits of re-steeping tea include:

  • Trying out new flavors with each infusion
  • One teaspoon of tea leaves yields two or three cups of tea
  • Getting  great value for money, especially when it comes to costly teas like Gyokuro green tea

Japanese green tea Gyokuro great for re-steeping
Gyokuro: high-quality green tea, great for re-steeping

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of re-steeping, let’s get into the specifics of green tea’s second brew. 

Re-Steeping Green Tea Basics

When re-steeping green tea, it’s crucial to remember that unlike other types of tea, green tea leaves have limited infusions, max 3–4.

Japanese green teas may be re-steeped 2 or 3 times. Green teas from China can be infused 4 to 5 times.

Why is there a limit on the number of green tea infusions? When brewing, for example, Japanese green tea, in the initial (first) brew most of the components are extracted.

In the 2nd infusion, the umami taste will be reduced, while the compounds responsible for astringency and bitterness will continue to be extracted.

The 3rd infusion of Japanese green tea will be more astringent, with very little umami taste.

So, if you opt for the fourth infusion, you’ll get nothing but an unpleasant and maybe bitter drink.


When re-steeping a new green tea for the first time, try several infusions and stop when you don’t like the taste. You’ll know how many infusions you can get from your green tea for the following brew.

Is the Second Steep of Green Tea Good?

The second infusion of green tea is not like the first. Most of the beneficial compounds from the tea leaves are already extracted in the first brew, although not all of them.

Some studies show that the caffeine content in the first (initial) brew is around 65-75% and that in the next brew it decreases to 20-25%.

Interestingly, the catechins and polyphenols (antioxidants), which dissolve in water slowly compared to caffeine, are also present in the second brew. 

So, the second infusion of green tea is also good, having just enough healthy compounds, but you may expect less caffeine and, of course, less flavor too.

How to Re-Steep Green Tea Properly

Make the First Cup (Initial Brew)

Double steeping or making multiple infusions of green tea starts with the initial brew. 

This is super important because if you don’t use the right water temperature and correct steeping time for the initial brew, you’ll end up with a bitter and flavorless drink. After that, you won’t want to make multiple infusions.

For this reason, here is a detailed guide on how to brew green tea properly. If you’re new to green tea, make sure to check that before continuing with re-steeping.

Remove the Tea Leaves from the Tea Pot

When the initial infusion has finished, remove the tea leaves from the teapot or mug. You may either keep them on the side or in your strainer. Make sure to reuse wet leaves as soon as possible since, if not, they quickly degrade.

Pro Tip

Pour every last drop of tea from your teapot. If there is any tea liquid left over from the first infusion, the flavor of the second infusion will be affected.

Many people ask how to store the tea leaves for multiple steepings. You don’t. You use the tea leaves after the first brew as soon as possible.

Tea leaves that dry out between infusions generally lose flavor. That’s why, when re-steeping green tea, it’s good to use a smaller vessel. It’s difficult to consume 2 or 3 cups of tea in a short time if you brew tea for a standard 8 oz cup.

Small cup of green tea
When re-steeping tea, try to use smaller cups

Make the Second Infusion 

When you’re ready to re-steep your green tea, heat the water at the same temperature as the initial brew. Put the wet leaves in your teapot, add the water, cover the lid, and allow the green tea to steep for the same amount of time as for the first brew.

This is when you do the re-steeping for the first time. After you taste the second infusion, the next time you brew green tea, you can make changes to the second infusion’s steeping time.

You may use the same water temperature and steep for 30 to 60 seconds longer than the first brew. You could also experiment with hotter water and a shorter steep time.

When brewing Japanese green tea, it’s common practice to use a higher water temperature and steep for half the time as the first infusion.

For example; 

If the first infusion is at 75 °C, the second infusion should be at 85 °C. If the steeping time for the first infusion is 90 seconds, The duration of the second infusion should be 45 seconds. 

Don’t be afraid. Experiment with the second brew steeping time and water temperature until you achieve the desired taste.

Good to Remember: Never use boiling water when brewing green tea; it’ll become bitter. For the first brew, always follow the recommended brewing temperature and steeping time.

Tips for Reusing Green Tea Leaves With Multiple Infusions

Opt for a smaller cup

When planning to make multiple infusions from your green tea, choose a smaller vessel. It would be easier to drink two or three small cups.

Don’t use colder water than the first brew

If you use colder water than the first brew your second infusion will need a longer steep time.

Keep the lid of the teapot open

Make sure you don’t fully close the teapot lid after the initial infusion and after you’ve served all the tea to the last drop. You may avoid this by moving the top to the side without closing it entirely.

Use the same leaf-to-water ratio

Don’t add more tea leaves. Keep the same tea leaves and the same water-to-leaf ratio for every infusion. If you add more tea leaves for the second infusion, you’re not re-steeping.

After the first brew, reuse the wet tea leaves within a few hours

It is not recommended to reuse tea leaves the next day. Tea tends to degrade shortly after steeping and should be reused within a few hours for the best quality.

The Takeaway

Re-steeping green tea is a super interesting way to try new flavors from the same tea leaves. 

At the same time, making multiple infusions of the more expensive green teas like Gyokuro is a good way to save money (you make 2-3 cups from one measure of leaves).

Making the second or third infusion is easy; you just need to follow some rules.

When making multiple infusions, use smaller cups, keep the same leaf-to-water ratio, don’t leave the wet leaves from the first infusion in the pot (keep them in the strainer or set them aside), pay attention to the water temperature and steep time, and always use high-quality whole leaves tea.

Loose-leaf green tea is great for re-steeping. Usually, green teas can be re-steeped 2-3 times, depending on the type you choose.

You can try re-steeping your green tea; don’t be afraid to experiment with how many times you can re-steep your green tea until you come to the point where you don’t like the taste.

If you don’t like the taste of your second or third infusion, try changing the water temperature and the duration of the infusion. Use hotter water and a shorter steep time, or the same water temperature as the first brew and a longer steep time.

Enjoy the different flavors that re-steeping will offer you!