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How long shall we brew tea on 2nd brewing?

[2016.01.15] Posted By

I noticed that many people are not very certain about how long they should infuse tea for the 2nd brewing. Based on my observation, they tend to infuse 2nd brewing longer than the 1st brewing. Perhaps they thought it was necessary so as to extract the taste well.

2nd brewing must be kept short

On 1st brewing, tealeaf is dry. It is necessary to infuse a little longer or rinse tealeaf once or twice just like the way of Gong Fu brewing technique in order to warm up and soften the tealeaf. However, the situation is not the same on 2nd brewing. Tealeaf is already unrolled and warmed up. At this point, tealeaf is soaked with hot water. No matter how much we try to remove water, it is still wet. While we are waiting for the next infusion, the extraction of flavor and taste continue to take place. Thus, a very short infusion is sufficient. For 2nd brewing, I only infuse for not more than a few seconds. In most of cases, right after I pour in the hot water I will pour out the tea immediately.

We tend to brew longer due to the threshold of taste

Nevertheless, many people may think that the flavor and the taste is just nice even if they brew more than a minute on the 2nd brewing. In fact, there is an interesting fact. You can brew 2nd infusion for 1 second, 10 seconds, 30 seconds and 60 seconds and compare the taste and flavor.

Interestingly with all different brewing time, we could enjoy all cups of tea.

It is due to the threshold of taste. Our sensor has a limit in detecting taste, especially the concentration. We cannot precisely tell even if the concentration is double. If you brew tea very thick and dilute it with hot water to double, triple and four times, you may think that the concentration for all cups of tea are just nice. In other words, human taste sensor is not very precise in detecting the concentration of taste. So we tend to brew tea very thick as we use our own parameter, yet we do not even know if the taste is too thick.

How to maintain the good flavor over the 6th infusion?

I often heard from customers saying that they could enjoy Japanese green tea and black tea only up to 2nd brewing. They claimed that they do not enjoy the 2nd brewing onwards as the taste is too light. In most of cases, it is due to the over infusion on the 1st brewing. I suggest not to brew too long for the 1st brewing. Keep the brewing time of the 1st infusion a little shorter than you usually do. Subsequently, please keep the second brewing less than a few seconds. If you infuse the 1st brewing as long as you feel comfortable, tealeaf may open too much and most of taste and flavor substance will be lost at once on the 2nd brewing. I always think that it is important to learn the skill to maintain the consistent taste/ flavor over the infusions. For that, it is important to keep the 1st infusion short enough. I usually mix the 1st brewing and 2nd brewing in a pitcher in order to even out the concentration. From the 3rd brewing onwards, I basically brew for less than a few seconds. If the flavor is getting lighter, I subsequently increase the brewing time.

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