Everything You Need To Know About 2nd Infusion
What is a second infusion or resteeping?
Did you know that the same green tea leaves can be steeped more than once? 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 second infusion and sansenme (sansen-me三煎目) for the third infusion.
Resteeping is slightly different than your first infusion of tea. Unlike other tea types, green tea leaves only have limited infusions—maximum three or four. However, it is not quite easy to get the perfect cup with every infusion because you need to be careful about the water temperature and steeping.
Do not try to use hot, boiling water and a longer steeping time to make the leaves infuse all at once. 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 that different compounds infuse in the water at different temperatures to create 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 first infusion, the leaves still have compounds left, which creates barely any flavor, but it is fun to try mild and low-note flavors. The second steeping differs from the first and third because it has a different controlled temperature steeping time.
How to do a second infusion?
When you first brew tea, it takes a longer time because the tea leaves are dry and take time to infuse. But it is not the same the second time because the tea leaves are warmed up and unrolled from the 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, so therefore resteeping is for a shorter time but at a slightly higher temperature. 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 brewed 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.
What things to keep in mind while infusing for the second time?
- Keep the same amount of leaves and water for a second infusion. Also, control the water temperature and steeping time.
- Do a second infusion as soon as you can because wet leaves start to degrade faster.
- When brewing in a teapot, make sure to serve every last drop of each infusion. It is because if some is left from the first infusion and you do the second infusion, it will mix up and alter the results.
Health benefits in the second infusion
Many people wonder if there are health benefits to the second infusion, and they are right to think about it. Second and later infusions are mainly for taste and quality rather than their 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 the tea leaf content dissolves in water in the first brewing, while later, only 20% remains. The catechins and polyphenols dissolve in water slowly compared to caffeine, resulting in more content in later infusions than in the first brewed tea. Therefore, it shows that later infusions also have healthy substances and are not regarded as useless.
Related Question from a customer:
It was mentioned that the standard practice in Japan is to do a second 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 three times, or even more (depending on the quality of the tea), and this is common practice in Japan. Would two infusions only be good for lower-quality teas or "non"-green teas?
In my opinion, you can do third and fourth infusions with any tea. If the flavor comes out on the 3rd or 4th infusion, it is probably not related to the quality of the tea but rather to the type of tea.
How Many Times Do You Steep?