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What Does "Steep" Really Mean?

2 Comments

What Does "Steep" Really Mean?

"Steep 4 minutes in boiling water..." "Do not over-steep or the tea will become bitter..." Can be steeped up to 8 times..."

You may have seen phrases like these used by Golden Moon Tea and others in the tea world and if you have been confused by what the term "steep" means than worry no more. Here is everything you ever wanted to know about steeping your tea.  

"Steep" essentially means soak

In the most basic sense, to steep something means to soak it, which is what we do when we prepare tea. We take dry tea leaves, add them to hot water, let them soak, pour out the tea and then drink it. So, when someone says to steep your tea, all you are doing is preparing a cup of tea.   

How to steep tea multiple times

I believe this is where a lot of people get confused. When we say that you can steep your tea up to 4 times, what we are saying is you can make four separate cups of tea using the same exact tea leaves. The process for steeping your tea four times would go like this: 

First Steep (or Steep 1)

1) Take dry tea leaves

2) Soak them in water

3) Wait a few minutes

4) Pour into your teacup and drink 

Second Steep (or Steep 2)

1) Take the used tea leaves from Steep 1

2) Soak them in water

3) Wait a few minutes

4) Pour into your teacup and drink 

Third Steep (or Steep 3)

1) Take the used tea leaves from Steep 2

2) Soak them in water

3) Wait a few minutes

4) Pour into your teacup and drink 

Fourth Steep (or Steep 4)

1) Take the used tea leaves from Steep 3

2) Soak them in water

3) Wait a few minutes

4) Pour into your teacup and drink  

To sum it all up

Don't let the term "steep" throw you off. Instead, think if it simply as "making tea." Steeping tea multiple times not only saves money, but the teas also change flavor from steep to steep. So, if you have been using your tea leaves only once, I would start steeping them multiple times right away!  


photo: www.flickr.com/photos/patrick_george/2424947353


2 Responses

Iroh
Iroh

January 21, 2016

So what does it mean when someone says, “…steeped in 3 washes of boiling water?”

Pietas
Pietas

January 21, 2016

I thought steep meant “dunk” the teabag in the pot of hot water that just started to form bubbles and steam over and over for a few minutes.

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Loose Tea Serving Size Guide

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