One of the seemingly best kept secrets is that many teas can be re-steeped. In fact it is encouraged to re-steep many teas as the depths of their true flavours are only revealed after the 2nd and 3rd steepings as the full leaves in the finer teas unfold and open up.
White, green, wulong and puer are all teas that definitely should be re-steeped. First flush teas, if you are lucky enough to find some, can also be re-steeped. Many Chinese full leaf fine black teas can also be re-steeped, such as Golden Monkey, . Recently we've encountered some fine 2nd flush black teas from boutique gardens in India that also produce some delicious results after the 2nd steepings.
Here are some tips when re-steeping tea:
1. Make the first steeping short.
2. Fully pour off the tea after each steeping into a cup or a small non-porous pitcher. If you are using a basket style steeper, just remove it from the cup of pot and set it aside so it is not sitting in a puddle of tea. Do not leave the leaves in water because you want the extraction to be halted between steepings.
3. Ensure there is air flow around the leaves so they cool off in between steepings. You don't want them to continue to "cook" or steam in between steepings.
4. When you are ready for your next cup of tea, heat your water and add it to the leaves again. Gradually increase the steeping time with each subsequent steeping.
Here is an example for re-steeping Misty Mountain Tea Moon Rabbit, a lovely peach apricot fusion white tea.
1st steeping - 45 seconds
2nd steeping - 1 minute
3rd steeping - 1 minute 30 seconds
5. You can continue re-steeping tea over a number of hours. Start in the morning and continue to re-steep the leaves throughout the day. Start fresh with new leaves each day or after 6-8 hours