Tea typically comes in the form of powder, leaves, bags, and other convenient forms. Green tea, was first introduced in China and has now become a global phenomenon, mainly for its amazing medicinal, healing and antioxidant properties, mostly coming in the form of leaves. If the leaves are used once, they lose a few their beneficial properties, but can be reused a couple of more times before the batch is thrown away.
So how often can we reuse tea leaves and is it safe? In China, it is considered perfectly normal and safe to reuse tea leaves again and again. When the leaves are used for the first time, the potency of the leaves is high, which may cause the tea to taste bitter. The bitterness reduces as the leaves are reused. However, the leaves are reused up to as many as 3-4 times in the same day. They are thrown away the same day and a fresh teaspoon or batch of tea leaves is used the next day.
However, there are theories that suggest that tea leaves, if wet and left unused for more than three hours, can encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi. You could try to dry out the leaves and remove the moisture before reusing them again. The leaves can be dried out by spreading them onto a platter or towel in a well aired or ventilated room for a couple of hours. The theory also advises that tea leaves should not be reused more than one day.
Reusing tea leaves may seem like a normal and reasonable thing to do, and here are a few advantages of reusing tea leaves –
The Chinese use a special pot for steeping or brewing green tea. It is in the form of a delicately and beautifully decorated teapot with a small filter on top with holes at the bottom into which the leaves are added. Pour hot water into the filter and close the lid and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. The water that accumulates or drains in the cup or container below the filter is your freshly made tea. Follow the same process for re-steeping or reusing tea leaves.