Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Brewing Tip – The Benefits of Double Steeping


To “Double Steep” is to consecutively steep the tea twice, combine the results before subsequently serving the tea. It is a simple practice that has many benefits when utilized in the right way. Here I share a few common situations that can benefit from double steeping and thus enhance our enjoyment of tea.

The mastery of Gongfu brewing comes from practice and accumulating experience whereby it is essential to develop the basic understanding of water/time/temperature in association to the tea that is brewed. Each tea is unique and finding its sweet spot requires composing the right formula to prepare the ideal brew. Misjudging the parameters of a brew can happen from time to time especially with teas that we are not familiar with. When the results are either too strong or too light, double steeping allows the 2nd steep to be used to correct the shortcomings of the 1st steep. The overall brew then becomes better balanced.

Heat is an important component for brewing tea. Age tea in particular requires both boiling hot water and for the temperature to be well maintained for an ideal brew. However it is common to allow an interval of rest between steeps. This interval can cause a drastic drop in temperature inside the teapot or brewing vessel especially in an air conditioned or cold environment. In this instance the practice of double steeping can be utilized to manage heat. The 1st steep not only restarts the brew but also helps bring the temperature inside the teapot back to its optimum. The 2nd steep is where the ideal extraction is taking place. Both steeps are then combined to create a balance brew.

The most common situation that lends itself to double steeping perhaps is associated with quantity. The size of most teapot is often not big enough to entertain guests. In order to cater to the needs of our guests the accumulated brew from double steeping can help ensure that enough tea is available for each round to be served.

There are ebbs and flows to each tea session alongside varying conditions and requirements within the environment and setting. Each tea requires different brewing parameters and even the same tea can vary in performance as a result of unforeseen circumstances. Different challenges can arise during a tea session. For those entrusted with the responsibility to brew the tea, being alert, observant and having the ability to adapt will go a long way towards ensuring that everyone has a good cup of tea to enjoy.

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