Can you reuse tea leaves?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you reuse tea leaves” with an in-depth analysis of the potential benefits associated with the tea leaves. Moreover, we are going to highlight the factors and different ways through which tea leaves can be reused.

Can you reuse tea leaves?

Yes, you can reuse tea leaves and on average, you may get 2-3 steps from loose tea leaves. The main reasons behind using tea leaves are to save money and maintain the environment’s sustainability.

Teas, when brewed for the first time, have a slightly smoky flavor that is not liked by everyone. But these teas are thought to possess wonderful aromas when steeped or brewed for the second or third time.

Reusing Tea Leaves:

There is no issue with reusing tea leaves. But still, you need to be careful while handling already used tea leaves.

The leaves, when remained in the strainer, have a moisture content that would be sufficient for the growth of microorganisms. So, it would be best to take out the leaves from the strainer as soon as possible and dry them by spreading them on a cloth.

The next step is to store the leaves properly. Once the leaves are dry completely, store them in an airtight jar and place the jar in a cool, dark place.

Though you are going to dry and store leaves properly, you should not store them for too long. Try to use them within a few days.

There is no limit to reuse the leaves, but the flavor and aroma will weaken with time as you are reviewing them multiple times. Therefore, try to use them 3-4 times, not more than that.

Factors affecting the reusing property of tea leaves:

Several factors determine whether leaves are fine for reusing or not. These factors may include:

  • Quality of tea leaves:

The quality of tea leaves influences the times they can be reused. For example, high-quality leaves will give you almost the same flavor as your first brew. Whereas, the low-quality leaves will lose their flavor or aroma just after first use.

  • Size of tea leaves:

Coarse particles of the tea leaves can be reused multiple times as compared to finely ground particles of the tea leaves. The same is the case with thicker and thinner leaves where thicker leaves will give great results every time they are used.

  • Shapes:

The twisted and curled leaves have a greater ability to be reused as compared to lean leaves. The curled leaves unfold each time when they are brewed, allowing the maximum extraction of flavors from these leaves.

  • Oxidation:

More oxidized tea leaves, such as black tea, can be reused more than less oxidized tea leaves, such as oolong tea leaves.

  • Roasted vs non-Roasted:

Roasted tea leaves have more benefits in terms of reusing over non-roasted tea leaves.

Other FAQs about Tea which you may be interested in.

Can you put tea bags in cold water?

Can tea go bad if left out?

Multiple infusions of leaves:

The tea leaves can be infused multiple times by following two methods:

  1. Traditional Chinese method:

Asian countries hold a great practice of consuming teas more than other countries throughout the world. This method allows you to prepare 4-5 infusions from tea leaves. For this method, you need to follow some steps, such as

  • Take a small-sized pot.
  • Add half to two teaspoons of tea leaves to the pot.
  • Heat the water and infuse the tea leaves for a few seconds.
  • Pour the tea into small cups and enjoy.
  1. Western Preparation Methods:

Two western methods are most commonly used to get a tasty and flavorful tea.

  1. Steep times:

In this method, the water should be heated to the same water temperature that you used for the first time.

About the infusion time, try adding one-two minute for every successive infusion.

  1. Cups and Pots:

Teapots with built-in infusers are now available that allow multiple infusions of tea leaves.

Infusers or filters can also be set directly into the cups.

You can read about different types of tea here.

Other Ways to reuse tea leaves:

You can not reuse the tea leaves for only making drinks. They can be used in a variety of ways.

  • Tea leaves can be used as wardrobe fresheners as they have the property to neutralize odors and can keep the moths away. Tea leaves can also be used to remove the smell from feet or shoes. Due to this neutralizing property, you can also use them to reduce smells from your refrigerators and ovens.
  • The extract of tea in water can be used to clean the windows.
  • Black tea can be used to dry white cotton, silk, or linen clothes and can give more intense colors to the colored clothes.
  • Tea leaves can also be used as compost as they are a good source of nourishment for growing plants too.
  • You can also consume some tea leaves, such as gyokuro and Japanese sencha in salads or mixed with rice.
  • Tea leaves can be used to make a freshening eye mask. Catechins in tea have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties and may help when used topically as well.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you reuse tea leaves” with an in-depth analysis of the potential benefits of reusing tea leaves in daily life. Moreover, we discussed different factors that can affect the reusing ability of tea leaves, reusing methods as well as some measures that need to be followed while reusing tea leaves.


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