How much tea is ideal out of one tea bag?
My mother regularly uses 1 tea bag for two cups or 2 tea bags for a teapot. I've read on several sites that one tea bag is ideal for one cup.
So, how much should I get from a tea bag?
Also, is the steeping time different if I was trying to get more tea out of the same tea bag? Some say that steeping it longer gets more flavour out of the bag. Somewhat more formal research suggests that releases the bitter parts and makes the tea bitter rather than thicker.
I know you shouldn't reuse coffee beans when making an espresso, but does this apply to tea as well?
I think this is subjective. Number of tea bags per cup depend on whether you like strong or mild tea.
@AnishaKaul I mean, what is the "cafe/restaurant" standard? I heard that putting too many bags or reusing it too many times makes it bitter rather than thicker/milder.
After looking into this much longer than a sane person should have, I've realized that the strength of the tea doesn't depend so much on the quantity of tea. Controlling the strength of tea is normally done by controlling the steeping time. As stated by paul, the best way to dilute the strength of a tea is by resteeping it.
The steeping time of a tea is most determined by the coarseness of the tea leaves. Similar to garlic, finer leaves make the taste a lot stronger, whereas large, coarse leaves will be weaker. The instructions on the bag often say what's been tried and tested.
Quite often, one tea bag can make quite a lot of tea, enough for a teapot. I'd recommend going for two tea bags only if you're planning to go for larger than a teapot, for tea suited to drinking by itself and with added ice, or with certain weaker teas.
For black tea, the common steeping seems to be 2-3 minutes. There's little harm in steeping too short, but steeping too long will create a harsh bitter taste (though some people may actually want that). For cheap, harsh, unbranded teas, 3 minutes seems to be enough unless the leaves are finely chopped.
Don't shake the tea bag or stir the drink while steeping it, because it will cause the harsh stuff to enter water faster, and black tea should be steeped at 98 degrees C.
@Aaronut: http://www.teatime-anytime.com/articles/make-any-tea-decaf-in-no-time.html http://www.wikihow.com/Decaffeinate-Tea http://www.arborteas.com/pages/decaffeination-at-home.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decaffeination#Decaffeinated_tea
The only link with a citation is Wikipedia's, which says: `Although a common technique of discarding a short (30– to 60-second) steep is believed to reduce caffeine content in a subsequent brew by 80–90%, research suggests that a five-minute steep yields up to 70% of the caffeine, and a second steep has one-third the caffeine of the first (about 23% of the total caffeine in the leaves).` So, 45 seconds is definitely not decaffeination; 5 minutes still isn't exactly decaffeination, it's just lower caffeine.
@Muz thanks for your answer! Quick question: what did you mean by "harsh stuff"? I drink green tea using tea bags, and can I still get the benefits (e.g. antioxidans etc., does the harsh stuff still contain it or not?) out of that green tea bag in the third time steeping? I don't care about the taste in the third steeping.
@Mathmath I am going to guess "harsh stuff" refers to tannins, it's what makes red wine taste dry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tannin
Yup, I did mean tannins. I was probably wrong on the decaffeination, will edit it out.
I have to say I'm a bit skeptical at your thesis that strength "doesn't depend so much on the quantity." If I put two tea bags in a cup instead of one, it is _for sure_ noticeably stronger when I taste it. Sometimes I hot brew tea and then let it steep in the refrigerator overnight, and it only gains a little more strength. What am I missing?