People sometimes ask how many times you can brew the same leaves. For the most of Japanese tea, you can brew for a couple of times. But actually it depends on the type of tea and individual leaves. You can brew about three times for sencha, kabusecha and gyokuro. Kukicha doesn’t last as many brewing as sencha. I only brew twice for one type of gyokuro I have which doesn’t taste good after a couple brewings, but I enjoy another kind of gyokuro which I can brew up to five times. It depends on the leaves. You can tell by its aroma if the leaves still can be brewed. If they don’t have much aroma left, they may not give good tea any more.
Also it depends on occasions. If you want to enjoy good flavor of tea on your tea time or when you serve tea to guests, maybe twice to three-time brewing is better. You want to use fresh leaves anytime when you have guests. You can brew three to four times for your daily tea. Sometimes I brew even up to five times on my casual tea, ha ha (^^;;
When you brew deep-steamed sencha for five times, about 80% of the flavor is infused during the first to third brewing. The details are 37% on first brewing, 25% on the second and 17% on the third. (The data is from Nihoncha adviser Kouza dai2kan) So the first brewing usually has the richest and best flavor. The flavor gets paler as the number of brewing goes on. I hope you enjoy the change of taste. I’ll write about how the taste changes over several brewing on the next post.