Tea: OverSteep To Increase Health Benefits

January 7, 2013

This is not a post explaining how to prepare tea properly. It’s not my job, I’m not qualified to do it, and if I’ll do it, I’ll probably end up giving the worst advice possible.
However, if you’re an avid tea drinker (like myself) who enjoys this beverage daily - with no respect whatsoever for the legit ways to brew it - you might want to hear me out.

Oversteeping cup of tea

Let’s start from the beginning. Do you know that there are instructions printed on the side of almost any tea box? Sometimes there are even little infographics.
The directions are simple: 1) use near to (but not) boiling water; and 2) steep tea leaves for 3 to 5 minutes. Simple and concise rules. I never cared to follow them though.
Here’s what I do: turn the electric kettle on, inattentively drop the tea bag in a cup, wait until I hear the “click”, pour the (boiling) water into the cup, and let the tea steep for...to be sincere, I never remove the teabag from the cup. I steep it for as long as it takes me to drink the entire cup of tea.
That’s the kind of ignorant-tea life I’ve led up until now. British will be probably look at me with horrified disbelief. I apologize for that.
However, in my unwitting state I have done one thing right.
Oversteeping allows to impart more nutrients and flavors found in the tea to the water.
In particular, brewing tea for 7 minutes delivers three times more antioxidants than if you just do it for the recommended 3 minutes. How about that?
The downside is that the longer you steep tea, the more bitter the tea is going to taste. This happens because tea leaves begin to release bitter tannins into the water after about 4 minutes. At the 10 minutes mark the tea can be extremely bitter. However, the tannins responsible for the bitter taste bring the antioxidants along. In other words, bitterness equals more health benefits.
For instance, when herbal teas are used for medicinal properties, they are left steeping for longer periods (15-20 minutes) to enhance effect.
Personally I don’t care for the bitter taste. I actually quite enjoy it. I’m just happy to know that with my inconsiderate way of steeping tea I’ve done something good for my health.


  1. I love your BLOG!!!

  2. Ha! This is so great. I drink tea like this alot....more so my herbal teas because i have to take it easy on the cafeine. I like Tulsi for its stress relieving benefits and now i now that it is even more potent the way i drink it. Yipee!

  3. hahaha! i also never take the tea bag out until i drink the entire cup, didn't know it was good for health :D