A tea timer next to a tea pot.

I Oversteeped My Tea, Is It Ruined?

You walked away from the tea pot while you were steeping tea and totally forgot about it. Only to come back 10 minutes later to discover you now have a disastrously bitter and unpalatable tea! Is it ruined?

Probably not! There are a number of ways to try to save an over-steeped tea. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to bring your tea back from disaster…


Try adding water to dilute the bitter compounds that came from over-steeping. There are multiple ways to go about this:

Add Hot Water

If your tea tastes bitter, try adding hot water. You might be surprised at how much water you can add to tea without it becoming too diluted. Add water in increments and taste test each time. If the flavor is too weak but it’s still bitter, you may have to proceed to the next step.

Make Iced Tea

You can also try adding ice to your tea for an iced beverage. The ice will melt, diluting the tea, and bitter flavors are less prominent in an iced beverage.

Make More Tea

Double your batch by adding hot water and your leaves and making more tea. This time leave the leaves to steep for a shorter-than-normal amount of time. This is a more subtle approach than simply adding plain hot water.


If you can’t salvage that first batch, save your tea leaves for another try. Green, white, and oolong teas have a good second and third steep. Black teas don’t hold their flavor as well, but it may be worth a shot. With the second steeping, you don’t have to worry as much about oversteeping, go ahead and add another minute or two to your steeping time.

Sweeten It

Sweeteners like honey, sugar, or agave syrup can help counterbalance the bitterness of over-steeped tea. Add a small amount at a time, taste, and adjust as needed.

Make a Latte

If the over-steeped tea is too strong or bitter, adding a splash of milk or cream can help mellow out the flavor. This works well with black teas and some herbal teas.

You can go even further and make a full on tea latte, of which the variations are endless.

Make a Smoothie

If the flavor of your over-steeped tea is still too strong for your liking, you can incorporate it into a smoothie. Use the over-steeped tea as a liquid base and add fruits, yogurt, ice, or other ingredients to create a flavorful smoothie.