Best Temperatures for Brewing Tea
Tea and Water Temperatures
has a different perspective on tea and water temperature.
The Taiwanese use boiling water on their Oolongs, the British
swear by boiling water on their black teas, and the Japanese
use barely warm water to brew their finest Gyokuro green tea.
Here are suggested, generalized tips for knowing when your
tea is ready for brewing:
teas: 165°F (Well before it boils)
Green teas: 170-185°F (Just as steam begins to
leave the spout of the teapot)
Oolong teas: 180-205°F (After cooling for a few
minutes off a boil)
Black teas: 205°F (After cooling for a minute off
Pu-erh teas: 212°F (When boiling)
upon the specific tea, the volume of leaf and the length of
steeping, you may wish to play around with temperature to
understand its effect on the resulting brew.
is this important?
Since the goal of conscious brewing is to bring out the best
qualities of a given tea, it is often advised to try to stop
the brewing just as the tannins develop enough to give the
tea a nice finish. If the water is too cool, no tannin will
be released, resulting in an incomplete flavor, an empty spot
in that tea's particular flavor profile. As water temperature
increases, so will the amount of tannin in the brew. That
tannin can dominate the flavor and other elements will be
missed. In some cases only a taste of bitterness remains.
are green teas better with a lower water temperature?
With a less oxidized tea, the lower temperature is more prone
to provide a complex and full flavor. Japanese green teas,
in particular, are very rawlike fresh garden produce.
And, as with produce, if you put boiling water on it you will
cook it. The cup will seem like cooked vegetables rather than
an elegant sweet, light beverage.
The body, or viscosity, of a green tea results from dissolved
particulate matter in the cup (such as miniscule hairs and
leaf matter). If the water is too hot more acids will be released,
destroying this matter and reducing the body of the tea.
are black teas better with a higher water temperature?
The more oxidized a tea is, the more stable. Hotter water
is required to bring out the tannins of the tea into the cup.
If the water is not hot enough, the brew will be weak and
lacking in body.
good experiment is to take a Japanese or Chinese green tea
and try the same amount of leaf and same steeping times, but
with different temperatures. Sip the resulting brews side
by side and see if the difference is noticeable to you.
2002 All Rights Reserved, In
Pursuit of Tea, Inc.