Tea Brewing Temperatures
Too hot to handle? Or not hot enough?
In last week’s blog post, we talked about one of the major impediments to enjoying great tea at home: water quality. Water makes up the vast majority of each cup of tea you drink, so it’s no wonder that good water is needed for good tea.
This week, we’re looking at another aspect of water’s enormous influence over tea: water temperatures and heating methods.
How hot is your water?
Sure, there’s a lot of confusion out there about which water temperature to use for which tea. But before we can even get to that, let’s cover something even more basic, and even more necessary for getting your water temperatures all sorted out. It’s how hot your water really is.
To understand water temperatures better, let’s take a closer look at water temperatures leading from warm to a full boil. Put some water in a glass kettle or in a pot and put it on the stove to boil. If you have a food thermometer, dangle it in the water. Watch the water change as it reaches each stage:
Now that you know how hot your water really is, you’re ready to apply that knowledge toward better tea. Simply take a look at your Fusion Teas packaging or on our website to see which temperature is best for your tea. Or, as a general guide, use these temperatures:
- White tea: 160-180 degrees F
- Green tea: 160-180 degrees F (More delicate green teas, like Gyokuro, brew better in a lower temperature, while most flavored green teas can go a little hotter.)
- Oolong tea: Anywhere from 170-212 degrees, depending on the tea and the brewing method (Experiment and see what you like.)
- Black tea: 195-212 degrees (Brew Darjeeling on the lower end of the spectrum.)
- Hibiscus and most herbal teas: 200-212 degrees
- Yerba mate: 180-212, depending on how you like it (Usually, higher temperatures will yield a more bitter brew.)
A note on heating methods
There are a lot of ways you can heat up water. In terms of your tea quality, some of these methods are, well… not so hot.
We do NOT recommend using a microwave or an electric hot water heat. The drop in tea quality simply isn’t worth the convenience. (Using a microwave or electric hot water heater? Try another method and you’ll see what we mean.)
However, using a gas flame, an electric stovetop, an infrared burner, an open fire or a charcoal fire are all excellent for making better tea. So you still have a lot of options!
Why Loose Leaf Tea?
These few simple pointers on water quality, steep time and temps will help you unlock the best flavors from your cup of tea. But you may be wondering: Is there any difference between loose leaf tea and teabags? For this next step in your tea education, check out this article: Why Loose Leaf Tea?