Last week, I wrote about using a timer when making tea…today, I am going to talk about water temperature and the importance of getting it just right!
I have always liked my tea hot…can’t stand cold tea…but as I learned more about the complexities of tea brewing, I realised that temperature plays a big role in getting the best out of the tea.
Each type of tea requires a different temperature to get the full flavour from the leaves…and this does apply to tea bags as well!
If the water is too hot, the more delicate tea leaves can be scorched and destroyed, with too much tannin produced, making the tea bitter…plus the fragrant aroma will be lost.
If it is not hot enough, the brew will produce a tea that is weak in flavour.
For example, green teas are best at lower temperatures, as they are less oxidised. The cooler temperatures allow the sweet and delicate flavours to develop, without being over powered with the bitter tasting ones.
Whereas black teas are better when the water is hotter, as they are more stable.
And while I am on the subject of water, it is best to use filtered water…water quality is very important as it is basically a cup of tea consists of 99% water.
And NEVER, EVER reboil, as this takes the oxygen out of the water.
Many of my work colleagues will fill the kettle up, and boil and reboil because they don’t want to tip the water out (left over habit from being in drought conditions and having to be careful with water).
But in fact, the best way is to just heat the amount of water you need, as you need it.
Here is a quick guideline of suggested temperatures…
- Green Tea – 70C to 80C
- White Tea – 70C to 80C
- Oolong Tea – 80C to 90C
- Pu-erh Tea – 90C to 100C
- Black Tea – 85C to 95C
- Herbal Tea – around 100C
But please keep in mind, that similarly to brewing times, there is no “one fits all” magical number…but you can use the above list as a guide, then experiment to find out what brings out the best in your chosen tea.
And check the packaging as often manufacturers will give a suggested guide to the temperature, as well as the brewing times.
So how can you get the right temperature?
To easily get exact temperatures, you can now buy kettles that heat water to the temperature you require…for example, we have been using a Breville Tea Maker for a couple of years…you can select either preset options, or choose custom settings…
Another option is to boil the water in your usual kettle, and just then let it sit for a while to cool down.
Or perhaps you can invest in a thermometer…do a search on Google as there are some specially designed for accurate reading of water temperature.
So next time you go to make a cup of tea, or brew up some leaves in a teapot…check what temperature the water should be.
Along with the correct brewing time, the correct temperature will make an average cup of tea a magical brew!
If you have any questions about tea, please don’t hesitate to contact me or put your query in the comments below.