Welcome back for our second Friday Tea Tip! We’re gonna learn about tea temperature today. But first… Remember last week’s tip? We talked about tea getting bitter if you let it steep too long.
Tea Tip #2: Tea Temperature
Another surefire way end up with bitter (a.k.a. overly “tannic”) tea is to steep it at a temperature that’s too hot. As tea leaves contact hot water, they release their yummy flavor and nutrients. Tannins are one of the compounds extracted into the water. These are naturally-occuring polyphenols that have an astringent taste and give you a dry, puckery-mouth feeling.
However, if the water is too hot, the tannins may be over-extracted, or extracted too quickly, leaving you with a disappointingly bitter brew. Fortunately, you can easily avoid this with a food thermometer, or by using a programmable electric kettle or hot water dispenser to heat your water. (FYI, all our CommuniTea Center teas have temperature recommendations on the package! We try to be helpful!)
A Good Rule of Thumb for Tea Temperature:
|Black Teas||205° – 212° F|
|Green Teas||175° – 185° F|
|White Teas||175° – 185° F|
|Oolong Teas||180° – 205° F|
|Pu-erh Teas||200° – 212° F|
|Rooibos Blends||205° – 212° F|
|Herbal Teas||205° – 212° F|
Or, in the absence of technology, you can use an old Chinese method to approximate the tea temperature as you are heating water on a stove:
|Bubble Size||Description||Approximate Temperature|
|Shrimp Eyes||The first tiny bubbles (about the size of a pinhead) rise to the surface and pop.||155° – 174° F|
|Crab Eyes||Slightly larger bubbles. Steam starts to rise vertically.||175° F|
|Fish Eyes||Bubbles are the size of a pearl and rise to the top.||175° – 180° F|
|String of Pearls||A steady stream of pearl-sized bubbles rise to the top.||195° – 205° F|
|Raging Torrent||Full rolling boil. Note that oxygen boils out of the water at this point and can leave your tea tasting flat. We recommend removing your water from the heat source immediately once it boils to prevent this.||212° F|
Ultimately, however, tea temperature is a matter of personal taste, and we highly recommend that you make your tea the way that tastes best to you! Please feel free to experiment and discover your favorite tea temperature!!
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