On some packages of tea, you may have seen some instructions on how to brew your tea. Now you’re probably thinking, “Why do I need instructions on how to brew tea? It’s just water and leaves!” It’s more than just placing a tea bag into a cup and pouring hot water over it! It takes time and the right water temperature. Depending on the type you’re brewing, you may need to brew for three minutes while others may need a five minute brewing time.
Why do we need to time the brew? This is important because if you steep your tea bag for longer than instructed, the tea may not taste as pleasant as you like it. If left longer than normal, the tea can “cook” and leave your tea tasting the least bit pleasant. Teas are much like snowflakes, with no two being alike. If you want to get the best out of your cup of tea, simply follow the brewing instructions according to your tea type.
Here are the suggested temperatures and times to brew your tea:
Black Tea – 3 to 6 minutes at 190°F to 212°F or 90°C to 100°C.
Green Tea – The steep time for green teas is generally short at 45 seconds to 1 to 3 minutes at 160-180°F (70-82° C)
White Tea – Brew at 158-180°F (68-82° C) for 1 to 5 minutes.
Oolong Tea – Brew from 185-212°F (85-100° C).
Pu-erh Tea – One of the longest to brew, it can take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes at 200-212°F (93-100° C).
Some electric kettles come with the option to set a specific temperature. While many of us do not have that luxury, the best way to measure the temperature of your tea is to take a (food grade) thermometer to it. In timing your brew, simply watch the clock or to be more precise, use the one included in your cell phone (most smartphones come with a stopwatch feature in the Clock setting).
Try these methods of proper tea brewing and you’ll be sure to have the best cup of tea.