Does water temperature really matter?

Yes. Here is a general temperature guideline for teas

  • Japanese Green tea usually around 74 degrees.
  • Chinese Green tea usually around 82-90 degrees.
  • Oolong tea 94 degrees.
  • White tea 94-98 degrees.
  • Matè 94 degrees.
  • Black, Herbal, Rooibos, Pu-Erh tea 98 degrees.

So what does this all mean to you when drinking tea? Well it means that you can dramatically alter the taste of the tea by steeping temperature. I find steeping temperature effects the taste of green tea the most. If you use boiling water on many green tea’s you can “burn” the leaves and that makes green tea taste bitter.   I know there are people who use boiling water on green tea, so if you do that, reduce your steeping time to 30-60 seconds instead of minutes.

Do I need a thermometer?

No. If you have one for candy or meat, those will work too (make sure they’re clean!) But even if you don’t have those, you can get the correct water temperature by following this guide line. (It’s a guideline, ALWAYS read the brewing instructions on your tea as it can vary)

  • Black, Herbal, Rooibos, Pu-Erh, (White tea some of the time) teas you can use BOILING water (98 degrees).
  • Matè , Oolong, (White tea most times) bring to a boil and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  • Green Tea (Chinese): 82-90 degrees, bring water to a boil and let sit for 4-5 minutes.
  • Green Tea (Japanese): 74 degrees, bring the water to a boil and let sit for 7-8 minutes.

How do I take the temperature of the water for tea?

This is if you are using a thermometer. Boiling water is going to be around 98 degrees, so if you are letting water cool for other types of tea you can put the water in the tea pot (note your water will cool much faster OUT of the kettle. ) But you can also keep it in the kettle if you are using a steep “master” (the plastic things that go over your mug) and you’ve already put your leaves in it. You can stick your thermometer in the kettle to test the water after it’s come to a rolling boil to get an accurate reading of water temperature.


Does my water have to stay that temperature while I steep the tea?

No. It would be very hard to keep the water at 98 degrees while steeping most teas.

The bottom line?  Each tea has a temperature it tastes best at. Temperature is not complicated, nor does it need a thermometer.  Bring the water to a boil and just wait a few minutes to cool it down as per the guide above, and I promise you will notice a difference!

Happy Sipping!


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