Tea must be brewed at the correct temperature to get the most flavour out of the leaves; and the temperature varies depending on the type of tea leaves used.

Always start with clean fresh water and it helps to have a water heater that can maintain the proper temperature for you at all times – like the Zojirushi CV-CSQ30 VE Hybrid water heater (see the pictures below) or the Zojirushi CV-DSQ40 VE Hybrid water heater. For delicious tea on the go and kept hot (or cold!), try a thermal TUFF mug by Zojirushi or the TAFU mug by Yum Asia – unique thermal technology which keeps drinks hot or cold for 6 hours.

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Method for making tea

The traditional method of making or brewing a cup of tea is to place loose tea leaves directly (or in a tea infuser) into a tea pot or teacup and pour freshly boiled water over the leaves. After a few minutes, the leaves are usually removed again, either by removing the infuser, or by straining the tea while serving. Most green teas should be allowed to steep for about two or three minutes, although some types of tea require as much as ten minutes, and others as little as 30 seconds. The strength of the tea should be varied by changing the amount of tea leaves used, not by changing the steeping time. The amount of tea to be used per amount of water differs from tea to tea, but a basic recipe is one slightly heaped teaspoon of tea (about 5ml) for each teacup of water (200–240ml). Stronger teas, such as Assam, to be drunk with milk, are often prepared with more leaves and more delicate high-grown teas such as a Darjeeling are prepared with fewer leaves.

The best temperatures for tea

The best temperature for brewing tea depends on the type of tea. Teas that have little or no oxidation period, such as a green or white tea, are best brewed at lower temperatures, between 65 and 85°C. Black teas (due to their longer oxidation periods) should be brewed at a much higher temperature – around 100°C. Some teas are often brewed several times using the same leaves – known as infusions. Historically in China, tea is divided into a number of infusions. The first infusion is immediately poured out to wash the tea, and then the second and further infusions are drunk. The third through fifth are nearly always considered the best infusions of tea, although different teas open up differently and may require more infusions of hot water to produce the best flavour.

Here are some examples of correct temperatures, steep time and usual number of infusions for different types of tea:

Type Temperature Steep time Infusions
White tea 65 to 70°C 1–2 minutes 3
Green tea 75 to 80°C 1–2 minutes 4-6
Oolong 80 to 85°C 2–3 minutes 4-6
Black tea 99 °C 2–3 minutes 2-3

Here are examples of correct temperatures and steep times for the green teas outlined on this page:

Type Temperature Steep time
Sencha 80°C 1 minute
Gyokuro 60°C 2 minutes
Matcha 80°C 2 minutes
Konacha 90°C 2 minutes
Bancha 98°C 30 seconds
Houjicha 98°C 30 seconds

What are you waiting for – put the water heater on and get brewing!