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Tips for your Water Temperature

14 January 2015

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Whether in a teapot, a cup, or a tea flask, infusing tea remains simple: add water to the leaves to extract the flavors. But for the liquor to be at its best, rich and balanced, it is necessary to take care to use water at a temperature, that fits the tea.

While aged teas, wulongs and the black teas tolerate very hot temperatures,  other more fragile leaves such as white or green teas, will not tolerate boiling water. Water that is too hot will deplete the liquor of its aromatic elements and texture in addition to encouraging a faster release of the  tannins that create the sensation of  astringency in the mouth! For such delicate teas, water which is simmering will better access their potential. Here are 5 methods to achieve the desired water temperature.

The singing of the bubbles: This is the poetic approach to the art of tea as elaborated by Lu Yu (VIII century), author of the Classic of Tea: “When the water boils, it forms bubbles like the eyes of fish on the surface and produces a barely audible sound. When it sings on the edges like a spring and looks like an endless pearl necklace, it has reached its second stage of boiling. When it leaps like breakers, majestically, and resonates like a wave that swells, it has boiled just enough”. So those who have the luxury of staying patiently next to their kettle will see the first bubbles form on the surface, with quivering, around 85 ° C, while the full boiling is reached with large swirls at 100 ° C.

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Time: on average water loses about 2 ° C per minute with the kettle’s lid open. Thus a ten minute cooling pause is needed to lower the temperature of boiling water (100 ° C) to that required to prepare a green tea at 80 ° C.  This must be adjusted to your own equipment but is a good guide.

Thermal shock: Another trick which is faster but has the same effect. Water loses around 10 ° C when poured into an unheated receptacle (cup, teapot, …) pouring boiling water into an empty teapot will lower it to around 90 ° C, then transferring to a second cup or teapot, will  bring the water to a temperature of 80 ° C. This requires a little more manipulation, but the operation also has the advantage of warming the teaware.

Thermometer and cold water: Those equipped with a thermometer  with reading between 50 ° C and 100 ° C can easily add a little cold water to their hot water to obtaining the desired temperature. A simple and effective option.

The programmable kettle: Easy and reliable, these modern kettles bring water to the desired temperature, and will hold it there. An almost essential tool to any serious infuser.

Integrate the most convenient method to your daily brewing procedure to improve the quality of your tea experience.

Happy brewing!

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