Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What's What Wednesday 3


Time and Temperatures

Hi! Today let's talk steeping or brewing tea. Specifically the water temperature and how long the leaves should be in the water.
Did you know that each type of tea has different requirements? Well, if you've been with us since the beginning you probably picked up on that fact during our reviews when we look at the instructions.

Thankfully, most tea purveyors give you a helping hand. But if you find one you'd like to try at a festival where they scoop the tea into a bag and send you on your way...Anyway, I channeled my inner Hermione and grabbed my favorite research tools.
Found quite a few super helpful charts while scrolling Pinterest. I chose four examples.

I love the color and graphics on this one. The little tea cup and bag shows the type of tea and caffeine, then the time, and temp.

This one is cool. It the type and gives extra information like flavor, health benefits, fun facts, and steep time and temp.

These two are essentially the same simple grids, but one uses a fancy font. Which, of course, caught my attention right away! 
If you look closer at these you can see they also tell you how much tea to use if you are making hot or iced tea. Cool, huh?

Anyway, here's what I found out. There are five types of tea and three blends called tea that aren't because they aren't from the camellia sinensis plant. Of the three, mate does have caffeine...but that's for another Wednesday. 

So it boils down to this (giggles). When you are in the mood for a cup of tea no matter the type, you want it to be tasty. To get the best flavor you want to use the right temperature water and let the leaves sit for just enough time to release the flavors without bitterness. There are special pots out there to help with this. Teavana has one that "does everything but drink it for you." but it costs close to $300. Yikes! You can do this at home with your own kettle and timer and thermometer. 

Ha! The charts are ever so slightly different. Well, there you go! More debate! I'll give you the agreeing parts. Let's look at temperature first. 

Water boils at 212F/100C. Pu'erh is the only one that should get boiling water. All the rest are just under boiling or less. Mate, herbals, and rooibos steep best at 205F-208F/96C-97C. Black tea is best at 195F-205F/90C-96C. Oolong from 185F-195F/85C-90C. Whites and greens the coolest at 175F/79C.

Once you get the right temperature water on the leaves you'll set your timer minutes like this:
  • Green: 1-3
  • Black: 3-5
  • Oolong: 3
  • Pu'erh: 3-4
  • White: 4-5
  • Herbal, Mate, Rooibos: 5-6

All of them stress if you want stronger tea you add more tea NOT more minutes. Adding minutes usually results in bitterness.

I decided to check the temperature of the water we usually use for our tea in the morning. Um, it's best for whites and greens. However, we still get good results for our black tea blends with it. Probably not the best cup we could, but not the worst either.

I really hope this was helpful. It's a lot of information, but I know I learned a little something from my research.

Thank you for stopping. Happy sipping.

See you again soon!