Monday, August 18, 2008

Water, Temperature & Tea

Water, Temperature & Tea

Water quality is very important to a good cup of tea.

Tap water should be filtered with a Brita or Everpure filter to avoid chemical or other bad flavors. Hard water makes bad tea, so if you are out camping, you might want to bring your own water. Soft water or pH 7 water is best for green teas, and pH 7.9 for most teas.

A rolling boil is usually needed to bring out the full flavor of teas, but lower temps are recommended for green teas to avoid bitterness. Sometimes you can allow boiling water to sit for a minute to cool down, or you can splash a little cold water into the kettle. Try using a thermometer to get a better understanding. After awhile, you'll develop an innate feeling for when the water is ready.

Temperature Scale
(Based on Tang Dynasty tea scholar Lu Yu)

Fish Eyes: 160-180° F.
Tiny bubbles begin to float to the surface. Ideal for delicate green teas.

String of Pearls: 180-190° F.
Strings of bubbles connect bottom of kettle with surface. Good for most green teas.

Turbulent Waters: 190-210° F.
A rolling boil. Best for black and oolong teas.

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