Hot Stuff… Tea Steeping Temperatures

There are a lot of variables to consider when steeping your tea. And one of the most important is water temperature. Steep it too hot, and you risk burning your brew. Steep it too cold, and you’ll be left with a mild tasting cup.

So how hot should your water be? To make sure you get the best results, we selflessly sampled our entire collection to develop this simple steeping temperature guide. It was hard… but we’d do it again. That’s how much we love you:

A watched pot…

While temperature is easy to determine if you have a thermometer, how can you tell without one? There are a few different tricks, but the easiest has got to be the boil-and-wait method:

  • 74-80ºC: Let boiled water sit for about 7 minutes before use.
  • 85ºC: Let boiled water sit for about 4 minutes before use.
  • 96ºC: Let boiled water sit for a minute before use.

And there you have it. As easy as watching a kettle boil.

Now that you have the best temperature for your tea, how long should you steep? Check out our post on steeping times here.

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12 Responses to Hot Stuff… Tea Steeping Temperatures

  1. Jk April 5, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

    What really suprises me is that you only have to steep Mate at 85 degrees.

    • DAVIDsTEA April 10, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

      Tried, tested, and true!

  2. jumpy monkey April 17, 2015 at 1:00 am #

    What do you mean by “you risk burning your brew ?”

    • DAVIDsTEA April 17, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

      Hey there! By using water that’s too hot, you might “burn” the tea leaves (particularly for white and green teas). This can leave you with a bitter tasting brew.

  3. Annie August 11, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

    What about 90ºC water? How long should you let the boiled water sit before using it? It’s the only one missing and I need it for the white tea. 🙂

    • DAVIDsTEA August 13, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

      Not long at all! Water boils at 100ºC, so a couple of minutes after boiling should do it.

  4. Katie April 27, 2016 at 7:41 pm #

    Why are your recommended temperatures different than the traditional temperatures?

    • DAVIDsTEA April 28, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

      Hey Katie! These are tested and true for our teas, but they are just guidelines – feel free to switch it up and play around with your teas to see what you prefer.

  5. Caitlin December 31, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

    What happens if you try to brew tea a few degrees below recommended? Eg an herbal tea or black tea at 85 instead??

    • DAVIDsTEA February 8, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

      Hi Caitlin! If you brew at a lower or higher temperature, your tea may not steep properly or taste as it should. Green and white teas can get bitter if steeped at too high a temperature, whereas herbals may not have all the flavours if the water isn’t hot enough.

  6. Krystal February 7, 2017 at 10:29 am #

    How do I find out what temperatures equal what temperature description on the tea? For examale the tea label only says “hot water” so what temperature about would that be? And also “near-boiling”. Why do some teas list the actual temperature and others just the descriptions I noted above?

    • DAVIDsTEA February 8, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

      Hi Krystal! Our new steeping instructions are more accessible to those without variable temperature kettles. That said, if you want to see the range we suggest for each tea, you can visit the product page on http://davidstea.com and hover your mouse over where it says “hot” or “near boiling” in the steeping instructions section. Typically “hot” is about 80 degrees and near boiling is 95.

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