How do we know how long to infuse our tea for? How does the water temperature affect the brew?
Generally all teas come with a recommended brewing / steeping / infusing duration to bring out the best flavour the tea has to offer. However, let your taste buds guide you. Some of us may prefer a really strong bold brew, while others might prefer a more delicate infusion.
We love this website that has a timer for you based on the type of tea you are drinking . Enjoy the countdown to a perfect cuppa :
How does the water temperature affect the taste of the tea?
Ranging from 80°C to 99°C, the water temperature determines the levels of tannins released by the tea leaves. The higher the water temperature, the higher the tannin levels. Tannins are the element which contributes to the astringency or bitterness of the tea.
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Why are green teas better with a lower water temperature?
When the tea is less oxidized, the lower brewing temperature provides a complex and full flavor. Japanese green teas in particular are very raw — like fresh garden produce. And as with produce, if you put boiling water on it you will cook it. What you get in your cup will seem more like cooked vegetables than an elegant, sweet, light beverage.
The body, or viscosity, of a green tea results from dissolved particulate matter in the cup (such as miniscule hairs and leaf matter). If the water is too hot more acids will be released destroying this matter and reducing the body of the tea.
Why are black teas better with a higher water temperature?
The more oxidized a tea, the more stable. Hotter water is required to bring out the tannins in the tea into the cup. If the water is not hot enough, the brew will be weak and lacking in body.
One good experiment is to take a Japanese or Chinese green tea and use the same amount of leaf and the same steeping times but at different temperatures. Sip the resulting brews side by side and see if the difference is noticeable to you. Our bet is that it will be.