Tea Temperature Rules of Thumb

I was wondering if any of you had a general rule of thumb on how to achieve certain temperatures with water – for example my local tea shop said that you can get an appropriate temp for most oolongs if you take boiling water off the heat and wait a few seconds. Is there a rule of thumb like that for greens?

I ask because I just have my rudimentary hot pot at work and want to try some greens and oolongs there without adding more contraptions to my desk. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!

12 Replies

Personally, not technically or professionally, I go about 180-200 on greens…but I am the easy going type…

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Cofftea said

I’m anal when it comes to my temperatures. If you’re like me, here are some ideas:

If you want a hands off approach to heating your water, I suggest tthe Chef Choice Smart Cordles Kettle:

If you want to heat the water manually as well as having something that also has a timer (432 different time/temp combo settings), I suggest the CDN Digital Tea Thermometer/Timer:

Oolonga said

I’ve been using the Chef Choice Smart Cordless Kettle for about a year now and it’s the best thing ever if you are serious about tea brewing. It doesn’t have any temperature pre-sets and allows you to choose whatever temperature you want.

Cofftea said

Upton Tea Imports sells a few Chef Choice kettles and I emailed them and said they should definitely be selling this one.

If my hot pot breaks, I’m going for the gold and getting one!!! I’m going to try and get the lifespan out of this thing, even though it was only $9 :)

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Also…have you tried the TeaTimer site?!

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Ricky admin said

I’ve been winging all my temperatures. I might cave and purchase a zojirushi in a few months. This tea hobby is getting expensive.


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teaplz said

Jacqueline, it’s going to be really hard to predict how long it’ll take for the water to cool to an appropriate temperature without knowing how much water is in your pot.

Waiting a few seconds off boiling is not going to be good for most oolongs, actually. A few seconds isn’t enough to cool down the water. At that point the temperature is probably around 208-ish. If it’s a green oolong, you probably want a temperature around 175. A darker oolong might be able to do something around 190-195.

I’d wait 2-3 minutes before pouring. That should be somewhere in the general ballpark. If anything, it’s probably better to use lower temperature water than high, especially with greens.

At work, I’m using 8oz of water at a time.

At home, I have a thermometer, and love taking the time to make everything the way I’d like. Maybe what I can do is use the thermometer at home with the amount of water I use at work, and get feel for the temps and time. If my tea tastes awful or is very incocnsitent, I might have to save the non-boiling water ones for home until I get a nice kettle like the Chef Choice!

Thanks for the info!

teaplz said

Hope it all works out! I found a really teeny pocket thermometer on Amazon that’s about the size of a pencil.


It looks huge, but it’s seriously the size of a pencil, so you’d be able to keep it in your desk drawer.

But yeah, I definitely know how annoying it is to try and guess temperatures! Hope with some tinkering at home, you can figure out the right temperature/waiting time for each tea you like!

I do have a teeny thermometer that I use for cheesemaking…hmmmmm…that might work!

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DavidT said

Lately I’ve been using a instant read thermometer to achieve that perfect brew-temp. In doing so, I’ve noticed it takes about 3 minutes to get to around 185* with the lid removed. Of course, as teaplz stated, this will vary depending on how much water you use, as well as the teapot you’re using, I’m sure.

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