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woman drinking tea

Why is the right temperature so important for tea?

Sadly, the idea that tea is ‘stimulating after three minutes and calming after five’ is still widespread. Actually, every type of tea needs a different amount of time to unfold its flavour. If you brew tea too long, it can become bitter; take the bag out too soon and the aromas may not have developed to the full. We all know taste is subjective, so trial and error is the only way to find your perfect taste experience. That said, here are a few guidelines to help you on your way.

How long does my black tea need?

Black teas are less sensitive than many other sorts, but they vary.

Tea from Darjeeling, Nepal, Nilgiri

Highland teas like Darjeeling should brew for around 3 minutes. Teas from Nepal or Nilgiri contain less tannic acid and can brew longer (5 to 6 minutes). Use boiling water (100°C).

Tea from Keemun, Yunnan

The delicate Chinese black teas Keemun and Yunnan usually unfold their flavour after 2-3 minutes. Again, use boiling water.

Tea from the islands of Ceylon and Java

These whole leaf teas from the tropical highlands unfold their full flavour after just 2-3 minutes. Use boiling water.

Broken leaf teas such as Assam, Africa and Indonesia unfold their full flavour after just one minute. Regular supermarket blends are usually blended with other (lighter) tea sorts. That makes the original tea more robust, so you can brew it for 1-3 minutes with boiling water (100°C).

’Fast’ green tea is delicate and doesn’t like to be kept waiting.

Green teas are very delicate. Depending on the sort, just a few seconds can be enough for the tea to unfold in the pot. If you leave it in the water too long, it will repay you by turning bitter. Brew times for green tea vary depending on the water temperature, which can range from 60 to 80°C. The hotter the water, the faster the tea is ready. Again, trial and error is the best method. ”If you let your tea steep too long or use water that’s too hot, try it anyway” says Christian Ulmer from 5 CUPS and some sugar. “If it tastes bitter that’s because of the tannic acid, which is actually very good for you. It contains antioxidants that neutralize free radicals.”

tea leaves

Exotic teas: Oolong and Pu-Erh

Oolong is a high quality plantation tea that can be brewed five to ten times (using 90°C water) without its losing its appeal, aroma or agreeability. Oolong tea can brew much longer than black tea or green tea. Brew times vary depending on how often the tea has brewed. For the first brew, 1-4 minutes is about right. The second brew should be a little longer, and the third brew can take around seven minutes. If you let your tea brew too long the first time, it the taste can become so intense that you no longer enjoy it.


Pu-Erh can be brewed up to 20 times, depending on the sort. The right temperature is 100°C. The first brew should take just ten seconds, and be poured away. The subsequent brews will range from pitch black at first, to brown to pink later on. The brown or lighter coloured brews taste best.

Conclusion: As you can see, water temperature is just as important for flavour as brew times. Fortunately, our CARRERA №551 heats water to precisely 40, 60, 80, 90 and 100 degrees, and has a temp control for multiple brews of high quality plantation teas. It is BPA-free as well. Sounds good? This way to our shop.

CARRERA water kettle No 551
CARRERA Water kettle №551

A stainless steel water kettle with precise temperature setting and temperature control. BPA-free.

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