A Complete Guide to Tea Brewing Temperatures

Tea temperature depends on the tea type. Regardless if it is a small leaf Green tea or a large leaf Puerh, there are specific temperatures ranging from 175-212F. In this guide, we lay out the most common water temperatures for brewing tea. We also give you our personal experience and recommendations for various types of teas.

Water Temperature Guidelines for Making Tea

Brewing Temperature Temperature Range Suitable Teas Examples
Low Temperature Brewing 175-185°F (80-85°C) Delicate green teas and yellow teas. Longjing, Biluochun, Sencha, Huoshan Huangya, Junshan Yinzhen
Medium Temperature Brewing 185-195°F (85-90°C) Lightly oxidized and roasted oolong teas, semi-open leaf oolong teas, green teas with open leaves, white teas with buds and heavy withering. Pekoe Bird Dragon, Guapian, Baihao Yinzhen, White Peony
High Temperature Brewing 195-212°F (90-100°C) Highly oxidized oolong teas, post-fermented Puerh tea, fully fermented dark tea, and black teas. Baozhong, Dongding, Tieguanyin, Wuyi Rock Tea, Puerh tea

Low temperature brewing 175-185°F (80- 85°C)

Ideal for brewing delicate green teas. These include varieties Longjing, Biluochun, Sencha, and yellow teas such as Huoshan Huangya and Junshan Yinzhen. We find that the sweet spot for these teas is right ay 183 Fahrenheit or 84 degrees Celsius.

Medium Temperature Brewing: 185-195°F (85-90°C)

Suitable for oolong teas. These include lightly oxidized and roasted varieties in addition to semi-open leaves like Pekoe Bird Dragon, green teas with open leaves like Guapian, and white teas with buds but heavy withering, such as Baihao Yinzhen and white peony.

High temperature Brewing: 195-212°F (90°C to 100°C)

Recommended for highly oxidized oolong teas like Baozhong, Dongding, Tieguanyin, Wuyi Rock Tea, as well as post-fermented Puerh tea and fully fermented dark tea.

Problematic Temperatures for Specific Teas

Green Tea

Impact of High Temperature: Brewing green tea with excessively high temperature water diminishes the freshness of the tea soup.

Light Oolongs

Effect of High Temperature: Brewing Oolong with water that is too hot may result in a loss of delicate and feminine nuances in the tea.

Heavy Oolongs

Consequence of Low Temperature: Brewing heavy Oolongs like Tieguanyin with water that is too cool can lead to a lack of robust aroma, affecting the intended masculine style.

The Release Rate and Speed of Soluble Substances for Tea

Increasing water temperature increases the release rate and speed of soluble substances. Conversely, lowering water temperature slows down the release. This factor influences the control of tea soup concentration, affecting the ratio of tea to water. Higher temperatures require less time to reach the desired concentration, while lower temperatures necessitate a longer brewing duration.

Bitterness and Astringency Control

  • Bitterness: Higher water temperatures intensify bitterness. For overly bitter teas, reducing the water temperature can mitigate this effect.
  • Astringency: Lower water temperatures weaken astringency. To manage astringency, not only should the water temperature be adjusted, but also the steeping time. Shorter steeping times can alleviate astringency, and to achieve the desired concentration, either increase the tea amount or extend the brewing time. If more tea is desired, increasing the amount of tea is crucial.

A Taiwanese Perspective on Tea Temperatures

Taiwan is known as one of the largest producers of Oolong tea. Throughout our 8 year stay on the island, we were repeatedly told water for brewing Oolongs, Black Tea and Puerh tea should always be brought to full boil. If you have ever visited Taiwan, you will know the Taiwanese like their liquids very hot. Go to any restaurant serving soup and it will be scolding. Locals say brewing tea at full temperature ensures impurities are removed and that freshness is preserved.