Brewing Tea

TeaAmount per 6 ozWater TempSteep
Black1 level tspFull boil (212°)3-5 min
Green1 level tspSteaming briskly (175-180°)1-2 min
White2 level tspSteaming briskly (175-180°)2-3 min
Oolong1 level tspAlmost boiling (195°)2-3 min
Pu-erh1 heaping tspFull boil (212°)5 min
Purple1 heaping tspSteaming briskly (175-180°)3 min
Mate1 level tspSteaming (150-160°)3-5 min
Herbal1 heaping tspFull boil (212°)5-10 min
Rooibos1 level tspFull boil (212°)5-10 min

How to prepare loose leaf tea

Different types of tea can have very different water temperature recommendations. To get the water temperature just right, we recommend using an electric tea kettle with a temperature sensor. If you don’t have an electric kettle, you can use a stovetop kettle and pay careful attention to the water when it reaches a temperature close to a boil. If your water reaches a full boil by accident, you can always wait a few minutes for it to cool!

To prepare loose leaf tea, we recommend using a teapot, tea infuser, or tea filter. These brewing methods give the tea leaves enough room to expand as the tea steeps, resulting in a richer, more flavorful cup. Steep time is another important factor when it comes to preparing your tea – some teas have a recommended steep time of as little as one minute, while others can be infused for five minutes or more.

Tea brewing temperatures by tea type

Black tea temperature

You should prepare black tea using water that has reached a full boil. In areas close to sea level, the water temperature at a full boil will be approximately 212 degrees. If you live at a higher elevation (like us in Santa Fe!) then your water may never quite reach that temperature even at a full boil.

Green tea temperature

We recommend brewing green tea using water that is heated to 175 to 180 degrees. This water should be steaming briskly, but not yet boiling. Some speciality green teas, like Gyokuro, should be brewed at an even lower temperature, closer to 140 degrees.

White tea temperature

White tea should be prepared using water that is 175 to 180 degrees. Like green tea, white tea is more delicate than robust black or herbal teas, so it requires a cooler water temperature in order to avoid damaging the leaves.

Oolong tea temperature

You should prepare oolong tea using water that is about 195 degrees. The water should be almost, but not quite, boiling. Oolong tea falls in between green tea and black tea; some oolongs are darker and more oxidized, like black teas, while others are lighter and more delicate, similar to green teas.

Pu-erh tea temperature

We recommend preparing pu-erh tea with water that has reached a full boil, approximately 212 degrees. Pu-erh teas are aged, partially fermented teas with a full body and a smooth, earthy flavor. They’re high in caffeine and are a great choice for coffee drinkers switching to tea.

Purple tea temperature

Purple tea should be prepared using water that is about 175 to 180 degrees. Found growing wild in the Assam region of India and now primarily grown in Kenya, purple tea is a new category of tea that is low in caffeine and extremely high in antioxidants.

Herbal tea temperature

You should prepare herbal teas using water that has reached a full boil (approximately 212 degrees.) This means that there’s no need to carefully measure the temperature; you can just wait for your kettle to start boiling. Herbal teas are caffeine-free and can be infused for a longer period of time without getting bitter.

Rooibos tea temperature

Like herbal teas, rooibos teas should be prepared using boiling water with a temperature of around 212 degrees. Native to South Africa, rooibos is a full-bodied herbal tea with a nice natural sweetness. It’s a popular alternative for tea drinkers look to steer clear of caffeine.

Mate temperature

We recommend preparing mate teas using water that is approximately 150 to 160 degrees. Native to South America and popular in countries like Argentina and Chile, mate is a stimulating tea that, while not related to the true tea plant drink, does contain caffeine.

Matcha temperature

Matcha should be prepared using water that is about 175 degrees. Matcha is produced in Japan from shade-grown, stone-ground green tea leaves. Ceremonial grade matcha can be enjoyed on its own, while culinary grade matcha is a good pick for smoothies and tea lattes.

Why brewing temperature matters

It’s important to brew tea with water that is the correct temperature. If you use water that is too hot, you could burn the tea leaves, while using water that is too cool can make your tea seem weak and bland. The water temperature can also influence the caffeine content in tea. Using water that is the perfect temperature for your tea is a great way to ensure a tasty cup.

That said, you don’t necessarily need any fancy equipment like an electric kettle with a temperature control. While these devices are handy, people have been brewing tea without them for hundreds of years. You can also simply pay close attention to the water in your kettle as it warms; depending on the type of tea, it may be ready when it first starts to steam, when it’s steaming briskly, or when it has reached a full boil.