Coffee and tea are the most consumed beverages worldwide. We all prefer to make these beverages in different ways depending on how strong we take our coffee or tea.
It all starts with making the brewing water as hot as possible because the temperature of a cup of coffee or tea matters.
It determines the taste of your coffee or tea, making drinking it a terrible or pleasant affair.
Water that’s low in temperature will not extract enough flavor from tea leaves or coffee grounds, giving you a tasteless beverage.
On the other hand, extremely hot water will over-extract flavor compounds from coffee grounds or tea leaves, resulting in a bitter beverage.
It’s also important to note that taking these beverages at extremely high or low temperatures can cause health issues.
For example, cold coffee or tea is often sour which may upset the stomach, while drinking scorching tea or coffee can scald your inner cheeks or tongue.
There is also scientific evidence that scorching tea or coffee can cause esophageal Cancer.
What is the Right Brewing Temperature for Tea Making?
The tea-making process should always start with getting the water temperature right.
We often confuse the brewing temperature with the serving temperature. The brewing temperature refers to how hot the water is when preparing tea and the serving temperature when drinking it.
Tea, just like coffee, should be served at a lower temperature than the brewing temperature to prevent scalding.
The steeping or tea-making temperature is guided by the type of tea leaves you use to brew your tea.
Some tea leaves undergo oxidation for longer than others. For example, green tea is mildly oxidized because it is put through very little processing. For the same reason, black tea is fully oxidized.
Pouring boiling water over tea leaves that are mildly oxidized, such as green tea, produces a bitter flavor.
Highly oxidized tea leaves, such as black tea, produce the best flavors when steeped in boiling water.
The best brewing temperature for making tea ranges from 140 – 212 degrees, depending on the type of tea leaves you use.
- Lightly oxidized teas such as white, purple, and green tea should be brewed with water boiled to temperatures between 175 to 180 °F.
- Oolong tea should be brewed using water boiled to a temperature of 195 °F.
- Highly oxidized tea such as pu-erh tea, black tea, and Rooibos tea should be brewed with fully boiled water that stands at a temperature of 212°.
You can ensure that you get your tea water at the ideal temperature by using an electric kettle with adjustable temperature controls.
Those using a tea kettle or pot to make their tea can use a tea or food thermometer to ensure their tea is always at the right temperature.
Always serve tea at temperatures of between 160 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure you appreciate its flavor.
What About the Ideal Temperature for Brewing Coffee?
Coffee experts such as the Speciality Coffee Association recommend brewing coffee at 195 to 205 °F.
That is the best temperature to extract the polyphenols from coffee beans without over-extracting or under-extracting your coffee.
The coffee brewing method you use will also determine the exact temperature of water you use to brew coffee.
- Espresso is made by forcing water boiled to 205 degrees Fahrenheit through fine coffee grounds.
- Filter coffee is brewed by slowly dripping water at 195 degrees Fahrenheit through coffee grounds in a filter.
- French press coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in water between 195 and 205 degrees for a full-bodied flavor.
Once you prepare coffee, ensure you serve it at a temperature that will give the drinker a chance to appreciate its flavor.
The ideal temperature for serving coffee is 155–175°F, a temperature slightly lower than the optimum brewing temperature.
In summary, we now know that; the ideal water temperature for brewing hot tea or coffee ranges between 175 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
The type of tea leaves, coffee grounds, and coffee-making method you use to extract tea or coffee also determines the temperature of brewing water.
- Black tea should be made with water between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Light teas like oolong and white tea are brewed with water between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Green and yellow tea should be brewed with water between 176 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Coffee should generally be brewed with water between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Try these suggestions to get the most out of your coffee grounds or tea leaves the next time you make hot tea or coffee.