If your tea tastes bitter or weak, it may be a water temperature issue.
We've all experienced the awful, mouth-puckering flavor of an overextracted green tea. And we've all had tea so mild that you'd have to call it watery. Here are some tips to make your tea taste its best by controlling water temperature.
Take the edge off your green tea, no sweetener required.
When green tea tastes bitter, it's often because the water was too hot.
Why is that? High temperatures tend to extract more chlorophyll (the chemical responsible for its lovely green color). And chlorophyll has a very bitter flavor.
You may enjoy a bit of bitterness in your green tea. Or you may not like it at all. Getting the temperature right can be an easy flavor upgrade.
We recommend brewing green teas at 175°f / 80°c for the best flavor.
Make your black and herbal teas good and strong.
Another common issue we see is black tea or herbal tea that tastes weak or unbalanced. The culprit is often using water that is too cool. If the water is not at a full boil, it will not extract the most flavor from the tea leaves. For blended teas that have fruit, herbs, seeds, nuts, flowers or honey or caramel, a full boil brew will create an even extraction of all the ingredients.
We recommend brewing black and herbal teas at 212°f / 100°c for the strongest flavor. If you like your black or herbal teas a little milder, try them around 190°f / 90°c.
What about cold brewing?
We'd advise against it. In our experience, one of the downsides of cold brewing is having to use much more tea to get a comparable flavor strength to hot-brewed tea. Another issue you might have is an uneven extraction of flavor from non-tea ingredients like fruit or herbs. If you love Iced Tea and want to learn how we brew it, check out our Iced Tea page.
Try this temperature experiment:
Do a side-by-side taste test to taste how important water temperature is in brewing. Grab two mugs. Using the same amount of the same tea, brew one mug of tea with water at full boil or 212°f, and brew another with steaming water or 176°f. You will most definitely be able to tell the difference!
At August, what matters to us most is flavor.
Whether you're new to tea or an old pro, even a little tweak might take your tea from good to amazing. No matter what your ritual is, we want to help you get the best flavor out of any tea.