It is hard to catch a right spot between underheated and overheated cup of tea when heating in a microwave. Is there any average value which applies to every human?

If it differs from person to person, how do tea masters make ideal tea for others?

  • 3
    It differs from person to person, and there is nothing culinary about the explanation (assuming that you are talking about the drinking temperatures).
    – rumtscho
    May 11, 2014 at 15:07
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    Tea is usually served scalding hot - not because that's comfortable for everyone, but because you can just wait for a few minutes for it to cool down - whereas you need a stove or a microwave to heat it up.
    – Aaronut
    May 11, 2014 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


This answer assumes that you are asking about ideal brewing temperatures, rather than ideal drinking temperatures. The latter would, indeed, vary from person to person.

The ideal brewing temperature varies between types of tea. I have taken the following from ask.com, but the particulars are found elsewhere, too, like here:

These steeping times are only approximate, and you should adjust them depending on your own personal tea taste.

Black tea - Black is the most robust of the tea varieties and can be brewed in truly boiling water, usually steeped for 4-6 minutes.

Oolong tea - As to be expected, oolong tea falls between green and black. The best temperature is around 190F. But oolong should be steeped longer than black tea, for around 5-8 minutes.

Green tea - You will need to be more gentle with your green teas. The water temperature should be around 150-160F and only steeped for 2-4 minutes.

White tea - Another delicate tea that should be treated gently. Water can be a bit warmer than for green tea, at 180F. You should let it steep longer though. At least 4-6 minutes.

Rooibos tea - This red herbal tea from South Africa is very hardy stuff and should be prepared with fully boiling water, just like black tea.

Most herbal teas - With so many different herbs that can be used for herbal tea blends, there is no way to give any temperature or steeping guidelines with any accuracy. Most herbs can be brewed in boiling water and steeped for about 5 minutes. You might need a bit of trial and error to get the perfect cup.

If you don't have a thermometer handy, you can tell the water temperature by watching the bubbles. Small bubbles will float to the surface of the water 160-170F, and you'll see strings of bubbles from the bottom of the kettle at 180-190F. After that, you'll have a full rolling boil.

Edit: The details above are also found published elsewhere, such as here, here and here.

  • 2
    Really shouldn't copy from sources like ask.com or even lifehacker. Find a reliable source.
    – Aaronut
    May 11, 2014 at 18:38
  • @Aaronut I actually asked what you have answered your comment to the question, but since this is the only answer, I feel obligated to mark it as accepted. Am I right? May 11, 2014 at 19:18
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    @DanielVartanov: You don't have to accept any answer. Although I would say that my comment is based more on common sense than culinary expertise. I may be proven wrong, but as it stands, I don't think there's any concrete answer to the specific question that you asked.
    – Aaronut
    May 11, 2014 at 20:37
  • @Aaronut: I took the quote from Ask.com, as it was well written, and bore out the particulars as confirmed by multiple sources (I have added more to my answer).
    – razumny
    May 12, 2014 at 7:06
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    @razumny Ask, Lifehacker etc are paid listing services. People write any old stuff to get paid. This information sometimes gets copied back to Wikipedia etc, which suffers similar problems. Issue is no reasonable amount of people to publicly vote for correctness, or to offer opposing views. The tea temp and time brewing table for example has no actual research citations, just tea manufacturers. And this info gets copied around the Internet with no real research or extensive feedback done. It was probably dreamed up one day by some marketing type whom drinks fizzy cola anyway
    – TFD
    May 12, 2014 at 8:12

Tea temperature and brewing time is purely personal preference, as is tea condiments (milk, sugar, honey, lemon etc.)

The only real factor is maximum brewing heat, some teas taste very bad if brewed too hot. Most teas should be brewed at 95°C or less, which luckily is more or less what happens if you aren't too fast with pouring out the kettle. AFAIK heating tea above 95°C or boiling tea brings out a very bitter tannin that most people do not like to drink

Interestingly most tea brewing charts with any science behind them are from Asian medical studies on tea health properties, and reflect the best way to brew tea to get the claimed good bits out (antioxidants, flavonoids etc.). These brewing time and temperatures charts don't necessarily reflect on the method to get the best taste, and certainly this is anecdotal to my own experiences with tea

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