As I understand it, it is due to the relative atmospheric pressure that water boils at lower temperature further above sea level: 70C at the top of Mt Everest, for example.

Surely, then, the water could not get hot enough (and remain liquid) to brew a cup of tea? Or is that the water be boiling the important property, rather than temperature?


3 Answers 3


Tea brewed under different conditions will taste slightly differently. So no, on a high mountain, you cannot get absolutely the same taste as when brewing at sea level.

So no, it is not the boiling state of the water which determines the exact taste of the tea, it is the combination of all parameters, including temperature. And by the way, this is not simply a matter of altitude - if you use a different teapot or make a different amount of tea at the same altitude, you´ll also get temperature differences.

Of course, not that many people will notice the difference in taste when changing the brewing temperature slightly. And among the ones who notice, there is no telling whether they will like the 100 Celsius brewed tea more or less than the tea brewed at lower temperatures.

So, it is entirely possible to make good tea on a mountain, unless your personal definition is "there is exactly one type of good tea in the world, and it is the one brewed by my favorite process, and that process requires 100 degrees".


Boiling point decreases with altitude:

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Optimum temperature for brewing black tea is 100C (sea level). However, optimum temperature for green tea is 80C which corresponds to 6000m.

If you use a pressure cooker you can raise water's boiling point up to 120*C. In theory, you could make perfectly good tea in an unpressurized spaceship. How you would drink it through your space helmet is another problem.

So the answer to your question is "yes".

  • I cannot think of any possible way to brew "good" tea in a pressure cooker, one which would avoid over-steeping and not result in the loss of volatile aromas.
    – Sneftel
    Mar 31, 2022 at 15:07
  • ....okay actually I can. But it involves, like, mechanical engineering. And I'm pretty sure those tea-loving sherpas don't do anything of the sort.
    – Sneftel
    Mar 31, 2022 at 15:08
  • 1
    @sneftel ...Do Sherpas drink green tea? Another work-around would be to brew your tea in the bottom section of a stove-top espresso pot. They make small pack-pack versions.
    – Woody
    Mar 31, 2022 at 15:30
  • @Sneftel Just an idea that's not too convoluted if you already have a pressure pot to begin with: Insert tea in metal mesh ball (those tea ball things you can buy, I don't know the proper name). Put ball in pressure cooker but attach it to the inside of the lid using a magnet on the outside of the lid. Heat water. Remove magnet. Get tea out before it oversteeps. If you're already carring a pressure cooker up there, a mesh ball and magnet won't be out of the realm of possibilities.
    – Flater
    Apr 1, 2022 at 13:55

Given that you can make tea at room temperature with adequate time, not so much of a problem, really.

If you are the sort of person that will now proceed to go off on a rant about "that not being tea" you might not be a good choice to climb high mountains, at a guess...or if you do, you should only drink powdered tea mix.

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