Best temperature to brew Chinese green tea?


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Best temperature to brew Chinese green tea?

Postby Bakkoi » May 28th, '12, 15:29

This is a very broad question. There are so many types of Chinese green tea, and surely they must all have differences, but in general, what is the best temperature for brewing Chinese green tea?

In my experience, what I have found is that this type of tea performs poorly at lower temperatures. Below perhaps 170 F, brews come out tasting like little more than hot water. At 176 F (80 C), I tend to get mixed results. At 185 F, it most often seems bitter and unpleasant, but on occasion, it turns out much better than any other temperature.
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Re: Best temperature to brew Chinese green tea?

Postby debunix » May 28th, '12, 16:51

What I've been doing recently, and it does seem to make a difference when I have a chance to take the extra effort to do it, is a flash rinse at 180 degrees to 'wake up' and hydrate the leaves, and then, depending on the tea and my mood, start infusions proper at anything from 140 to 160 degrees, increasing by 10 degrees or so per infusion, and going up to 2 or 3 at 205 if the sweet-water stage is pleasant enough.

That flash rinse really seems to boost the flavor of the early infusions.

I do it by filling my electric kettle half or two thirds of the way, heat to 180, pour the flash rinse, then add a little more cool water to the kettle to drop the temperature, and then do my regular infusions, dialing the temps up a little every or every other infusion.
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Re: Best temperature to brew Chinese green tea?

Postby edkrueger » May 29th, '12, 11:22

It depends on the tea. In general, I think you should increase temperature going from buds to young leaves and increase it again going to older leaves. (I am talking about the age of the leaves on the tree, not how long since the tea has been processed.) At the same time as increasing temperature I usually decrease steep time, but its hard to give advice on that since I usually brew and drink out of a cup or gaiwan.
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Re: Best temperature to brew Chinese green tea?

Postby bambooforest » May 29th, '12, 23:14

I think majority of Chinese greens perform best at around 175F. As you said, too low of temperature and you risk not tasting the tea--but merely hot water that has tea color.

I've actually found that with one Chinese green I have currently--I have to steep for 3 minutes. This isn't unusual for Chinese greens. Particularly when you realize that many Chinese don't even decant and keep the tea leaf in their pot the entire time.

It also should be noted I'm using plenty of leaf at 3 grams per 5 ounces.

Chinese green tea does tend to be much more delicate in flavor than Japanese green and to truly enjoy its flavor, I think one has to steep accordingly.
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Re: Best temperature to brew Chinese green tea?

Postby FlyedPiper » May 30th, '12, 22:23

I'm fairly new at it... but I've found preheating a gaiwan to 150 and starting with 1.5 or 2 minutes is a good place to begin. I tend to increase times rather than temps with green tea I'm not familiar with yet. I will agree Chinese greens do better at higher temps than Japanese greens. With most Chinese greens I end up around 180 degrees by the 4th or 5th steep.

Chinese greens are forgiving though... my favorite way to drink them is to put some leaf at the bottom of a gaiwan, pour hot water (140 or so) in, let it sit for a minute and start sipping. and drink until there is only a little liquid left. Then refill with hot water again and repeat until the leaf is exhausted. The astringency levels and flavors will change throughout the session. I find it very satisfying. :mrgreen:
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Re: Best temperature to brew Chinese green tea?

Postby gingkoseto » May 31st, '12, 17:48

I think the outcome of brewing depends on water temperature, leaf/water ratio, total volume of water, type of vessel, brewing style (which affects infusion time), and what tea it is. So shall we say the best temperature depends on the rest of the factors? :wink:

I guess my brewing style is similar to that of edkrueger's. I rarely measure things and therefore have poor idea about temperature and volume. I usually use newly boiled water. Yesterday I used a (not so accurate) thermometer) to measure the newly boiled water put in my thermos. It seemed 95C or 205F. Then I guess the water I use to brew tea is around 90-95C or 195-205F, close to the 195 end when I let the water pass by an empty porcelain jar (or yusamashi? :D ) first or throwing the leaves into the water instead of water on the leaves. I use 180-195F (I guess) for a few teas such as Bi Luo Chun, but higher temperature for most Chinese green teas in a small bowl or glass mug. But I have never really measured the accurate temperatures :D
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Re: Best temperature to brew Chinese green tea?

Postby TwoDog2 » Jun 6th, '12, 23:56

Low and slow on any delicate Chinese green. I prefer 75C-80C. 85C would probably be fine. If you get up into the 90-100C range, you will often scald the leaves. The difference ought to be obvious on something like longjing. Brew one cup at 80C and one at 100C, and see how they taste side by side, after a few steepings. The 100C cup will taste tannic and scaldy...(Ok, scaldy isn't a word...but it sounds right)
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Re: Best temperature to brew Chinese green tea?

Postby iovetea » Jul 13th, '12, 15:30

everyone has a different taste so its better to to try different methods yourself.
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