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How Hot is Too Hot?

You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me. C. S. Lewis

The making of a delightful cuppa tea. Necessary ingredients — quality tea, quality water at the appropriate temperature, steeped for the correct time.

The making of a delightful cuppa tea. Necessary ingredients — quality tea, quality water at the appropriate temperature, steeped for the correct time.

Having recently moved from Central Pennsylvania to Southern Nevada, the degree of hotness is always on our minds. Whether discussing the outdoor temperature, humidity level, or cloud coverage; overall temperature is critical to one’s year round comfort and level of activity. Another revelation for us was that we discovered we are able to tolerate higher outdoor temperatures as long as the humidity level is low. (Creating many “good hair” days.) Days filled with the brightness from the sun provides motivation and happiness to endure the warmer temperatures.

On a recent shopping adventure to the tea section of Cost Plus World Market, I was approached by a young couple asking “If I knew anything about TEA!” Well, that was just too much for me let go with just a modest response. Thus begun their unofficial tour of the teas available, where they came from, a possible delightful pairing, and how to prepare this tea for an exceptional cup. I am thinking the tour was enjoying for all as they had many questions, bought lots of tea, and tea accessories. 

As in any infusion with water the quality of the water is critical. The preference would be clear cool spring water but, since that is not easily available to all desiring a tasteful cup of tea be sure to use water as clear of added chemicals as possible. Next, of equal importance is the  proper water temperature is used for each tea and its steeping. Yes, teas do offer their best essence when steeped in the proper water temperature for the recommended time. Water can definitely be “too hot” especially when preparing a cuppa of white or green tea. Water that is too hot can be damaging to the tea leaves producing a taste that is bitter/astringent and absolutely unpalatable. Now that I have said that too hot water can produce an unpalatable cuppa tea the same can be said for water that is NOT hot enough. Black teas and herbal tisanes need a hotter water and longer steeping time to properly release their flavors. 

To read more about the different water temperatures and times for steeping check out one or all of the following web pages. The details and expertise provided on these pages will provide you the knowledge necessary for a “delightful cuppa tea”.

There are many web sites that provide accurate information on water quality and temperature. My “go to” favorite references are:

    • SevenCups Tea, Austin Hodge —an expert on Chinese Teas. Seven Cups is a tea room located in Tucson, AZ. 

    • Bill Waddington — a professional tea educator, importer, and business owner. Tea Source is primarily located in the St. Paul/Minneapolis areas of Minnesota. 

    • The Culture Cup, Kyle Stewart — a professional tea mentor, innovator, and business owner of an exceptional Tea/Coffee establishment. 

    • Adagio Teas — provides convenience and ease for obtaining quality teas. Their Masters by Adagio Teas is a new venture for providing quality artisan farmer teas. 

After beginning my day with two cups of Matcha, I am steeping a savory cuppa of Pu’erh,The Tea And Hat Lady

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