Everyone knows that to make proper tea, you have to use boiling water, right?
In fact, brewing a lot of teas at boiling temperatures can actually result in tea that’s a lot less than ideal. And the length of time you steep your tea can also have a dramatic effect on its final taste.
As a general rule, black tea, some herbal teas (including fennel seed), and pu-erh tea can all be made with boiling water. Black tea should be steeped for 3–5 minutes. Herbal teas vary based on the type of tea (the package should tell you). Pu-erh tea should be steeped for 3–5 minutes.
Green tea, on the other hand, should be brewed with water that is between 150º and 180ºF (65º–80ºC). Ideal steeping time is 3 minutes.
White tea should be made with water that is approximately 160ºF (75ºC). Ideal steeping time is 1–3 minutes.
Oolong tea is generally brewed at just below boiling temperatures, around 190º–200ºF (88º–93ºC). Oolong tea should be steeped for 3–5 minutes.
Darjeeling tea should be boiled around 185ºF (85ºC). Ideal steeping time is 3 minutes.
Rooibos tea should use water just below boiling, around 205ºF (96ºC). And rooibos should be steeped for 4–7 minutes.
Yerba mate should be made with water that is around 185º, and steeped for 4–7 minutes.
There you have it! Follow the temperature and steeping time guidelines above for the perfect cup of tea!