It’s no wonder people are tired of experts, as apparently, we’re now making our tea wrong.
Although the amount of milk and sugar varies depending on taste, all of us tend to follow the same method when it comes to preparing tea: prep the mug with a teabag, boil the water, pour said water into the mug and wait patiently for it to brew. If milk and/or sugar is your thing, add them now.
According to Martin Isark, a professional food and drink taster, we’ve all been doing it wrong—including tea connoisseurs—and the mistake is so easily fixed.
Martin recommends that you should never use boiling water to make a traditional brew. In his words, doing so will make it taste ‘no better than cabbage water.’
Rather, Isark suggests heating the water to 80 degrees. He explained to the Daily Mail that boiling water was initially used when it was necessary to ensure the water was safe to drink.
“it’s time to debunk the myth that you should boiling water,” he added.
“Having the water too hot will kill the desirable nuances of tea and all you are left with is a strong flavour of dry, astringent tannins. Overboiling your water and dunking teabags too long leaves tea tasting no better than cabbage water.”
For those without a temperature-controlled kettle, after boiling the water, you could try to let it cool to such a degree before exposing it to your tea, though you might have a tough time determining the temperature. Isark suggests adding cold water to the mug prior to pouring the kettle. As a rule of thumb, he claims that boiling water cools down roughly by 10 degrees for every 10% of cold water added. It follows that if you’re looking for that sweet spot, the mug should contain 20% cold water before the kettle is poured.
Edward Eisler, the founder of Jing Tea, is inclined to agree, saying, “It is simply not true that you need boiling water to make a cup of tea. Many teas taste better when made with cooler water.”
As a guide, Assam and breakfast teas should be made with water at 80 degrees, while green tea is best at 50-65 degrees. Oolong tea is fine with anything up to 95 degrees.