Tea is one of the world’s oldest and most popular beverages. Tea has been around for 5,000 years, according to some estimates.
Tea’s popularity has grown over thousands of years, from a single leaf to hundreds of various flavors and sorts of tea, with tea connoisseurs all over the world. Tea has had a significant impact on trade and society throughout history, and it has been established as a historic beverage.
With that in mind, many people are fascinated by tea, its history, and how it got to be the way it is now. People can be curious about which tastes are most popular in different parts of the world, or how specific tea-related rituals came to be.
Why is tea usually always made in hot water? This is one of the oldest queries in the book, especially from newer tea fans. After all, if brewing tea is as simple as soaking the tea leaves in water, why does the water have to be hot, and is cold-brew tea even possible?
The short answer is that, as with other parts of life, hot water has a different effect on tea leaves than room temperature or cold water. A cold-brew tea can still be made, but it will have different qualities than regular tea.
For the most part, brewing tea with hot water is preferred since the hot water helps to extract more flavor from the leaf, resulting in a better-tasting tea, which is what most tea lovers desire.
The Art and Science of Tea Brewing
In a variety of scenarios, hot water is preferable to lukewarm or cold water. Because it is the heat that operates on the object in issue, and the water is only a carrier for that heat, hot water can affect the attributes of a variety of objects.
Take, for example, noodle soup. You can’t successfully cook noodles in lukewarm water, and you can’t make noodles in cold water, but you can change the structure of the noodles and turn them into the cuisine that everyone knows and loves by using hot water.
This notion pertains to gadgets that remove stains from clothing or dishes, such as dishwashers and washing machines. It can also be applied to other aspects of cuisine, such as tea brewing.
The heat from the water has an effect on the leaf, which is one of the reasons for its popularity in the world of tea brewing. Teas are typically brewed at temperatures ranging from 140 degrees Fahrenheit for the more delicate green teas to boiling for the more strong teas.
This temperature allows the water to “hold” more of the molecules and chemicals that contribute to the tea’s flavor.
Tea leaves contain a variety of chemicals, and soaking them in water of any temperature aids in the extraction of those compounds from the leaf and into the water. It’s only a matter of temperature that determines which compounds are taken out and how many of them.
Because boiling water can “hold” more of those molecules, the tea will have a stronger flavor. Keep in mind that if the water temperature is too high for certain teas, the flavor molecules will not be absorbed as well, leaving you with a strange or dulled taste.
If you’re brewing a certain type of tea, it’s important to stick to the temperature recommendations.
Brewing tas with hot water, on the other hand, isn’t always the ideal option. Some teas don’t fare well in hot water because some of the chemicals extracted aren’t the tasty ones you’re looking for, but rather compounds with a more disagreeable flavor.
Using hot water to brew your tea offers a lot of benefits, especially with powerful leaves that have a lot of flavors that can be extracted, but there are instances when using hot water isn’t the best option.
It is sometimes preferable to use (relatively) cooler water. This means that instead of near-boiling water, you should choose a temperature between 140 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This isn’t freezing by any means, but it’s lukewarm in comparison.
When working with delicate tea leaves that will only become bitter if exposed to higher temperatures, this kind of mellow temperature for teas is ideal. Green teas are a good example of this.
Where the Cold Water Enters
In recent years, cold water has become increasingly popular for brewing teas, as more people learn that it draws out diverse tastes from the tea leaves you’re working with. When exposed to cold water, the same tea leaf that you would use in hot water may have a completely different flavor.
Because the method of producing cold-brew tea differs from just brewing tea in a boiling kettle, you need allow up to 24 hours for the tea to infuse with the water in order to get the most flavor out of it.
The difference with cold-brew teas is that many of the more bitter compounds, such as tannin and caffeine, are not soluble in the colder water, so they will not be absorbed into the flavor of the tea, though this also means that most cold-brew teas you make at home will have a lower caffeine content (since commercial manufacturers have ways of artificially adding caffeine).
Cold-brew teas have a lot more flowery, fruity, and vegetal characteristics than hot-brew teas. You’ll probably get sweeter undertones with these flavors than you would with most other teas you create.
Because of these factors, cold-brew tea is quite popular during the summer months, when anyone may have a lovely, sweet, and fruity drink of chilled tea without having to heat up a room by boiling water.
Cold tea needs a little more effort, space, and, most importantly, time than hot tea. Warm tea takes only a few minutes to brew, however a cold brew might take up to 24 hours to complete.
During this period, the cold water should not be allowed to warm up to room temperature, otherwise the bitter compounds will be able to re-enter the tea. This could be a problem depending on how much room you have.
Tea should not be brewed at room temperature. You can, to be more precise, but it will be the worst of both worlds. You won’t get the full, strong tastes from teas brewed with hot or boiling water, and you won’t get the floral and fruity notes from teas brewed with colder water.
Instead, you’ll obtain almost all of the bitter chemicals but none of the ones you’re looking for. So you could make a tea at room temperature, but it would be a tea that no one would desire.
What Is the Best Way to Know What Temperatures to Brew at?
Naturally, the easiest approach to figure out what temperature to make your tea at is to do some trial and error. Tea is relatively inexpensive, and water, especially from the tap, is as cheap as liquids get.
It won’t cost you much to throw out a tea that doesn’t turn out well enough to consume, even with some extra tastes. However, some people may be hesitant to experiment with their tea without a starting point.
If you’re going to brew your teas with hot water, green teas will benefit from the lower end of the warm spectrum, while highly oxidized teas will benefit from full boiling temperatures.
Many tea connoisseurs have recommendations on what the ideal tea brewing temperatures are, making it simple for newcomers to figure out what they should be using. These recommendations will go so far as to specify the size of the bubbles in the water to indicate the ideal brewing temperatures.
Green tea is made between 150 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas white tea is produced between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Because black tea and oolong tea have similar temperature ranges of 180 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, you can simply brew them at the same time.
Pu-erh tea and herbal teas can be brewed at full boil without risking overheating and introducing undesired bitter chemicals. Although different types of tea under these categories may have varying brewing temperatures, these might be used as a starting point for your research.
Because cold-brew teas are usually typically made in the refrigerator, you don’t have to worry as much about the temperature. In the United States, most refrigerators are set to a temperature of 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for most cold brews, regardless of the sort of tea you’re using.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Hot or Cold Water?
With this knowledge, you may be wondering if you should make your tea with hot water or cold water.
The correct answer is that it is entirely up to you and absolutely voluntary, although there are certain indisputable benefits and drawbacks to selecting hot water over cold water.
Using hot water to brew your tea has several advantages, including taking significantly less time to truly infuse and get all of the flavors you desire into the drink. This implies that if you are thirsty right now, you won’t have to wait as long for your tea.
If you want to explore new things, brewing tea with hot water is significantly more prevalent, so you’ll discover a lot more tea fans and types to work with and research. If you want to share your passion for tea with others, this is one of the most effective methods to do so.
When making your tea with hot water, you can receive a far wider selection of flavors than when using cold water, which can be more interesting and delightful if you enjoy trying new things.
The fact that different tea varieties prefer varying temperatures is one of the drawbacks of utilizing hot water. Unless you’re brewing tea with boiling water, this implies you’ll have to wait.