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Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in Universitea |

How to Boil Water for Tea

I know, right?

Seriously. It’s not as simple as it sounds.

The boiling water part is straightforward, but it’s what you do before or after the kettle sings that really matters.

Brewing different teas requires slight variations in water temperature, and steep times are super important.

So — if you want to start drinking tea — read this!

Rules of Thumb for Brewing Perfect Tea


  1. The lighter the tea, the cooler the temperature.
  2. One to two teaspoons per six to eight ounces of water.
  3. Always start with cool water and bring that to the stated temperature.

The preferred method of bringing your water to temperature is with a kettle on the stove, however using a pot on the stove works just as well.  If all you have is a microwave, you will need to play around with your times to see when your water hits the appropriate temperatures.

Here is for what to look and listen for:

White Tea

The kettle starts to make some noise and steam comes out occasionally…OR your pot has bubbles forming on the bottom of the pot and a few have started coming to the surface.
Steep for about three minutes.

Green Tea, Green Oolongs & Sheng Pu-erh

The kettle is making noise and the steam coming out is happening more than the white tea but it is still not coming out in a steady stream… OR the bubbles in your pot are coming to the surface in groups.
Steep for about two to three minutes.

Black Tea, Dark Oolongs & Shu Pu-erh

The kettle is starting to sing… OR the water is a slow boil.
Steep for three to five minutes.


The kettle is singing… OR the water is rolling boil.
Steep for three to five minutes, however you can steep it for up to 20 minutes.  Please note longer steep times can cause the tea to taste medicinal.

Herbals and Berry Teas

The kettle is singing.  Or the water is a rolling boil.  Some teas– if they are thick roots– can actually be boiled in the water for up to twenty minutes to get the fullest flavor.  All other herbals should be steeped for five minutes and can be steeped for up to twenty.  Please note longer steep times can cause the tea to taste medicinal.