When you use water that is too hot you can burn the tea, meaning the hot water has over extracted the tannins and the tea becomes bitter and astringent. This also prevents the tea from delivering its full health benefits to you. When you use water that is too cold, you will often under extract the tannins, and your tea will lack its full flavor and character it is meant to deliver.
We suggest an electric tea kettle with temperature settings but you do not have to spend a lot of money to get the right temperature. A meat thermometer, for example, is a cost effective way to measure the temperature of your water.
Alternatively, you can bring water to a boil. In general, black, rooibos, and herbal teas can tolerate a full boil (212°F). For oolong tea, let the boiling water cool for 1 minute (190°F) before pouring it over your tea leaves. For green and white teas, let the water cool approximately 2 minutes (175°F) before pouring.
Steeping Your Tea
To avoid a bitter taste, never allow your tea to steep beyond the recommended times. For a stronger cup of tea, add more tea leaves rather than increasing the steeping time.
Warm your teapot
While the water for your tea is heating, fill your teapot with hot tap water to temper, or preheat, it. Discard this water once your teapot is warm.