Photo from my review of Teavana’s Peach Momotaro.
The majority of tea companies are very good about including steeping instructions for the teas that they sell. A full set of instructions should include, at minimum, the temperature of water to use and the time that the tea should be steeped for.
If I come across a tea that doesn’t include instructions (or I have trouble finding the instructions), I fall back onto the following water temperatures and length of time:
- White – 76-85°C (170-185°F), steep for 2-5 min
- Green – 60-85°C (140-185°F), steep for 30 seconds-2 min
- Oolong – 85-90°C (185-195°F), steep for 2-3 min
- Black – 93-100°C (200-212°F), steep for 3-5 min
- Herbal/Fruit Tisanes – 93-100°C (200-212°F), steep for 3-5 min
You may notice that these times or temperatures may vary a bit from what various tea companies recommend for their own tea. As a general rule of thumb, I find all steeping instructions to be more guidelines rather than hard or fast rules. For instance, if I get a very bitter cup of green tea after following the steeping instructions to the letter, I will do a second cup (with new leaves) at a lower temperature of water at a lower steeping time. You can always play around with water temperature and steeping time until you get a cup that you enjoy because there’s no sense in having a cup of tea that isn’t any good.