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Turn Up The Heat: Methods For Boiling Water

Turn Up The Heat: Methods For Boiling Water

The perfect cup of tea starts with the correct water temperature. From traditional Chinese methods to innovative appliances that remove all the guesswork, there are a number of water boiling techniques.

Traditional Chinese Methods

Traditional Chinese methods correlate the bubble size to the temperature of the water. Bubbles are said to boil in five distinct stages: Shrimp Eyes, Crab Eyes, Fish Eyes, String of Pearls and Raging Torrent. Each stage indicates the temperature at which you should boil each type of tea.

Shrimp Eye bubbles are the first small bubbles that begin to form at the bottom of the water as it boils. These bubbles are about the size of a shrimp’s eye and indicate that the water is between 155-174 °F. 

Crab Eye bubbles are slightly larger than shrimp eyes and will start to produce strands of steam at the top of the water. These bubbles are about the size of a crab’s eye and indicate that the water is at 175°F. Keep watch for crab eyes when brewing delicate green and white teas. 

Fish Eye bubbles are about the size of a fish’s eye and begin to rise to the top of the water. These bubbles indicate that the water is at 185°F.

String of Pearl bubbles are a constant stream of bubbles that form a string as they float to the top. These bubbles indicate that the water is between 195-205°F. Keep watch for strings of pearls when brewing oolong and black teas.

During the Raging Torrent stage, the water comes to a complete boil and bubbles are no longer distinctive. Water takes the shape of a flame as temperature reaches 212°F. Allow the water to cool slightly before steeping mate, herbal or rooibos teas. 

Tea Thermometer

Boiling water at the precise temperature is even easier with a tea thermometer. Tea thermometers allow you to gauge the temperature of the water as it boils. The Tea Thermometer and Timer not only takes the guesswork out of measuring temperature, but it also includes a preset tea timer that clips effortlessly to your teapot or cup. 

Electric Tea Kettle

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to boil water at the desired temperature is by using an electric tea kettle with preset temperature functions. The Breville Variable Temperature Kettle features five preset temperatures for each tea type and will maintain the selected temperature for up to twenty minutes. Another wonderful addition to any kitchen is the Zojirushi Hot Water Dispenser. The Zojirushi includes four preset temperatures and plays a song as you dispense your water. 

Each method of boiling water is unique. The key is to discover and enjoy a method that works best for you. Cheers! 

Comments (4)

Comments (4) -

Marlene Green
8/8/2013 11:20:49 AM

My mother who was not Chinese watched the bubbles in the pot and judged when to pour for brewing tea! Her teas were always delicious.

8/8/2013 1:18:18 PM

Very good to know. No more guesswork.  

Dottie Bradford
8/10/2013 5:21:40 PM

I'm kind of new to using loose tea and absolutely love the varieties and flavors of Teavana! The Bubble analogy is great but can anyone relate it to the sounds of a whistling tea kettle? I can assume the raging torrent stage is when it whistles but I've been trying to figure when I first hear the sound of a rumble, then as it builds to the point of a bit of steam escaping. I'm not quite ready for a thermometer or more equipment other than my infuser. Thanks

9/9/2013 9:51:14 PM

My wife and I both love many of teas at Teavana. We normally stock up whenever we go there, because the nearest store is about an hour drive from our house.
But after our most recent visit we will have to find a new source to buy our teas.
We went into the Lehigh Valley store a little after 5:00 this past Sunday. I asked the person working there (he said his name was Cory) what flavors are the samples? He answered with an attitude “the same as we always have.”
Next we asked to buy a cup of tea. But since it was past 5:00 and they close at 6:00, they told us they could not make us any. We were disappointed, since all they had to do was add hot water to some tea leaves in a cup. But I guess that was a company policy, so I kept my mouth shut.
Next my wife asked if one of the samples were cold and Cory told her “if you take another sample I am going to charge you for a cup of tea.” She only sampled two flavors and I believe they had about 5 or 6 to sample. For those of you who have never been to a Teavana store, these are little sample cups, probably about an ounce or two, that they only fill up less than half way. I guess whoever trained Cory never told him, if someone likes a sample they may want to buy some to take home.
My wife was so upset because of his attitude and the way he talked to her, we left the store without buying any loose teas. And that was the main reason why we drove an hour each way to that mall.
After she cooled down, I said let’s get the teas that we came here for before the store closes. She said “I’m not going back in, if you want them, you go back, I’m not going.”
So, I went back by to the store by myself. Cory is in front of the table where two of the samples are on with his arm crossed as if he was guarding The Crown Jewels. Then with a nasty tone he says to me “back again for more?”
With that my blood pressure started to rise fast and I was afraid I was going to lose my cool and cause a scene, or with his attitude it may have started a fight, so I just walked out of the store.
I will never step foot into a Teavana again!