Wednesday, August 7, 2013
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.
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!