How to get the right water temperature for tea

This is one of the most popular questions we hear. Getting the right water temperature for tea can be a bit intimidating.

The package says ‘heat water to 200°F’, but my stovetop doesn’t have a temperature setting. Do I need to get out a thermometer and watch the water heat up? I haven’t done chemistry since high school. 

Don’t worry, there’s an easy way to get the right water temperature for tea – it’s called the boil-and-wait method. Simply bring water to a boil then wait for it to cool to the correct temperature. You can use a kettle on the stovetop, a mug in the microwave, even a metal cup over a campfire – whatever you have around. After the water has come to a full boil (large bubbles on top of the water), remove your container from the heat. Careful – it’s going to be hot! Place it to the side and remove any cover it may have.

Now all you have to do it wait a few minutes. The time varies depending on the type of tea you’re making. Here’s a handy chart to make sure you always get it right.

Wait Time from Boil
Wait time from boil (in minutes). Feel free to print or share.


Setting a timer can be a good idea, especially if you’re doing something else at the same time. We always recommend using the time to take a breath and look out the window. There’s no better time to ponder life’s mysteries then when making a cup of tea.

Just to note, these wait times are intended to be used as general guidelines. They can vary depending on your environment, elevation, and the materials used. Adjust as you see fit.

Does the water temperature really matter?

Technically you can make tea at any water temperature, but it might not turn out all that great. If it’s too hot – you’ll scorch the leaves. Too cold and you won’t get their full potential. So yes, if you’d like to get the most from your tea, it does matter. Luckily, people have been drinking tea for thousands of years and we’ve gotten a good idea of some optimal temperatures that will give you the amazing tastes and nutrients you’re looking for.

Each type of tea (Green, Oolong, etc) has a different sweet spot temperature it likes to be brewed at. Generally, the darker the tea, the hotter the water temperature used to make it. Here’s a handy chart of the specific temperatures for each type of tea. The lighter teas – white and green in particular – are more delicate and are easily damaged in very hot water. This will often result in a bitter, overly strong tea.

Best of luck getting your water temperature just right. As always, feel free to send us a note with any questions you may have. Enjoy the tea!