For tea lovers, sometimes may wonder which type of tea should be boiled and what should be brewed. Generically, The tea with high tenderness is suitable for brewing, while the tea with low tenderness and aging properties is suitable for boiling and drinking. Kindly note that the temperature is the major factor for boiling tea.
Green tea, yellow tea, scented tea, black tea, and fragrant oolong are suitable for drinking.
White tea, Laotie tea, and sun-dried black tea are suitable for boiling directly in the pot.
Coarse black tea, old white tea with a long age, and Pu’er tea are suitable for brewing before drinking.
1. Green tea
Green tea soup with green leaves, elegant fragrance, and fresh taste. When boiling tea, the water temperature is generally 80-90 ℃. Use a glass or cover a bowl, and do not soak or boil it in a stuffy manner.
Green tea, especially high-grade green tea, is usually made of the most delicate leaves. Too high a water temperature can easily burn the tea. The green bud leaves and soup color will become dark, the freshness will be reduced, and the taste will become bitter.
2. Black tea
Black tea is the most popular tea in the world and belongs to the category of fully fermented tea. It is made of tea leaves as raw materials through withering, rolling (cutting), fermentation, drying, and other typical processes. It is named black tea because of its dry tea color and the red color of the brew.
The brewing of black tea is generally not suitable for boiling water, which is easy to be sour and astringent, thus covering the original sweetness of black tea. Therefore, drinking black tea alone is not suitable for boiling tea.
If you want to boil black tea, you usually mix it with dried flowers and milk. Boiling tea makes the taste of black tea richer. Although it is inevitably bitter, it will be covered by milk, sugar, etc., and the taste will be more concentrated and mellow.
3. Oolong tea
Oolong tea, also called green tea, belongs to semi-fermented tea. Oolong tea not only has the charm of black tea but also has the freshness of green tea. It has a strong fragrance of flowers and fruits and has the unique feature of “green leaves and red rims”. Oolong tea is suitable for brewing with a purple clay tea set, which can absorb the excessive fire of the tea itself, soften the strong gas in Oolong tea, and match it with a tea-tasting cup and tea soup with an elegant color.
New oolong tea is generally not boiled. High flushing and quick release can stimulate its high fragrance and sweet rhyme. It is easy to suffocate when boiling tea. New tea and lightly roasted oolong tea are not suitable for cooking.
Old oolong tea, like old Tieguanyin and old rock tea, can be boiled for drinking after several times of brewing, and the boiling time can be extended slowly.
4. White tea
White tea is a kind of micro-fermented tea. The traditional white tea is dried in the sun or dried gently. It is silver-white in color and has the characteristics of “green makeup and plain”.
5. Pu-erh Tea
Pu-erh tea is a post-fermented tea and is a type of aged tea that comes from Yunnan, China. It is made by fermenting and then drying large leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. There are two types of Pu-erh tea: raw (sheng) and ripe (shou). Raw Pu-erh tea is made with tea leaves that have been withered and then sun-dried. Ripe Pu-erh tea undergoes a longer fermentation process and is made with tea leaves that have been piled up and moistened to promote microbial fermentation. Both types of Pu-erh tea have a strong, earthy flavor and aroma.
When brewing Pu-erh tea, it is important to rinse the tea leaves first. This is done by pouring hot water over the leaves and then quickly discarding the water. The first infusion should be short, lasting only about 10 seconds. The water temperature should be around 95℃. Subsequent infusions can last longer, with each infusion being slightly longer than the previous one.
Pu-erh tea can be brewed multiple times, with each infusion having a slightly different flavor profile. The later infusions are often smoother and milder in flavor than the first one. Pu-erh tea can also be boiled, but this is not common practice. Boiling Pu-erh tea can cause it to become bitter and astringent.
6. Black Green Tea (Dark Tea)
Dark tea, also known as black green tea, is a post-fermented tea that is mostly suitable for cooking. This type of tea is made from relatively crude and old raw materials, and its processing requires a long time of accumulation and fermentation. As a result, it has a rich fragrance and mellow taste, and the tea soup is mostly dark brown.
Black green tea can be brewed or boiled, and pottery tea sets are recommended due to their good adsorption properties. The pottery tea set can eliminate the odor formed during the fermentation and storage of some tea leaves, making the unique aroma of dark tea more prominent. Furthermore, the rough and elegant pottery tea set complements the simplicity and dignity of black tea, highlighting the deep charm of black green tea.
Different types of tea have different brewing or cooking methods to bring out their best taste and flavor. Tender teas such as green tea, yellow tea, scented tea, black tea, and fragrant oolong are suitable for brewing, while medium teas like white tea, Laotie tea, and sun-dried black tea are suitable for boiling tea directly in the pot. Old teas like coarse black tea, old white tea, and Pu’er tea are suitable for brewing before drinking. Knowing the appropriate way to prepare each type of tea will ensure that you enjoy a satisfying cup every time.