A Guide on Water Temperature

A Guide on Water Temperature

There are four basis temperatures of water in traditional Chinese tea brewing. They are named after the size of the water bubbles when water is boiled to these temperatures. 

  • baby water (~65–70 °C): no bubbles rising but they are beginning to form at the bottom of the kettle
  • crab-eye water (~70–80 °C): smallest bubbles are rising
  • fish-eye water (~80–90 °C): the bubbles are large but haven't yet begun to boil, this is ideal for most tea
  • old man water / dragon water (100 °C): this when the water has reached a full, rolling boiling

Below is a general guideline on water temperature for different genres of tea.

White Tea Crab-Eye  (~70–80 °C) or Fish-Eye Water (~80–90 °C)
Red Tea Fish-Eye Water (~80–90 °C) or higher
Green Tea Baby Water  (~65–70 °C)
Yellow Tea Baby Water (~65-70  °C)
Sheng Puerh Tea

Aged Sheng: Fish-Eye Water (~80–90 °C) or higher

Young Sheng: Crab-Eye Water (~70–80 °C) to Fish-Eye Water (~80–90 °C)

Shou Puerh and Black Tea Fish-Eye Water (~80–90 °C) or higher
Oolong Tea

Dancong or Lightly Oxidised Oolong: Crab-Eye Water (~70–80 °C)

Others: Fish-Eye Water (~80–90 °C) or higher


Remember, this is just a general guideline. There are always exceptions; every tea is different. Have fun experimenting and adjusting based on your preference!