Thursday, May 27, 2010

Controlling the water temperature for gyokuro

The correct water temperature is 40-60 degrees Celsius (104-140 degrees F) for gyokuro. It should be higher temperature for low-grade tea and lower temperature for fine tea.

I did some tests for cooling the boiled water for gyokuro.

It’s sunny today. The room temperature was 22 C (72F). The test was for 80ml (2.8oz) boiled water with a small teapot and two small cups.









1. Pouring 80ml (2.8oz) boiled water into two small cups, leaving it about 30-40 seconds
2. Pouring the water from the cups into a small teapot, leaving it about 30-40 seconds
3. Pouring the water back again from the teapot into the same cups, and leaving it 30-40 seconds
4. Measuring the temperature of water in the cups

80ml (2.8oz) boiled water >
2 small cups (30sec.) > small teapot (30sec.) > the same 2 cups (30sec.) = 60 degrees C (140F)
The result was 60C (140F). It was not bad. So, you can put tealeaves into the teapot, and pour the 60C (140F) water from the cups into the teapot to brew the tea, now.

Personally I often use little cooler water than 60C (140F) for gyokuro. I wanted to get around 50C (122F) water. I’ll show you some other examples with different steps I tested.

80ml (2.8oz) boiled water:
Waited longer
2 small cups (30sec.) > small teapot (30sec.) > the same 2 cups (2min) = 55 degrees C (131F)
Waited longer2
2 small cups (30sec.) > small teapot (1min.) > the same 2 cups (1min) = 55 degrees C (131F)
Two more steps
2 small cups (30sec.) > small teapot (30sec.) > the same 2 cups (30sec.) > the same small teapot (30sec.) > the same 2 cups (30sec.) = 53 degrees C (127F)
Two more steps and waited longer
2 small cups (30sec.) > small teapot (30sec.) > the same 2 cups (30sec.) > the same small teapot (30sec.) > the same 2 cups (1.5min) = 49 degrees C (120F)


Some gyokuro tea sets include a water cooler. It is a vessel used just for cooling the hot water. If you don’t have one, you can use a small pitcher as a substitute for it. Here are some tests with a small pitcher (as a water cooler).










80ml (2.8oz) boiled water:
Small teapot (30sec.) > 2 small cups (30sec.) > pitcher (30.sec) = 55 degrees C (131F)
Waited longer
Small teapot (30sec.) > 2 small cups (1min) > pitcher (1min) = 51 degrees C (124F)
One more step
Small teapot (30sec.) > 2 small cups (30sec.) > pitcher (30.sec) > the same 2 cups (30sec.) = 50 degrees C (122F)

**Conclusion**
It is easier to make the around 50C (122F) water with a water cooler. You can have the correct temperature of water for gyokuro by transferring the boiled water among three vessels (teapot, cups, and water cooler).
*Do not wait too long at the first step. The ware might get too hot to hold.


In addition
I did other tests for different amount of water with different utensiles.

100ml (3.5oz) boiled water
Small teapot (30sec.) > 2 small cups (30sec.) > water cooler (30.sec) = 57 degrees C (135F)






40ml (1.4oz) boiled water
Small teapot (30sec.) > 2 extra-small cups (30sec.) > water cooler (30.sec) = 48 degrees C (118F)

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