Friday, May 28, 2010

A tip of controlling water temperature

I have been talking about contorting the water temperature on the past three posts. The points were...

For sencha
Boiled water > Teapot > Cups = 70-80degrees C (158-176F)

For gyokuro
Boiled water > Teapot > Cups > Water cooler = 50-60 degrees C (122-140F)
By taking more time at each step, you are able to even make around 40C (104F) water.

These are just rough guides. The result will differ by the room temperature, amount of water, or tea wares. So, here is a tip for controlling temperature. It is…

Telling the temperature by touching the vessel.

I use a thermometer almost every time when I prepare tea, and found out my own guide of the temperatures. Here is my sense of the temperatures when I hold a tea ware like the picture.

80 degrees C (176F): Very hot, so I cannot hold it, or could hold it only for a second.
70 degrees C (158F): Still hot, so I can hold it only for a couple second.
60 degrees C (140F): The heat gets milder, so I can hold it about 5 seconds.
50 degrees C (122F): Warm and comfortable, so I can hold it indefinitely.
40 degrees C (104F): Lukewarm, slightly warmer than human body.

You will be able to do it with a little practice. Until your hands learn the temperatures, use a thermometer when you preparer tea. Measure the water temperature with the thermometer, and let your hands remember the feeling of the temperature by holding the vessel. It’s not difficult, and you will be able to do it soon.

Once you can tell the temperature with you hands, you are one step closer to the Japanese tea master!!

*Be careful not to burn yourself with hot water or hot tea wares when you practice.

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