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Mickey

Do you use a timer when brewing tea?

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Hi everyone,

I wanted to ask - does everyone here use a timer for brewing?

and if so, do you have any recommendations for good, convenient timers?

I always seem to get my tea bitter...

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Welcome to eGullet! I'm sure there are others here much ore experienced than I who will chime in, but I find that bitterness comes as a result of water temperature being too high, rather than too long of a steeping time, depending on type of tea, and style of brewing, of course.

What type of tea do you usually make? Is it loose leaf or bagged? What style of brewing do you do? Once people have more info,it will be easier to give a more accurate response.

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Yes I do. I use a regular kitchen timer sometimes, then I have an app on my phone that I use that I like. I find it is really helpful for getting the tea to really taste as it was meant to me tasted. IMHO....

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Welcome aboard! Like Kenneth, I've found that bitterness in tea comes from too-hot water rather than too-long brewing, and I'd suggest that a thermometer is a better investment than a timer when it comes to brewing. This said, I generally go by colour of the tea when a drib is poured out to judge brewedness, but I'm also not a traditionalist when it comes to teas and folks here will tell you that I drink some strange stuff.

I'd also want to know what kind of tea you're making, loose or bagged, fresh or dried, and how you're brewing.

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yeah, I use a timer when I make tea as it's just too easy to get distracted and forget.

I use the Polder model #898 Timer/Clock/Stopwatch. Has a neck cord option and it's small and it's loud enough to hear at a distance. I have two because I use them so often. $15 at Amazon.

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Lord yes. The goddess insists, even in coffeeshops, tea be brewed only two minutes.... We use these little ones she got from Flylady... She even got the boys trained to time it.

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yeah, I use a timer when I make tea as it's just too easy to get distracted and forget.

I use the Polder model #898 Timer/Clock/Stopwatch. Has a neck cord option and it's small and it's loud enough to hear at a distance. I have two because I use them so often. $15 at Amazon.

I have that one. I love it and got one for my son.

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yeah, I use a timer when I make tea as it's just too easy to get distracted and forget.

I use the Polder model #898 Timer/Clock/Stopwatch. Has a neck cord option and it's small and it's loud enough to hear at a distance. I have two because I use them so often. $15 at Amazon.

I have this same timer and it is so handy - especially if you have to go into another room, or tend to become distracted. The latter often happens to me.

I don't worry so much about the water temp. I've been preparing tea for sixty years with water "just off the boil" for most black or "red" teas and as long as they aren't "stewed" or steeped too long, they shouldn't become bitter.

However, I also believe some of the more delicate teas require lower temps and a thermometer would be necessary.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Right Andie, water temp is easy to judge for red/black teas, so steep time becomes crucial to avoid bitterness... Same holds true for oolongs. But green teas are typically steeped much cooler (160-170degF), and the steep time is much less critical. I commonly make a lung Ching (dragon well) green tea - I can tell by the bubble size what the temp is. With the same steep time, if the water is toohot (say 180 to just off the boil), it becomes very bitter, whereas with 160-165 water, I can steep for 3 min or 3.5 min with very little difference in bitterness. This isnot gong-fu style but about 4.5g/8 oz. For gong-fu, the steep time would be much less.

To answer the question directly, for green tea, I do usea timer because I find 3 minutes is hard to estimate, and I don't want to forget about it and remember 10 minutes later. When I do gong-fu oolong, I don't use a timer, since 30 sec or so is easy to estimate, and a 5 second differential is not so critical. Leaving it for 4 minutes is another story.

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yes, i always use a timer

mine is an old lux

i am sure it is every bit of 20 years old


Edited by jpr54_ (log)

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I brew all kinds of teas, and use an adjustable digital kettle to control the temp to within 5-10 degrees, use a scale when preparing tea for formal tastings or reviews, but though I have a bunch of timers, I rarely use them for tea. The most critical timings are with the very short initial infusions for very strong or aggressive young raw puerhs and green teas, and those are so short I just count them out to myself, up to 60 seconds or so. For infusions longer than that, I check the clock, and sometimes goof up but usually even a quite long infusion, if it's not at the very beginning, can be rescued by some dilution, so I'm more relaxed about those.

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Thank you for the welcome greetings!

I’m glad I joined. So many replies already!

As for the question, I guess I should have been more specific:

I usually brew green, black or earl grey teas, leaf mostly (no bags).

I don’t have a specific kind that I always use. I like to try new ones each time.

The last one I bought was Hyleys – English green tea with jasmine flowers.

I never did measure temperatures, only time. Maybe it’s time to start…

I don’t want a timer I can always have with me, even when going out or travelling,

But not something extra to carry… so I was thinking maybe a phone app is a good idea,

CkatCook, which phone app do you use?

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I use a whistle glass tea kettle for water-

it is easier to feel the bubbles on the handle or see the bubbles

and a timer for tea preparation

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I just leave the bag in the whole time. It often smacks me in the face when I tip my mug up at the end though

A millisecond before the teaspoon pokes you in the eye.

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I use a timer mainly because I like to get several infusions out of my tea. Apart from that, I don't really mind very strong tea that's been steeped "too long."

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I use a timer to brewing black tea when I want a particular taste and properties from that tea. 3 minutes = refreshing tea; 5 minutes = relaxing tea.

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I use a timer mainly because I like to get several infusions out of my tea. Apart from that, I don't really mind very strong tea that's been steeped "too long."

I do that too

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Depends. If I am brewing Chinese green tea in a gaiwan or Chinese Puehr or Oolong in a Yxing tea pot, both temperature and timing are critical, especially for the early infusions. If brewing lower leaf:water ratios for black teas or Oolong tea in a cup or western teapot I can get close enough using a water boiler (+/- 5 degrees) and estimating time and checking the color of the infusion. 

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I'm with lindag and andiesenji: I use a timer, if only because that way I'm not likely to get distracted and return to a cup of stone-cold overbrewed tea.

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I don't use a timer - I put my tea in my dutch tea cosy - so when return many hours later I have still warm over brewed tea.  I don't mind it that way - either cold or nuked if I want warmer.  

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