Caring for Tea
James Hayes-Bohanan , Ph.D.
Bridgewater State University Geography
Vanderbilt University Institute for Coffee Studies

UPDATED July 21, 2010

I know very little about tea so far, especially compared to what I have learned about coffee in recent years. I am learning quickly, though, thanks to the generosity of people in the tea business, who seem to be quite devoted to their beverage!
A geograher and his cafezinho
Enjoying that other beverage in Brazil
(until I get a better photo for this page)

I would love to speak about coffee or tea to your school or civic organization!


From my friends at Teavana, I have learned that tea is best prepared at a temperature between 175 and 195 degrees Farenheit, and that the optimal temperature depends upon the kind of tea being brewed. The amount of time that the tea is allowed to seep varies from tea to tea. A good tea seller will provide recommendations with the tea, and they should be followed initially, perhaps later to be adjusted to individual taste.

For green teas (meaning teas that have not been fermented), it is important not to over-brew the tea. I have seen recommended seeping times as short as 30 seconds, compared to 3 to 5 minutes for oolong, white, or black teas.

Tasting Vocubulary

Thanks to my friend Marilee for doing some research on tea vocabulary. As with wine or coffee (or any other fermented beverage, I suppose), a peculiar vocabulary has emerged among professional tasters (and other devoted afficionados). Some sites that describe the terminology for tea are:
See more at my main tea page, and come back often. As of early 2010, I am just beginning my tea research.

Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan
Department of Geography -- Bridgewater State College
Bridgewater, Massachusetts USA / EEUU / EUA