Tuesday, October 09, 2012

How to Boil Water

Above: Margaret Makes Tea for Mr. Thornton
in the movie, "North and South" from the book by Elizabeth Gaskell

There is a very informative post on how (and why) to boil water, here.  Knowing how to boil water is extremely important, because the results will not be successful in recipes, in making hot beverages, or in stove-top cooking, if the water is not boiling.

Tea Time magazine and Victoria magazine both have had articles about boiling water. Some people do not realize how the temperature of water affects the taste of the food or tea that it is used for.

In her post, Lillibeth mentions the tea kettle. The tea kettle is a metal vessel that can safely be used over a flame or an electric burner or on top of a wood stove, without breaking. Do not make the mistake of thinking the tea kettle and the tea pot are the same. While tea can be made in the tea kettle that is used to boil the water, the tea pot, usually made of glass or pottery, cannot be put over a burner. It is merely the serving pot in which the hot water from the kettle is poured. There are some metal tea pots but still they are not meant to be used as cooking vessels to be heated on a stove.

Cold water is used because it has more air in it and when it is boiled,  tea will taste very fresh. I have well-water, which is always good, but it tastes even better if the water in the house has been used often throughout the day. That way, the water drawn from the faucet is deep, fresh, and cold.

While it is possible to boil water for making tea in a large pan, or any cooking vessel with a lid, the tea kettle with its spout and lid are recommended because not too much steam will escape and the kettle will not boil dry, as it would in a mere pan.  The water will still be nice and aerated and the tea will taste better than if too much water is allowed to escape in steam during the boiling time.


amulbunny's random thoughts said...

I use my old Revere Ware tea kettle that I've had for eons. We have a gas stove so boiling water isn't a chore. I used the filtered water from the fridge and that makes things taste good.

I had a tea pot years ago, but it was recalled because of the amount of lead in the clay. Now days I use my choice of big mugs that my daughter bought me when she worked for Disney. Something special about drinking tea in a Jack Sparrow mug.

Right now my 2 favorite teas are Constant Comments Lemon Lift and Yogi's Ginger Tea. Works miracles on upset tummies. I also have some craft teas that I got at Harry & David, one that tastes like cinnamon rolls on a cold winter morning.

Fall is finally coming. Temps are dropping and clouds are forming.


Anonymous said...

Regarding the web shot: I shall never forget that most romantic, quietly understated scene between Margaret and Mr. Thornton. Margaret was from the southern part of England who resided in a beautiful parsonage in the country, and Mr. Thornton was an industrialist who resided in the northern part of England where he manufactured cotton in his highly successful mill.

lynn maust said...

that is very helpful, Lydia!

Katie in FL said...

I love Revere Ware too and have a set of pots my parents got me from a Revere Ware store in Massachusetts when I was engaged, and I still have them after 21 years of marriage. I got me tea kettle at my bridal shower from a lady in my church, and it is harmonic. When the water boils, it sounds like a harmonica and is often mistaken for a train about to enter my kitchen. Love it, and it has been through lots of pots of tea!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,
you are so right about the cold water.
I was taught that tea tastes really delicious if the water that comes from the tap is cold,and hopefully non-chlorinate.

If the water comes through the bubble screen that is installed in faucet head this increases the oxygen in the water and oxygen is what brings out the best tea taste.

Water temp for black tea should be boiling. Brewed for 5-7 minutes or according to tea manufacture directions. Just don't boil too long or the oxygen will be boiled away and you'll get flat tasting tea.

Water temp for green tea should be no higher then 180 degrees F. Brewed for no longer then 2 minutes or according to tea manufacture directions.
Different teas have different temps for brewing. I use a meat thermometer to test the water temp.

Enjoy a good cup of tea.

Mrs. J.

Lydia said...

Mrs. J. Good tips on the bubbles and oxygen in water and how it contributes to good tasting tea. If water is boiled too long or is boiled in a pan instead of a tea kettle, more steam escapes and the water is more concentrated. Tea will not taste as good, as it will taste more like minerals or hard water.

Cathy and Steve said...

Oh my goodness, such a wonderful post, and you ladies certainly have this down to an absolute science!

I have always preferred to brew tea from water boiled in a tea kettle but never appreciated that the water should be fresh and cold to start with. I shall take all of your information to heart.

One thing I DO know is that water heated in the microwave simply does not a good cup of tea make. I can always tell if my husband has taken this shortcut.

I also know to "pre-heat" a ceramic tea pot with boiling water for a few minutes prior to actually brewing tea. My favorite teas are dose hips and hibiscus, raspberry, and Lady Londonderry, and my favorite personal blend is a mix of Lady Londonderry and a touch of rose.

We're fortunate to have a small tea shop in town (It's a British Import Shop called "A Taste of Britain" that has an extensive collection of loose and boxed tea. Since I am blessed to have several beautiful china and silver tea pots, I brew a few cups nearly every day.

Sheila in Florida said...

No wonder my tea didn't come out right some of the time!
To the ladies about Revere Ware:
I have the tea kettle and it's still great after 20 years. The pots and pans have served me 40 years; they are so durable.
Sheila in FL

Anonymous said...

Our daughter worked as a nanny for a lady from England (she is married to an American) and it was there that she was introduced to the electric tea kettle, which her employer and her mother also had when they visited England. Best invention since sliced bread in that you fill it (with cold fresh water, of course!) and then can leave the room or get on with a small task and it turns itself off and is ready for your tea steeping. I love mine! I'm now trying to convince other family members to get one because they always serve me a teabag with a cup of lukewarm water from the microwave, Ick! Which they say "is just as good as using the stove" :o( Blessings, Marie

Lydia said...

I have endured tepid tea from people who just pour water from the tap into the tea pot. they have no idea how to really make tea. That is why learning to boil water is so important. The blog link is very good and I hope others will click it and go see the pictorial demo by your daughter.