Monday, June 9, 2008

How to boil water (for tea)

From "The New Tea Lover's Treasury" by James Norwood Pratt:

The Chinese distinguish five stages of tea water as the boiling point is approached: "shrimp eyes," the first tiny bubbles that start to appear on the surface of the kettle water, "crab eyes," the secondary, larger bubbles, then "fish eyes," followed by "rope of pearls," and finally "raging torrent." Green teas require fish eyes or cooler ...

The old saying goes that "a watched pot never boils," but that simply isn't so. And a good thing, too, for how else can one be sure one is reaching those five stages of tea water? Here's what I think the stages look like:

Shrimp eyes

Crab eyes

Fish eyes

Rope of pearls

Raging torrent

I'm still considering getting that electric tea kettle favored by so many of you, but I have to say, for observing the water stages, nothing really beats a simple glass tea kettle!


  1. Don't you just love your glass tea pot and watching it go through those stages? I love mine so much and am glad to finally have a glass one. I have been drinking tea for so many years I can't remember not drinking it. But I have never owned a glass pot and never realized the importance of the boiling (or not) until this past year or so. It really does make a difference and being able to see each stage I've learned is vital in the taste and bitterness of the green & white teas. Pretty interesting too the names the chinese give for them. All things tea are so much fun!

  2. Angela, Here's an electric GLASS kettle I found on Amazon: The
    Capresso 259 H2O Plus Glass Cordless Safety Water Kettle. It's on my Wish List. My daughter-in-law in London uses one similar to this and loves it!

  3. What an excellent, excellent tutorial! Thank you!

  4. It was very interesting for me to read that blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.


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