I am often asked about the temperature of the water I use for my teas. My answer is pretty much always "boiling." I want to clarify that the teas I drink the most are Taiwanese Oolong and Puer. This post will mainly be about Taiwanese Oolong.
When I am in Taiwan, I watch and ask tea farmers and tea people what temperature they use for their Oolong teas. So far, no matter where I am in Taiwan, I always see them use boiling water for tea. I also notice that they don't boil their water for every infusion. I have asked them why, and they have said that after one boils up the same pot of hot water for the third time, the water is considered "dead." So here is generally what I see in Taiwan: farmers and tea people boil their water for the first infusion, and then by the 3rd or 4th infusion, they will boil the same pot of water again, for the 2nd time.
I thought it would be fun to experiment with water temperature. I had two tea friends over to taste teas with me. We brewed our Baozhong Competition Style with 190 degree, 200 degree and boiling water. We all prefer the Baozhong brewed with boiling water. It had more bouquet, body, and aftertaste. We noticed the Baozhong brewed with the lower temperatures had more sweetness.
Then we proceeded to brew the Dong Ding Select at different water temperatures. Again, we all liked the Dong Ding infused with boiling water the most.
Try it out at home and figure out what you like the most!
*Photos provided by Douglas King.