Brewing Silver Needle in the Uncivilized Wilds of the Office Kitchen

Unless you are crazy (like me), you likely don’t have your very own Zojirushi hot water pot to boil, dechlorinate, and then upkeep the water temperature at specific temperatures necessary for brewing different teas—for instance, brew a green tea in too hot a water, and you get a bitter tea; or brew a herbal tea in less than boiling water, and you get a weak tea.

Sadly, the hot water spout on the coffee machine/water filter in most offices offers at best a bit 200º water—usually a bit above that, enough for herbals, black, and red teas; but it spoils white and green teas most awfully. Silver Needle is supposedly better at weathering too-warm temperatures, but I find that it goes a bit green-bitter at such.

However, there is a method to brew up white and green teas fine in the office without a Zojirushi pot:

  1. Put the strainer, tea ball, or tea bag with the Silver Needle leaves into an empty mug. A clear mug works best, though is not necessary, because…

  2. … you’ll want to fill the mug one-third of the way with cold water. And then,

  3. Fill the mug the rest of the way up with hot water.

The cold water (which should touch the leaves at least partially) helps insulate them from the shock of the hot water coming in; and of course, the cold and hot water become more temperate.

In this manner I was able to brew a Silver Needle cup that showed up a delicate white tea, instead of what I thought of as the missing link between green and white teas. It does seem that Silver Needle holds up better to hotter temperatures, in that it doesn’t become extremely bitter—but it does go green-tea-bitter.

Currently I have on order the most expensive green tea in the Mighty Leaf catalog—Gyokuro, which requires 140º temperatures, and goes bitter pretty easily. I think I might need to resort to the Zojirushi in that case.