A Simple Way to Keep Track of Your Tea's Steep Time and Temperature

A Simple Way to Keep Track of Your Tea's Steep Time and Temperature

Over the last year Matt and I have dramatically increased our tea drinking habit and through that realized that some teas need to be steeped at a different water temperature than simply just by boiling. As we start each day with a fresh pot of tea, that is then continuously re-steeped throughout the day until one of us chooses to switch it out for something new, I’ve discovered that we need a way to keep track of the tea. At least, specifically, our chosen tea’s water temperature and how long it should be steeped for. With those two requirements decided, this incredible tea tracker was born. It’s extremely simple and saves us so much hassle each day so I knew I needed to share it with you.

Pinterest-geared image showing the post title (center) and my main URL to learn more. Above the title one image showing my tea setup including the kettle, jug of water, tea pot, tea spoon, and the tea time. Below the title sits two other images, side by side, showing the process of making the tracker and the finished tracker leaning against the tea pot.

For years Matt and I have loved the fun selection of teas through David’s Tea and remember frequently browsing in their store, packaging up tea samples for our wedding, and creating our own tea-themed advent calendar. That said, last summer between David’s Tea being located further away, both of us drinking less coffee, and wanting to find a tea with no added sugar as I had started intermittent fasting we looked online and came across Tea Spot from Colorado. With our new tea source decided we quickly discovered that you don’t just steep all tea at boiling and instead each tea pouch we purchased came with a temperature you should ideally steep it at along with how long you need to wait to cool the just boiled water to reach that temperature. I love how the directions were included on each tea package allowing us to quickly refer to each tea as we made it and continue to use our simple, just on or off, electric kettle. That said, over time, Matt went online and found a new electric kettle that has six preset temperatures allowing us to have more control over the water and save time as we no longer need to wait for the water to come to boiling and then cool back down again.

Anyway, at first we had no issues as we only steeped our tea once or twice. That said, over time we added more and more teas to our collection and found ourselves re-steeping our tea batches more and more frequently. In particular this started when we purchased our two pu’erh teas as the black leaf variety says that it can be used in three to four infusions while the wild harvest green leaves are listed for more than three. With the number of potential teas increasing along with the number of infusions per each batch of tea leaves I found it sometimes hard to remember just what we were steeping sometimes and even if I did remembered I’d still need to grab the pouch out of the cupboard again to check the preferred water temperature and steep time. Rather than needing to repeatedly pull the tea out of the cupboard or ask Matt what tea he started I decided to instead create this simple tracker. This way whoever starts the tea, whether it’s Matt or I, can simply move the paperclips to show what temperature and steep duration we used. Now I don’t need to bug Matt while he’s working to check which tea he started and the tea only gets pulled out of the cupboard when it’s needed for a fresh infusion.

The Tea Tracker

Before starting the tea tracker I went through all of our Tea Spot teas and quickly jotted down the steep temperature and steep duration for each pouch. I quickly realized that some of the teas didn’t match the preset temperatures on our electric kettle and so it mattered more what temperature choices were on the kettle itself rather than the listed temperatures on the teas since we often chose the cooler setting when heating the water. Thus the Tea Tracker only needed to include the six temperatures listed on the kettle: one for each of the preset buttons. I next looked over the steep times I had jotted down for the tea and saw that the shortest time was only two minutes long while the longest was six. Since I was planning on drawing the data out as a mini table with six rows (matching the temperature settings) I decided to have the list of times go up to seven minutes, rather than start at one, since there was probably a higher probability of needing a longer steep time rather than a shorter one.

I could’ve grabbed paper and pen to sketch out my idea but I had bought myself a reMarkable2 device over Christmas so I grabbed that instead. I walked over to my kettle and wrote down all of the temperatures in one column. Beside that column I wrote out the numbers 2 to 7 for the steep time duration. I adjusted the two columns until they lined up with each other and made sure there was enough room in between the two columns to quickly write the heading, vertically, down the center. I then added a title Tea Tracker to the top and made sure it was centered properly. Once I was happy with how it looked I then exported it as a PNG through my email client to my computer and printed it out. At the same time I was dabbling with creating a chore chart for the kids, that they still haven’t started using yet, so I was able to print both items off on one page and cut them apart. With the paper in hand I next grabbed my decorative scissors and my thermal laminator.

Image shows the Tea Tracker on my reMarkable2 device with the pen laid overtop.
Working on the Tea Tracker on my reMarkable2.
Image shows the sheet of paper with a chore chart above the tea tracker. Beside it is a blue scrapbook paper container filled with paper, decorative scissors, and hole punches. Behind it sits a thermal laminator and package of laminating pouches.
I put the kids’ chore chart on the same page as the Tea Tracker so I could print them both out at the same time. Once I had it in hand I quickly grabbed my container of decorative scissors, my thermal laminator, thermal laminating pouches, and a couple of paper clips.

I wanted to use the laminator to make the Tea Tracker more secure and protect it from any future water spills. I also wanted a simple way to make it prettier and figured the scalloped scissors did the trick as a fancy border. I was, originally, also planning on trimming the laminated paper with the decorative scissors but later decided to use plain straight scissors so it would be simpler to cut and less prone to ripping in the future.

Image shows the Tea Tracker sitting on a small rectangle of paper with the edge scalloped. In the background sits the similarly trimmed chore chart, matching scissors, and the laminating pouches.
I very carefully cut around both the Tea Tracker and the chore chart with one of the scalloped scissors.

I next plugged in the laminator, inserted the Tea Tracker paper gently into the laminating pouch, and waited while my laminator heated up. Once the light turned green I carefully fed the paper into the laminator and waited patiently for it to come out the back before realizing it had gotten jammed in and I had to help pull it free. This resulted in a bit of crinkling so I carefully fed the pouch back in, turned the other way around, to help flatten the crinkles. I then cut the two sections apart and fed the chore chart back into the laminator once again to help straighten it out some more. After trimming a border around each paper I was still worried the corners were a bit too sharp, at 90 degrees, so I trimmed them off so they were only 45 degree corners instead.

Image shows most of the laminator pouch with the larger chore chart closer to the top and the Tea Tracker turned on it's side closer to the bottom of the photo. In the background sits the thermal laminator and the package of laminating pouches.
I carefully placed both pieces of paper within the laminating pouch and waited for the thermal laminator to heat up.
Image shows the Tea Tracker laminated within a tall sheet of lamination. In the background the chore chart is going into the thermal laminator sideways to remove the wrinkles on the top left side.
The laminating pouch got a bit jammed and caused wrinkling so I fed the same pouch back in, going in the other direction, once and then cut them apart to feed the chore chart through on it’s own a couple more times.
Image shows the laminated and trimmed Tea Tracker (in the front), Chore Chart (further to the back, scissors, laminator, and bits of scrap.
I then used my straight scissors to trim a healthy border around each piece of paper before trimming the sharp corners down to a safer angle.

Once the laminated sections were trimmed the Tea Tracker was ready to be used. I went simple and grabbed two paperclips to highlight what temperature and duration I selected. This way whenever the tea type is changed we can easily move the paperclips up or down depending on how the new tea differs from the old tea. Since using this I’ve found a mark, once or twice, left behind by the paperclip but was able to simply wipe it away with my fingers. If you’d rather use something other than paperclips there’s always the option of using chalk markers instead. That said I use chalk markers to mark canning jars and, sometimes, laminated chore charts but wanted something simpler with this one so I didn’t need to go looking for a chalk marker, expo marker, or paper towel whenever I need to quickly use it. Figured simplest was best in this case.

Image shows the Tea Tracker laid out on my kitchen counter with the paper clips showing 200 degrees and 6 minutes. Above the left paper clip you can see a mark between the 185 and 190 degrees showing where it was before.
Sometimes I see the odd mark like this (above the left paperclip) where a paper clip was resting but so far I can easily wipe it away

And with that the Tea Tracker is done and ready to use!

Image shows an electric kettle heating up to 175° while the tea tracker below has paperclips highlighting the 175° temperature and 5 minutes steeped. Beside it sits a blue teapot with the infuser beside it on a white mini saucer. Behind everything sits a four cup glass jug with water in it.
Almost every morning I make sure the kettle is topped up, pick out my tea, start the kettle heating, fill up the infuser with the tea leaves, and change the selected items on the Tea Tracker. Later in the day I can easily heat more water and re-steep the leaves without needing to pull out the tea again for the directions.
Image shows a scoop of black tea on the white saucer, a blue tea pot with rose petals showing in the infuser, my tea tracker with the paper clips set to 200° and 6 minutes, the kettle set to boil, and a glass jug full of water.
This even works with the more complicated tea infusions. For instance I started combining rose petals with a black tea which means I bring the water to a boil, pour just enough water into the tea pot to steep the half scoop of rose petals, set a timer for two minutes so the water can cool as the petals infuse, add the black tea leaves, pour the remaining water in, and wait another four minutes before removing the infuser. Since you can’t later remove the rose petals the re-steep instructions are way simpler so I just need to set the water temperature to 200° Fahrenheit and the steep time to six minutes.
Image shows Jasmine Pearls set in the teapot with the electric kettle heating to 175° and a tea tracker set to the proper temperature and three minutes of steep time.
Love how simple this is to adjust and use as the days progress and it really saves the overhead requirements of remembering exactly how you need to steep each tea and even what tea you’re drinking.

I absolutely love how simple this Tea Tracker is to use. I love that I don’t ever have to pull out my teas to confirm how hot the water needs to be or how long I need to steep the tea as I just need to refer to the Tea Tracker. It makes my life just a bit simpler and so I needed to share it with you in case you also might want something similar. If you want to print and laminate your own I’ve included my image to make it a bit easier on you. That said if you design your own I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

In case you're interested I included my own version here and you can download it (right below the image) if you want to use it yourself. If you do use it I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

White image shows the words "Tea Tracker" along the top. Two columns are below showing tea temperatures, matching the Cuisinart preset electric kettle, and tea steep time. The first columns shows 160°, 175°, 185°, 190°, 200°, and Boil. The time shows 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
I created a larger form of the Tea Tracker in case you want to save the image.

Let me know if this helps you out. Do you have the same issue when making your tea and, if so, would this help you out? If you do make this I’d love to know if you make it the same way or if you change it up in someway to fit you better? If so how did you change it? Or did you take this idea and use it for something else? Either way I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. I hope you’re having an amazing day.

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