There is a world of deliciousness out there in the oasis of calm that a properly brewed cup of tea can bestow.
The operative concept here is "properly brewed". Starting with clean, never-before-boiled water is one important factor. An electric tea kettle can help with this, because you can measure out just the amount of water you need for the amount of tea you're making, and bring the water to a boil very quickly.
There are varying heights of tea perfectionism a tea lover can aspire to and reach, and all sorts of fancy, loose leaf teas in which to indulge. But many tea lovers do enjoy regular, everyday tea that comes in boxes you can buy in the grocery store.
One thing the instructions on most of those boxes of tea won't tell you is that, depending on the type of tea, different water temperatures are optimal to bring out the flavor and avoid bitterness. For example, green tea should be brewed at lower temperatures, and for shorter times, than black teas (which should generally be brewed in boiling water).
If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd suspect that tea manufacturers don't divulge this important tea tidbit because they don't want to freak people out with specific water temperature instructions. Complexity turns people off, and if it seems too much like work, they might not buy the tea. So instructions just generally recommend bringing your water to a boil and letting the tea steep for 2-3 minutes.
The kettle chimes pleasantly when the water is at your chosen temperature, then keeps the water at that temperature until it's poured.
My old school method was to use a standard electric kettle and a candy thermometer, as you can see here.
Most of the time I wound up avoiding drinking my green teas, white teas, herbal teas (tisanes), and loose teas, because I didn't want to stand around and watch for the water to hit the right temperature. That gets old really quickly. Nothing is more boring that watching water boil (or not).
This gadget is close to a hundred bucks, so it's a bit pricey for a tea kettle. By contrast, the old school one I showed above (which I feel a bit disloyal to because it served me so well for so long) cost me about $15 at an after-Christmas sale. However, I have let some really nice, expensive tea go stale rather than jump through the tea-nerd hoops to brew it. So to me, it's worth it. I love it and I use it every day.
Would I recommend you buy this? If you love your green tea and you don't mind spending the green, go for it. If it's too steep (pun intended) for you, there are many nice electric kettles available at lower prices, and some even have varying degrees of temperature customizability.
This one, with all the whistles and bells including the 360-degree swivel power base for cordless convenience, blue backlit water window, removable and washable lime scale filter, boil-dry protection with auto safety shutoff, and friendly chime, is my very favorite. I'm glad I splurged on it after comparison shopping for years.
What does this have to do with health? I'll explore the link between tea and health in a further article in this Tea Tech series. Until then, share your favorite tea brewing method in the TalkBacks below.