A non-transcendental fact: Tea is mostly water.. But humor me for a moment, because the implications of this statement are heavy. It connotes the importance of how you choose to heat your water to make tea, something that will determine whether your cup is top-notch or completely bland. And while using a microwave to heat your tea water is the easiest way, it’s anything but the best method. Why look beyond the microwave? There are many reasons. Can you microwave tea?
Teas require drastically different brewing temperatures
Many times, microwaving a mug makes the water too hot. This, in turn, makes removing it from the microwave a chore that can lead to burned fingers and possible scalding water spillage. Also, when the water gets too hot, you will have to wait longer to drink the fully soaked tea, which will not brew properly.
Why? Because different teas require different water temperatures. Green tea (including matcha) and white tea should be steeped at 170-180 degrees. Black, and largo, rooibos and herbal teas should be hotter, 200 degrees or more. Getting the right temperature with a microwave is like searching in the dark. You have no way of knowing. With an electric kettle that has settings for every style of tea or a built-in thermometer, all it takes is the push of a button.
Even without temperature adjustments, a kettle that you can hear heating up gives you a chance to estimate the temperature. Listening to the rising sound, you can hear your tea water simmering and simmering until it boils. If you are brewing green or white tea, pour from the kettle before it comes to a full boil, that way you can set the range to 170 to 180 degrees. As you use your kettle more, you’ll know when your water is ready just by listening.
If you want to measure the temperature of the water, you can use a kitchen thermometer. Doing this a few times can help you tell when, as you listen, the water reaches the desired temperature.
The precise temperature may not matter to you. Still, whether or not you have a special kettle or some other way of measuring temperature, you want to make sure you’re in the right neighborhood, especially if you’re shopping for better teas. Loose leaf tea won’t be worth the investment if you’re microwaving water. The flavor benefits of better quality bagged and loose leaf teas are more fully extracted if steeped at the proper temperature.
Microwaving tea is against the laws of physics
Speaking of flavor benefits, there’s actual scientific research to back up the idea that microwaving water to make tea is just…unbelievably wrong. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of Chinainvestigate how heating liquid in a microwave works. It turns out that the electric field acting as a heat source in the appliance causes the water to end up at different temperatures at the top and bottom of the cup. And a good cup of tea is all about achieving an even temperature throughout the cup.
Conversely, when a liquid such as water is heated on the stove or inside a kettle, the heat source heats the container from below. This is when a process called convection occurs, resulting in a perfectly even temperature throughout the kettle.
Unfortunately, if you microwave a cup of water for 90 seconds (as the researchers did), the device’s electric field heats it from all angles, not just from below. The result? The top of the water in the cup may be boiling hot, while the bottom is far from boiling. “Because the entire glass is also heating up, the convection process does not occur and the liquid at the top of the container ends up being much hotter than the liquid at the bottom,” the study states. Translation? A cup of seedy tea.
Tea should be relaxing, not rushed.
Next are the mental benefits of skipping the microwave. As with himSwedish coffee break tradition known as Fika, drinking tea gives pause. It’s a break from the relentless drive of the day. It is a time to immerse yourself in a moment of calm; the opportunity to slow down. Drinking tea can come with its own personal traditions, perhaps a certain cup or a certain teapot. Many tea traditions are deeply rooted in time. Microwaving tea water feels out of step with these traditions and the laid-back, old-school nature of tea. Tea is best when it is slow and deliberate. Instead, the microwave speeds up the tea, fooling the system and removing it from its sources.
Throughout the world, there are various teas steeped in a variety of forms. Something likepu-erhThey even have a rinsing ceremony when they are formally enjoyed. This includes pouring hot tea water over the surface of the closed clay pot, heating the pot, and better preparing it for hot water. There is also the rinsing of the tea itself, where hot water is poured over the tea very briefly and then discarded, opening the tea for actual steeping. Matcha requires careful mixing to prepare it properly. Tea traditions vary and it is important not to ignore them.
However, one thing remains universal: to enjoy your tea to the fullest, skip the microwave.