Monday, February 02, 2009

A bummer and a mystery, however minor.

I hate when I make myself a cup of tea, forget that I made it, and let it sit until it's no longer hot enough.

Reheated tea is never quite right.

Why is that?

Also, why is tea better when the water is boiled on the stove, than when it's boiled in the microwave?

Don't tell me it isn't.


  1. I do this with tea all of the time. I usually put it on the counter to cool off, and then I forget about it. My husband takes it one step further, and forgets about it before it's even out of the microwave. I'll open up the microwave the next morning, and there will be a cold mug of water.

  2. It's true, microwaved water just doesn't seem right. Though I do find that water from the electric kettle on the counter is just as good as from the stove. Perhaps it has to do with how the water comes in contact with the tea leaves. I think tea is MUCH better if the hot water is poured over the tea leaves, than if the tea bag (or strainer) is dunked into the hot water. Sounds insane. I know. I'm okay with that.

  3. When you reheat tea in a microwave (like any sane person would), it tends to bring out the tannins to the point they are overwhelming. The effect of cooking the tea, is much the same as cooking your coffee - it releases (converts?) the volatile oils.

    This may call for a little more investigation on my part and another post about (traditionally) hot beverages, which are something of an obsession for me.

    As for the microwaved water, Bunny has the right of it. It's not the heating, it's the dunking. Pouring the water over the leaves makes the initial contact with the water more violent and releases more of the compounds we love so much.

    Though I think you all would probably enjoy it even more if you weren't constricting the movement of your happy little tea leaves. Let them be free to move and really release all that tea love. Then strain it - not very hard to do.

    Damn, I really am going to have to take the time to write about this soon. But not too soon. I have some other posts to do first. Because of that whole damned school thing.

  4. Yep, Bunny's right... water must be poured over the leaves. It's always a bummer in a breakfast place to order hot tea and be given a mug of rapidly cooling water and a teabag on the side.

    And DuWayne's right. Especially with the amount of tea I drink, I should get loose leaves and make use of one of those little strainer thingies, of which I already have three (the same people keep giving them to me and forgetting that they have). Incidentally, those are also useful for dusting cake with powdered sugar.

  5. SS -

    I have the best fucking measuring cup from Ikea, that makes a great brewing vessel. Looks like something you would see in a lab, but it actually pours without dripping. And a screen strainer is perfect, unless you are using fine cut teas - such as a golden or black Assam.

    The other nice way to deal with tea, is a French-press. My dream-press is stainless and insulated. Unfortunately, it's also nearly seventy dollars.