In this quick, got to have it now society, the microwave is the go-to for a quick cup of tea or to reheat that coffee. But does it give a satisfying, refreshing cup? Some people believe that water heated in a kettle is hotter and stays hotter longer, so it brews a better cup of tea.
What does the science say?
Personal experience notwithstanding, the scientific community seems to be in agreement that water heated in a microwave to boiling is the same temperature as water brought to boiling on the stove. And, that once in the cup, the cooling rate is the same. There is some speculation that the kettle heats water more uniformly than the microwave, resulting in certain parts, especially in the center, cooling faster because they had not reached the same temperature as the rest of the cup.
Others contend that the heated kettle allows the water to remain hotter while the microwaved container immediately begins to convey the higher temperature away from the heated water. For this reason, microwavable packaging often instructs to stir or let stand for a specified time so that the heat transfers evenly throughout the dish.
And then there are the folks that claim the perfect cup of tea comes from microwaving your tea leaves or tea bag in the water rather than pouring the water over the tea after it has heated. Some studies conclude that boiling the leaves in the microwave extracts more of the nutritional compounds than traditional brewing methods.
What about nature?
Well, yes, heating the water over a flame has a satisfying earthiness about it. The act of filling the kettle, lighting the burner, waiting for the steam to build up a head so the kettle will whistle … all of that adds to the mystique of the brew. During the waiting, you’re already relaxing. Then, you have a few moments more to be mindful as you pour the boiling water over loose tea or tea bag and watch as the tendrils of color begin to flow through your cup.
By the time you sit down and take a sip, you’ve already relaxed so the tea’s catechins and warm steaminess can work their magic on your soul. Then, once you’ve rested, the caffeine slides into your senses to perk you back up so that you can move forward in the day and accomplish more.
Whatever side you’re on, you can find the perfect kettle to brew your stovetop experience or try a borosilicate glass teapot made for the microwave to create your ideal cuppa!
And if you need a new kitchen to support your tea habit, ask your local real estate agent to show you some options.