The Best Way To Make Tea Is To Microwave It, According To Science

A cup of tea in Turkey. Bengin Ahmad via Flickr; CC BY-ND 2.0

Every now and then, we at IFLScience write something that’s seen as a little controversial. The study linking marijuana to mental health problems, for example – or, alternatively, marijuana being good for your state of being. Features focusing on the anti-science members on the left of the spectrum, perhaps – or even that thing about not letting dogs lick your face.

This, however, may be the most controversial article we’ve ever written – well, if you’re British, that is. Research has apparently shown that the best way to make a cup of tea is to microwave it.

That’s right. If you haven’t spat out your morning cuppa in horror at this point, then you’ll be able to discover that, by using the following method of tea making, you’ll get roughly 80 percent of the catechins from your tea, and 92 percent of the caffeine – far more than if you use the traditional kettle boiling technique.

1 – Put hot water in the cup with your teabag. So far, so normal.

2 – Then, plonk the teabag-filled container in the microwave and heat it for 60 seconds at 500 watts.

3 – Wait a minute, dunk the bag up and down 10 times, squeeze it out, then enjoy your brew, you heathen.

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Catechins – a complex group of chemical compounds found in all kinds of food – are potentially good for your cardiovascular health, but this is not yet truly verifiable.

Caffeine’s effects on the human body, however, are well-documented. If you want to squash that pesky fatigue for a while or boost your mental capacity just that little bit, this is a pretty good shout.

So, if anything, microwaving your tea will eke out more caffeine than simply leaving your tea to stand, and that sounds pretty good to us.

Like watching someone make a pale-colored tea or add milk to Earl Grey, however, this monstrous method of tea making is likely to cause quite the stir among our British readers. So what gives?

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Well, just this month, a character played by David Tennant in the wildly popular TV show Broadchurch was seen to be microwaving his tea, and that was enough to cause quite the flutter of tuts online – but it appears that a scientist by the name of Dr Quan Vuong, a researcher at Australia’s University of Newcastle, is the primary antagonist here.

Back in 2012, he actually looked into microwaving (green) tea and what it would do to the compounds inside the leaves. Based on careful chemical analyses, Vuong’s study concluded that the method above extracted far more nutrients than any other. The actions of Tennant’s fictional detective just brought the paper to light again.

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So there you have it – science does ruin everything.

[H/T: Guardian via ABC News]

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