As simple as a cup of tea might sound, entire rituals and cultural traditions have been created in order to make it perfectly. There’s the right kind of tea pot to use. There’s a very specific amount of time the tea should steep. And there is the British mandate of using freshly boiled, not microwaved, water.
That last factor is being questioned by Quan Vuong, from the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle on the New South Wales Central Coast. He has found through his research that microwaving green tea is not only the healthiest way to make tea, but the best tasting, too. (As you might imagine, the Brits are up in arms.) Emma Beckett, also from the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle, explained Vuong’s research in an interview on ABC Radio Central Coast.
For Vuong, it’s all about finding the best way to activate the bioactive compounds: caffeine, the amino acid theanine, and polyphenols. Apparently the traditional ways people make tea don’t extract enough of those sought-after compounds.
Lots of people will dip a tea bag in hot water for 30 seconds and be happy with that. Vuong found that method will only extract 10 percent of the benefits of tea. Following manufacturers’ instructions, Vuong found he only extracted 60 percent of the good compounds. In order to extract all the good compounds, he discovered you had to brew tea for 20 minutes at 80 degrees. Unfortunately, that’s just not practical.
So, Vuong set out for a way to make a good-tasting cup, in a practical method while extracting as many of the good compounds as possible ― and he found it. That’s when the microwave came into play.
This is how you brew the best cup of tea, according to Vuong:
- Put water in the cup with your teabag.
- Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on half power.
- Let it sit for a minute.
This method resulted in a tasty cup that extracted about 80 percent of the good compounds. The microwave doesn’t just heat the water, it helps extract the compounds, too.
Vuong claims this method results in a strong cup of tea ― and that it works equally well for black tea as it does green.
Would you give up your kettle and give this method a try?