Heating water taste test for tea – Microwave, Boiling, Electric

March 5, 2007 at 11:33 pm | Posted in Tea tools, accessories, Water heating | 6 Comments

When you really want to know something, do it yourself.

Long overdue testing of heated water here forth begins:

update!

The Internet Tubes Food & Drink Physics Journal responds:
This study has failed to be published due to horrendous errors in protocol, undisclosed funding to the author and violation of the rights of 3 crystal glasses.

:O

Disclaimer: This is not a real study, its just me playing with water

… on with the show:

Thing was i been using the microwave for boiling water at work to heat me a cup of water for a taj mahal assam bag. Sure, not great quality tea but i kept wondering…am i missing something?

Didnt really believe the rumors that microwaving water made tea taste different, since i dont have such fine taste buds, but i really wanted to know if i could feel a difference.

leaf: monkey picked oolong. Not the greatest quality tea, but pretty pungent and complex in flavor so to better differentiate any potential changes.

water: Trader Joes mountain spring bottled water.

boiling devices: das electric kettle hot water dispenser, the microwave, pot on the gas stove.

double blind randomized (<- obviously joking) : put some stickers on the bottom of the glasses before pouring the water representing the boiling device. poured hot water, switched the glasses around a bit until i forgot which was what. even the glasses didn’t know whose water they were holding! (tho i did violate the glasses’ rights by not getting consent to pour hot liquids into their cavities)

results:

aye! pretty clear! yearrrh…first sight – i say yup #2 is the microwave… sure looks different.

taste test:
#2: the regular taste i know,
#1: uhm somethings missing, no excitement in the taste… feels boring.
#3: the regular taste i know.

And there you have it, u can now guess #1 is microwaved, #2 electric (dont know why the leaf didnt fall), #3 boiled on the stove.

Conclusion: i concur with the rest: tea in microwaved water tastes ‘flat’ boring, not exciting on the tastebuds.

Public service announcement: Please DO NOT MICROWAVE WATER FOR TEA ! (for the good quality teas anyway, for crap tea and ‘fast’ hot water…why not)

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6 Comments »

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  1. With all due respect, this could be the least scientific experiment in history.

    1.) You’ve offered no explanation for why molecules of H20 excited by electro-magnetic waves should or would have any different properties from those excited by an electrical heating element, or those excited by fire for that matter.

    2.) “Double Blind” means neither the investigator nor the participant are aware of the nature of the treatment the participant is receiving. In this case, you were attempting to administer the test to yourself, and BOTH of you were aware.

    3.) You cannot draw a conclusion from a scientific experiment, unless that experiment is Reproducible, and a reproducible means more than once.

  2. I would like to give you a firm medium duration handshake.
    1. i don’t know the real mechanism or theory how heating differs via MW or conduction or however the water heats up on the stove.
    2. i’m aware of the definition, but i don’t plan my posts as scientific dissertations for physics journals.
    3. if you send me a couple hundred teabags, get ~50 test subjects, provide a well thought out protocol and come up with funding i shall invest an effort into creating a proper scientific experiment.
    🙂
    i’ll make some changes to this thing so that people dont conclude its some super duper reliable study.

  3. Haha, ok I will send you a $19 tea kit from Adagio. And I forgot to thank you in my original post for taking the time to do the exercise.

    Might I suggest, rather than changing the post, you fix the experiment? Given the same temperature mineral content, there really are no differences in physical properties between water heated with a heating element, and water heated with micro-waves. It wouldn’t take 50 test subjects, if you just had a friend prepare the tea, you could at least say it was single blind.

    Also, how did you make sure all three hot water samples were the same temperature? I’m told, even some Oolong teas can benefit from infusing at water closer to 180 degrees than boiling. If you boiled all three samples separately, it’s a good bet you didn’t infuse them all at the same temperature.

  4. When i receive my 10$ scale from Hong Kong i promise i will redo the test (hopefully no more than 2 weeks) *** or … i do have some tea bags, so maybe i’ll do it sooner …
    🙂
    I’ll have someone prepare the glasses and serve them in another room, with a little label on the bottom again.
    I have an electronic thermometer that measures the same thing repeatedly and hopefully its accurate +- some degrees (F)
    Next time i’ll also let the infused & strained liquor cool down because at hot temps its harder to tell when going from one to another…
    i should also include a rinse&spit inbetween
    Thx for the ideas, I enjoy contributing to the scientific community.

  5. GIVE ME A BREAK… This is not a “Double Blind” experiment silverneedles <– if that's your real name… Time to take a 6th grade science class.

  6. no shit numbskull
    have you been outside the intertubes lately?

    here’s my real identity:

    SilverNeedles is my first name,
    my last name is WordPress.com
    and i live in the internets highway apartment 3C


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