Tea comes out of a teapot
April 16, 2017 5:33 AM   Subscribe

In disturbing news from the further-divided Motherland, an academic from a lesser nation has suggested (back in 2012) using so-called "science" that tea is best made in a microwave oven. This followed shocking and graphic scenes in a TV crime drama when David Tennant's character "made" a mug of "tea" with the same device, leading some to question modern manners. A few have attempted to replicate this morally questionable experiment, with varying results. No comment yet from the head of state, but some on social media and from cousins in the Western Colonies, and further considered analysis from Blighty.
posted by Wordshore (213 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ban this sick filth!
posted by ambrosen at 5:33 AM on April 16 [13 favorites]


I object to the blatant editorializing in this post. It violates MF guidelines and this should be deleted.

*puts cup in microwave while waiting for deletion*
posted by hippybear at 5:38 AM on April 16 [17 favorites]


A nation which is currently dominated by the travesty that is the teabag might as well microwave it, frankly.

Also, only Americans and Leave voters think the English can play cricket.
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Waits for deletion.

posted by tavegyl at 5:43 AM on April 16 [14 favorites]


I drink tea all day that comes out of a Flavia packet machine so I'm not sure what brand of heretic I'd be labels as in the UK.
posted by octothorpe at 5:43 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Tea taste is 50 percent ritual.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:49 AM on April 16 [30 favorites]


Im eagerly anticipating a very polite and civil discussion on the one true tea preparation method. Do I have time to make popcorn? NO I DON'T OWN A MICROWAVE YOU MONSTER AND PHILISTINE! #nevermicrowaves
posted by Lisitasan at 5:51 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


It made no sense at all. Warming up your tea in the microwave is fine, but why was his teabag still in the cup?

I don't believe he was using the microwave to actually brew tea. Nobody would ever do that. It's unthinkable.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:52 AM on April 16 [9 favorites]


One of the many things that surprised me when I went to college was that people didn't know what an electric kettle was.
posted by hoyland at 5:55 AM on April 16 [14 favorites]


A microwave? Is that some sort of Aga for poor people?
posted by quarsan at 5:57 AM on April 16 [38 favorites]


From this link: Mary Berry admitted in her show that not only had she never ordered a takeaway pizza, but that she ate hers with a knife and fork.

It reminds me of seeing this frozen pizza in the supermarket. Obviously you wouldn't eat the Doctor's fancy frozen Pizza Funghi with your paws like a dirty pleb, but how do forks work?
posted by adept256 at 5:59 AM on April 16 [17 favorites]


I drink tea all day that comes out of a Flavia packet machine so I'm not sure what brand of heretic I'd be labels as in the UK.
posted by octothorpe


It depends on your levels of shame and contrition, and whether you were dragged in front of a lenient judge. I'll be honest with you, it doesn't look promising.
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 6:00 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


Electric kettles aren't useful in the land of 120 volt wall outlets. They're considerably slower than microwave ovens or stovetops, and only convenient if you live in an impoverished situation that does not allow any other kind of cookware. Those of us in the know and sufficiently moneyed depend on electric hot pots which compensate by keeping a couple liters of water at tea-service temperature all the time.

I'll leave you all to speculate and fight over whether they are an adequate alternative.
posted by ardgedee at 6:03 AM on April 16 [9 favorites]


Looks like the Controversial Study is actually pretty tame. The section on microwave extraction just summarizes three prior studies on the industrial extraction of catechins from green tea leaves that have been soaked in ethanal for hours ahead of time. The theory seems to be that microwave heating is more likely to heat the interior of a cell and thus break cell boundaries, releasing more of the cell contents into the water. (They don't actually discuss this in any detail. But, it doesn't seem crazy compared to heating a wet leaf from the outside.) If you're drinking green tea specifically for its catechin content, then adding 30% more tea leaves, or getting a larger mug, seems like a more reliable way to achieve your goals.

Though, I am now tempted to try brewing tea in an ethanol-filled pressure vessel. Not for my health, clearly. But the mixological opportunities are interesting.
posted by eotvos at 6:05 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


When I were a lad, tea better know as a "cuppa cha" came out of a large urn as a sweet sticky faun coloured refreshment.
posted by adamvasco at 6:08 AM on April 16 [10 favorites]


My electric kettle works just fine on 120v and indeed kettles are perfectly easy to find to purchase in the U.S. I have owned several and never gone out of my way to purchase one. Let us put these damnable slanders to rest and unite in mutual crosscultural disdain of making tea in microwaves.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:13 AM on April 16 [72 favorites]


My theory: Tennant's character, Alec Hardy, is actually the long lost third Hardy Boy, and this is a signal that he's turning into Broken Alec Hardy.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:13 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I do use an electric kettle in the morning to make pour-over coffee and it works quickly enough on US electrical current. I like that it turns itself off so I don't have an OCD panic on the drive to work worrying that I've left the gas stove on.
posted by octothorpe at 6:14 AM on April 16 [15 favorites]


You own a kettle with preset temps because not all teas are cooked at boiling and how do you knooooooooow?????
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:16 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


In full honestly, I heat water in a kettle on the stovetop, whether for tea or coffee. Although I oddly use the microwave to heat water when a recipe calls for hot water. What's that about? I owned an electric kettle when living in a dorm in college, but haven't owned one for decades.
posted by hippybear at 6:16 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I mean seeped, not cooked. Microwaving is clearly cooking tea.

I'm emotional. Clearly.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:18 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


No way. Nope. Bring the kettle to a full rolling boil, pour into previously warmed tea pot.
posted by james33 at 6:19 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]


I boil fresh water in the microwave for my tea every morning. I don't boil it with the tea, of course. That's just crazy.
posted by zrail at 6:19 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


American teabags generally produce undrinkable non-tea, so it doesn't matter much what you do with them. But in general, get a kettle.
posted by Artw at 6:21 AM on April 16 [12 favorites]


When I lived in Paris, I discovered French people (OK, the French people I got to know, er, intimately) boiled water in a saucepan.

*shudder*
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:21 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Someone once made me coffee in a saucepan. I thought that was weird.

But when I mull wine or cider, I use a saucepan. Why is that acceptable?

There's something deeper going on here when it comes to heating liquids for beverages. I'm finding it more interesting the more I think about it.
posted by hippybear at 6:25 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


My extended family will view this as vindication, as they drink hot tea only occasionally and always brewed via microwave. Iced tea, which they consume by the gallon, is brewed on the stove in a large pot.

I, however, use an electric kettle, usually multiple times a day.

It works fine. Even with 120v. Even here, in the south, among the "You realize that's basically just brown lemonade you're drinking there, Nana" barbarians that share my DNA.
posted by thivaia at 6:26 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


And WTF happened to the standard coffee percolator? It used to be ever-present in homes and in fellowship halls. Now they basically don't exist anymore. What's up with that?
posted by hippybear at 6:26 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


It's interesting to me how electric kettles aren't considered an essential in the US, the way they are in the UK and India, and other tea drinking countries. I couldn't do without mine, and yes can confirm that it works perfectly fine in the US. A constant source of hot water is not the the same - the water needs to be boiling .
posted by peacheater at 6:27 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


WTF happened to the standard coffee percolator?

Drip machines are easier to use, easier to clean, and make a superior cup of coffee.
posted by zrail at 6:27 AM on April 16 [13 favorites]


I don't quite understand why the link and people here keep talking about plain tea. Tea is a cold drink that's about as sweet as a Cocola. I can't quite tell whether y'all are talking about unsweet tea or hot tea, but you're certainly talking about some sort of prefixed tea and not just tea.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:28 AM on April 16 [14 favorites]


You can have this American's electric kettle when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
posted by COD at 6:29 AM on April 16 [9 favorites]


How to make Australian billy tea.

Don't forget to stir by taking the can of boiling tea and swinging it over your head several times.
posted by adept256 at 6:29 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]




A nation which is currently dominated by the travesty that is the teabag might as well microwave it, frankly.

Threatening to kill and cook the president is a federal crime. Mods plz delete
posted by middleclasstool at 6:36 AM on April 16 [18 favorites]


I have actually had people here in the UK look at me aghast because I boil water for my tea in the microwave.

I cannot recall anyone looking at me aghast about anything before that. It was something I'd heard about but never seen. But that's clearly what it was, being looked at aghast.

At least some people here actually think there are correct and incorrect ways to heat water. It's the weirdest thing.
posted by kyrademon at 6:39 AM on April 16 [14 favorites]


A microwave? Is that some sort of Aga for poor people?

Easy now! Don't go admitting the poor are people.
posted by srboisvert at 6:44 AM on April 16 [13 favorites]


I finally took the plunge and got an electric kettle for my American house last year and I loooooove it. It even lights up with blue LEDs while heating which is pretty! But it's safe enough my kids can fill it and turn it on, it's reasonably quick to boil (maybe not as quick as the microwave but a lot safer ... taking boiling water out of the microwave is terrifying) and I've found a lot of uses for it beyond tea, like kickstarting my pasta water by getting it boiling in the kettle and then pouring it into the pot.

Anyway there's definitely a longer wait with a US kettle than a UK kettle, but it's still a pretty convenient little appliance. Closest thing to a single use appliance that I own.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:45 AM on April 16 [9 favorites]


The thing is, I have a 2.4kW kettle, and an* 850W microwave. So of course I'm going to use the more efficient heater of water with 3 times the heat output (and only twice the electricity input). In fact, I just did, while writing this comment.

(Leaves in an infuser ball: I've run out of teabags.)

*Actually, 2, stacked Lego couch style.
posted by ambrosen at 6:48 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


You are all wrong and should be ashamed of yourselves, apart from james33. Here is the obligatory link to the essay of Orwell, who, here as in many other things, anticipated the problem as far back as 1946.
posted by doop at 6:49 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Composing a truly competitive snippit of faux tea snob snark... but... naw

A big batch of (quick) iced tea works well in a sauce pan, well a couple pots, boil the right amount for the pitcher in a pan/pot large enough that you don't need to fill to the rim, remove from flame, toss in tea. Fill much larger pot with some cubes and cold tap water, immerse tea pan in cooling pan. Add a few cubes directly to tea if rushed. Change cold water a couple times as it warms. Filter into charming pitcher.

Gah, brewing method is 1% and tea quality is the rest (well the best tea can probably be boiled to death but that cook deserves that result)

Then again if it's a mug of Mango-chive-apricot (NOT ACTUALLY TEA) it really does not matter how it's brewed.
posted by sammyo at 6:50 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


The only time I use the microwave is when I'm under duress in a philistine populated school where there's no water warmer and no electric kettle. As a substitute teacher, I cannot lug my electric kettle around without looking like the crazy lady I am, but you can bet for sure that I keep tabs on which schools have a hot water pot or electric kettles lurking around in some classroom. I can't tell you how pleased I am when I find a new one.

Even then, I only use the microwave to heat the water, and then pour it over a teabag in my thermos.

At home, it's an electric kettle, then into a nice 10 cup traditional brown betty teapot, poured over loose tea and dispensed through an antique silver tea strainer held over a big ol' mug. I keep the pot warm with a fucking tea cosy, of course. This is a ritual I have refined over years after trying to live with those stupid little teapots American shops sell, usually Chinese made, too small, and too fragile. And fuck little mugs all over the place.

I have never understood how anyone can drink one cup of tea, which is why I suppose the idea of a mug with a teabag in the microwave is incomprehensible.
posted by RedEmma at 6:56 AM on April 16 [14 favorites]


You know, folks, I believe it is theoretically possible to enjoy making tea the way you like to without telling other people they are doing it wrong.

Perhaps someday scientists will discover the secret of how we can do so.
posted by kyrademon at 6:59 AM on April 16 [20 favorites]


You know, folks, I believe it is theoretically possible to enjoy making tea the way you like to without telling other people they are doing it wrong.

I do not think you understand tea.
posted by tavegyl at 7:04 AM on April 16 [61 favorites]


All this talk against microwaves makes me think most MeFites are employed as wool combers and hand loom operators.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 7:07 AM on April 16 [10 favorites]


I will never fail to be amazed by how thinly us human beings will slice our collective behavior to ensure that we can identify members of our tribe vs the ostracized "other".
posted by davejay at 7:09 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


3 grams of sencha and 200 ml of water at 70C in a side-handle kyūsu for two minutes or GTFO.
posted by slkinsey at 7:17 AM on April 16 [8 favorites]


Electric kettles aren't useful in the land of 120 volt wall outlets. They're considerably slower than microwave ovens or stovetops, and only convenient if you live in an impoverished situation that does not allow any other kind of cookware.

I think you're talking about the sort of sad electric kettle you buy at Walgreens for $10 that's a crappy heating element in a plastic pot. Which is what people at college thought I was talking about, except they called it a "water heater" because they didn't actually have a term for the thing. That's what you take on vacation, not what you use every day. A decent kettle is significantly faster than heating water on a stove.
posted by hoyland at 7:18 AM on April 16 [10 favorites]


And an indecent kettle... well, you don't want to even know.
posted by hippybear at 7:19 AM on April 16 [11 favorites]


Not only do I have an electric kettle, but my workplace (full of normal everyday Americans) does as well. Even though you could get hot water out of the Keurig machine (blech) or one of the two microwaves (shrug) or the filtered water dispenser. I don't think electric kettles are as strange here as people make them out to be. I mean, these are people who get their coffee from a Keurig and they still have a kettle for tea.
posted by misskaz at 7:19 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Ok, now what's with the "do not reboil" water for tea?
posted by sammyo at 7:28 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Can we get the sane relatives to weigh oin on this? Hello, Canadians? What, it's hockey playoffs? Shit, we're doomed to war over this now.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 7:30 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I keep a Breville IQ Kettle Pure in the office together with a kyūsu, an 8 ounce cup and a little electric scale for use with loose-leaf sencha, oolong, genmaicha and the occasional pu-erh. The kettle heats quickly to precise temperatures depending on the kind of tea I'm making. It also keeps the water at temperature, which is nice since I brew individual cups and reinfuse the same leaves multiple times for later cups (sencha is good for around three or four infusions -- I have never hit any limit with oolong). Iced tea I like to infuse cold.
posted by slkinsey at 7:31 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]


Ok, now what's with the "do not reboil" water for tea?

The idea is that when you boil the water, it gives off a lot of the air trapped in it or something. And then it won't taste as good if you boil it again and deplete it. I dunno. It doesn't taste as good. Already-boiled water is only good for watering plants.
posted by dis_integration at 7:38 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


So.... popping in the Earl Grey K-cup and pushing the button is frowned upon?
posted by xedrik at 7:40 AM on April 16 [8 favorites]


This conversation reminds a bit of this from r/ireland a couple weeks ago.
posted by chaoticgood at 7:42 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Sooo... Alton Brown did an episode about tea and used the microwave arguing that the microwave would hit the right water temperature for maximum quality extraction. You can use either bagged or loose in your preparation. I can attest that the 5 bag in a microwave does get you that black tea from orange pekoe bags just fine. Here is a blog write up on the process.
posted by jadepearl at 7:43 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Never drink anything out of a spout that can spit out soup, tea, hot chocolate, or coffee. This is mostly a rule about vending machines, but it also applies to Keurig.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:44 AM on April 16 [10 favorites]


Can we get the sane relatives to weigh oin on this? Hello, Canadians?

Don't look at me, I think tea the emperor's new clothes of beverages, something no one would voluntarily consume if it was socially acceptable to simply melt sugar in hot water and drink that. Maybe with a bit of lemon.

Don't even get me started on the vile waste of dairy that is tea with milk in it. Beautiful, wonderful cheese could have been made from that milk, and instead, it has been made to taste vaguely like last year's garden cuttings.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:47 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


As a US citizen who recently discovered the wonders of electric kettles in the U.K. and subsequently bought a nice kettle for my own home here in Texas I can attest that 240v power does produce a quicker cuppa but a nicer electric kettle on 120v (I got this one - the Cuisinart CPK-17 - yes it's $85.00 and yes that's a lot of money for a kettle, but) still works fast enough that I use it every day. It's in my top 5 favorite kitchen purchases.
posted by Doleful Creature at 7:47 AM on April 16 [9 favorites]


David Tennant's character also hit on the owner of the b & b he was staying at and is estranged from his wife after he discovered she was hooking up with his boss. So I don't know why people were up in arms because "questionable life choices" is kind of his thing.

When I make tea I use a regular old kettle on the stove (a gas stove) to heat the water. I have several tea-making implements - a couple proper teapots for loose tea, or a spare French Press if I'm only making tea for me; and sometimes I cheat and use tea bags, like I'm doing now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:55 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Maybe David Tennant's character was reminiscing about the time another David Tennant character was awoken by the re-boiling of spilled tea, allowing the earlier DT character to save the earth from a Christmas invasion.
posted by plastic_animals at 8:05 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


Oh and (seeing as how I have to put up with this and can vent here with at least physical impunity) if you're making a friggn SINGLE tea cup of tea, it is VASTLY faster NOT to fill the electric pot to the VERY brim!

many thanks for that bit of therapy
posted by sammyo at 8:14 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]


Someone once made me coffee in a saucepan. I thought that was weird.
But when I mull wine or cider, I use a saucepan. Why is that acceptable?
There's something deeper going on here when it comes to heating liquids for beverages. I'm finding it more interesting the more I think about it.


The distinction seems to be between beverages that are drunk regularly and in large amounts, and ones drunk on special occasions. If it's drunk in quantity, like coffee or tea, there is probably some sort of special device for brewing it, and making it in but otherwise a saucepan will do. If you drank mulled wine every day, you would probably have some sort of specialised wine-mulling device.

I drink buckets of strong tea every day, so I follow the method of my Irish cousins, and keep a teapot on the go all the time, with extra teabags and boiling water added as required. When the tea won't come out of the spout any more, you empty the teabags out and start again. The cousins were a large household and had a huge enamel teapot that sat permanently on the hob. I was there once when the teabags were emptied out and counted 36.

Apart from people like me, who have to drink huge amounts of tea all the time, and treat it as a sort of fuel, there are also the people who drink tea or coffee as a hobby, with fancy equipment, like kettles that give exact temperatures, and expensive loose-leaf teas. People who know I am fond of tea tend to give me fancy varieties as presents, and I have a cupboard full of flavoured versions that only get used to make iced tea in the summer, when what I would really like is a couple of kilos of strong English or Irish Breakfast.


The exception seems to be when
posted by Fuchsoid at 8:27 AM on April 16 [13 favorites]


So... I'm going to go full tea nerd on this thread. My tea is pretty much all loose-leaf, my strainers are metal, I have this electric teakettle, which heats to different temperatures and I am very happy with this setup.

I also do have a microwave. Back when I had a cheap teakettle that would only boil, I had two options for greens, whites, and oolongs: boil the water and stand over the kettle with a thermometer and a bunch of ice cubes to cool it down to the right temperature to steep, or figure out exactly how long to heat water in the microwave before dropping the steeper in. I did some of both.

This whole putting the tea leaves in the microwave thing, though - that's just weird. And for those of us using metal steepers, not a good idea.

This is a study about tea in bags. This is clearly not a study for serious tea drinkers.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:33 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


Look, SCIENCE! is a good thing, enriching every part of our lives, but THIS IS AN OFFENSE AGAINST GOD AND MAN! We need to DESTROY THESE APOSTATES! I have artinsanally crafted, local sourced, sustainably produced torches and pitchforks.


(Also, I make my iced tea in a saucepan.)
posted by Samizdata at 8:36 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Electric kettles aren't useful in the land of 120 volt wall outlets. They're considerably slower than microwave ovens or stovetops, and only convenient if you live in an impoverished situation that does not allow any other kind of cookware.

35+ million Canadians would beg to differ. We have exactly the same electricity, and we use kettles just fine. They may take a bit longer than in Europe, but are still less bother than the microwave. I just check the water level and flip a switch. A minute or so later, I have properly boiling water - don't have to check it, it turns itself off. How is that hard?
posted by jb at 8:37 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


Also: I've never tested against a microwave, but my electric kettle is substantially faster than my stovetop.
posted by jb at 8:38 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Oh and (seeing as how I have to put up with this and can vent here with at least physical impunity) if you're making a friggn SINGLE tea cup of tea, it is VASTLY faster NOT to fill the electric pot to the VERY brim!
Well, it really depends on how long it takes you bring the kettle to the sink, how you value time-spent-doing-things compared to time-spent-waiting-for-things, and how many cups you expect to drink during the time while the full kettle would have remained well above room temperature, significantly shortening the time to boil for the next cup. And, I suppose, how good you are at estimating the volume of a partially full kettle in cup units.

Also, of course, how you value the excess energy consumption and or carbon dioxide release spent heating water that remains unconsumed. Though, in cold places with electric heating and good thermostats, that isn't a concern. At least during 1/3 of the year. (In warm places with air conditioning, you get a multiplier.)

In many cases, there's a strong argument one can make for a full kettle.
Those of us in the know and sufficiently moneyed depend on electric hot pots which compensate by keeping a couple liters of water at tea-service temperature all the time.
I'm generally a fan of letting people like whatever they like. But, the number of luke-warm, flavorless, shitty cups of tea my high-school friends' parents forced me to drink prompts me to start a fight on this one. If you enjoy pouring 80C water over tea leaves, be my guest - but for the love of tea don't expect your guests to pretend it tastes anything like tea. (The correlation between people with hot pots and people who think three small tea leaves in a mug is enough for three refills may also be a contributing factor.)
posted by eotvos at 8:40 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


So, I was at an event where they were liberally giving out free bottles of a new brand of tea, some actually not sweetened at all. And it was generally quite good, certainly drinkable, not bitter, very distinctive blend. So it's a huge industrial process and I'm sure they do not brew a small teapot for each batch. Not saying this is recommended but it does work.
posted by sammyo at 8:45 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


and how many cups you expect to drink during the time while the full kettle would have remained well above room temperature

It's a well-known fact that a cuppa tea has to be made with BOILING water, not boiled water.
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:47 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


I think you're talking about the sort of sad electric kettle you buy at Walgreens for $10 that's a crappy heating element in a plastic pot.

The official (still confusing) nomenclature for this thing is a hotpot and the upside of it was that the element was hidden underneath a nonstick interior, so you could cook mac and cheese or canned soup or spaghettios straight in the pot. A must-have in dorm rooms where microwaves were not allowed.

I think a proper electric kettle was still a little bit of an oddity in American homes a decade or so ago, but the rise of cooking shows and artisanal home coffee has made them pretty popular and familiar. You can get those in Walgreens too, now, even the cordless ones. We just don't instantly identify them as tea-making-equipment and indeed someone might own a kettle for quickly boiling cooking water or making coffee but still make tea with the microwave or Keurig or some other thing.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:49 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Ok, now what's with the "do not reboil" water for tea?

I've always been told that boiling the water and then reboiling it forces out all the dissolved air, and tea made with it tastes flat and dull.
posted by Fuchsoid at 8:50 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Oh, and the whole microwave thing is just peculiar.
posted by Fuchsoid at 8:53 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I heat water for my tea by glaring at it and using energy from my righteous indignation that SOMEONE IS MAKING TEA IMPROPERLY SOMEWHERE to power heat vision eyebeams.

This is also why I'm banned for life from Denny's.
posted by delfin at 8:53 AM on April 16 [23 favorites]


Ok, now what's with the "do not reboil" water for tea?
posted by sammyo


As noted above, there are some artisanal, flavour-based reasons.

But the reason I didn't reboil water was because I used to live somewhere with crazy hard water, and reboiling would concentrate the calcium and make the kettle scale up even faster.
posted by jb at 8:55 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Not a tea drinker but I do use my microwave to make coffee. It's the timer for my French press filled with boiling water off my stove.
posted by njohnson23 at 9:01 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


I have decided based on this thread that it might be fun to develop as an affectation a feigned deep snobbery about tea preparation. Look forward to rants about the illegitimacy of bourgeois elected governments and the need to transfer all power to the workers that are interrupted by sub-rants about how that teabag swill isn't even worthy of the name "tea."
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:05 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Oh dear, so much wrong in the one thread. I blame an excess of chocolate.

  but how do forks work?

Tines down is correct, unless one wishes to appear a hayseed.

  keeping a couple liters of water at tea-service temperature all the time.

The … horror! One's tea would taste flat and over-boiled.

  not all teas are cooked at boiling

I'm very much afraid I don't follow you. One cannot have other teas: there are those who take tea — orange pekoe, if I must spell it out — and there are those who inexplicably put miscellaneous old leaves in warm water and pretend to enjoy it.
posted by scruss at 9:10 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: This is clearly not a study for serious tea drinkers.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:10 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


Darjeeling beats orange pekoe any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Fight me.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:16 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


Darjeeling beats orange pekoe any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Fight me.

Technically Darjeeling is Orange Pekoe. But yes, a first-flush Darjeeling SFTGFOP is the Champagne of Teas.
posted by dis_integration at 9:18 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Pfft, this is just a tempest in a teapot microwave.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:19 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Mister Bijou: "When I lived in Paris, I discovered French people (OK, the French people I got to know, er, intimately) boiled water in a saucepan. *shudder*"

*sips her evening tea made from water boiled in a small saucepan on an induction cooktop in approximately 1 minute*

The difference between English and French cooking, mon cher monsieur Bijou, is that this is the worst thing one can say about French cuisine.

*eyes twinkle mischievously while taking another sip*
posted by fraula at 9:30 AM on April 16 [20 favorites]


The official (still confusing) nomenclature for this thing is a hotpot

No, a kettle is different to a hotpot, whether it's made out of plastic or metal. A kettle has a spout that is distinct from the lid opening, and the base is wider than the top.
posted by zamboni at 9:30 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


> But, the number of luke-warm, flavorless, shitty cups of tea my high-school friends' parents forced me to drink prompts me to start a fight on this one. If you enjoy pouring 80C water over tea leaves, be my guest - but for the love of tea don't expect your guests to pretend it tastes anything like tea. (The correlation between people with hot pots and people who think three small tea leaves in a mug is enough for three refills may also be a contributing factor.)

Current Zojirushi models allow water to be held at temperatures other than 80C (about 175F), including 195F (about 90C) and 208F (about 98C). And you can choose whether water is heated to the selected temperature, or if water is boiled and then cooled to the selected temperature.

It's super-convenient having tea temperature water with no waiting involved, whether for one pot or one cup. I have even been known to use it for *gasp* instant coffee.
posted by needled at 9:31 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


From the last link:
He went on, “I had a cup of tea go cold once so I tried microwaving it and the bloody thing was honestly the worse thing I’ve ever tasted.

“And I’ve eaten Hershey’s chocolate.”


Never a truer word spoken. I have no idea why you ex-colonials tolerate the shite they call chocolate over here. Hershey's, in particular, tastes like it was actually meant to be some kind of display chocolate that is being accidentally eaten. Like the wax fruit in wooden bowls in the reception coffee tables/windows of middle to lower-level hotels.

I think some of the confusion over tea is the (possibly deliberate and malicious undermining of the UK by the) selling of Lipton's. Apparently it tastes fine cold or 'with ice', I think they call it. So I've heard. But it sure as shitballs doesn't make tea if you put boiling water over it. I have stopped asking for tea when I have breakfasts in diners and the like in the US because they bring a cup of weird piss that looks almost like tea but tastes of I'm-not-sure-what.

I use a kettle (Ikea stovetop) on the gas hob (I think you lot call it a stove?) and get PG locally (not everywhere, but you can find it). Tetley when times are hard. No tea if times are harder (but then, I like coffee, so that works for a replacement).
posted by Brockles at 9:32 AM on April 16 [10 favorites]


Current Zojirushi models allow water to be held at temperatures other than 80C (about 175F), including 195F (about 90C) and 208F (about 98C).

I think part of the problem with US kettles is that not only are you doing it on half the electricity (are you lot still rationing it from WW2?) but you are also trying to heat it to twice the degrees. We boil water at 100 degrees (C) and yet you lot have to boil it at 212 Degrees (F? For Fucking hot? Who knows).

Surely this must make for a HUUUUUGE wait? If you have to boil it an extra 112 degrees on 'barely registering' electrickles?
posted by Brockles at 9:35 AM on April 16 [35 favorites]


I agree that we should indeed ask a third party to intervene and abide by their opinion. I suggest the Italians (over the Canadians), as they have definitely figured out the correct methodology for coffee (moka pot).
posted by sexyrobot at 9:39 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Oh no, sexyrobot, the Italians are dead wrong about the moka pot, which scalds your coffee. The people who have the correct method for coffee are the Californians, with the AeroPress.
posted by ambrosen at 9:44 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


*Sips allday mint teabag nestled inside Muji thermo tumbler made specifically for doing such things*
posted by infini at 9:48 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]




If we concede the British are great at boiling water, will they learn to cook food a different way
posted by knuckle tattoos at 10:01 AM on April 16 [39 favorites]


I mean, surely the reason to not boil water in the microwave is so you have skin left. I don't particularly enjoy picking up a vessel heated to 100C.

Having once superheated a cup of water in a microwave, I'm in no hurry to do it again.
posted by Trifling at 10:05 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Tea is one of those things I regularly enjoy and yet find it impossible to cultivate strong preferences regarding. Fancy, non-fancy, black, green, microwaved, iced, whatever.

Putting sugar in is just weird, though.
posted by eponym at 10:14 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


If we concede the British are great at boiling water, will they learn to cook food a different way

Ah, bless. Someone who still clings to a 1970's stereotype of English food. Do you think Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey et al came out of a vacuum? English food has been wildly different to it's international perception since about 1990, and progressively more widely available in England at a higher standard since then. The Gastro Pub movement pulled a lot of the food quality in the UK upwards with a jerk.

US food is far worse (on an 'easily accessible good food' scale), based on my extensive US travelling. Although I have seen a notable uptick in it recently (last 4 years or so?) as access to better restaurants has improved (presumably the same 'Food TV pulling the average up' effect that hit the UK 20 years ago). You could always find the relatively rare nice, local pricier restaurants (as you always could in the UK), but only recently has there been any improvement in local or national chain/widely available restaurants food quality. It is getting much easier to get good, affordable food in the US much as happened in the UK during the mid 1990's.
posted by Brockles at 10:18 AM on April 16 [9 favorites]


I'm just saying if you cooked beef differently than you made glue maybe you wouldn't end up with so much horse in it
posted by knuckle tattoos at 10:47 AM on April 16 [14 favorites]


. . . My computer crashed after typing that, so maybe I'll take that as a sign and stop being a dick.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 10:51 AM on April 16 [9 favorites]


This being Easter and I having some nice caramel-infused tea around, I have developed a new hot beverage

it is the Marshmallow Peep Pour-Over

just take your favorite hot beverage and pour it over a Peep

and yes I am awaiting deletion for heresy
posted by gusandrews at 11:04 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


The Communists will only drink herbal tea because proper-TEA is considered theft.
posted by sirchutney at 11:04 AM on April 16 [15 favorites]


eponym: "Putting sugar in is just weird, though."

And milk for that matter. I'm not sure I understand how a people can profess to love tea but then hide the flavor by putting milk and sugar in it.
posted by octothorpe at 11:05 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Tea that has decent flavour to begin with doesn't get masked by a touch of milk or sugar. Which is where using decent bags or leaves and properly boiled water comes in.

TBH I suspect a bit of a vicious cycle in America where most people only have English breakfast tea in the form of low quality tea bags so it doesn't matter how you brew it as it just produces a thin brown fluid that tastes like cardboard regardless.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Put leaves in pot, add hot water, wait as long as necessary, pour, and drink. Repeat as necessary. This is the way. All variations on this are simply detours on the way that is the way.
posted by wobumingbai at 11:16 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Someone shared this UK Tinder exchange from Reddit. As an American, I didn't understand what was going on until I was informed that it about tea.
posted by cazoo at 11:19 AM on April 16 [9 favorites]


I used to have one of those Zojirushi things, but they're annoying when you drink teas that require different temperatures, so you're constantly waiting for it to cool down from the black tea setting to the green tea setting, or heat up from green to black. And the coating they use makes it harder to clean off rust once it starts up, because you can't scour it like with plain steel. Bah. Easier just to use a variable temp kettle and just heat the amount of water you need.
posted by hyperbolic at 11:25 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


You know, folks, I believe it is theoretically possible to enjoy making tea the way you like to without telling other people they are doing it wrong.

I do not think you understand tea.


I do not think you understand the Internet.
posted by theora55 at 11:26 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


But wouldn't brewing in a microwave take the chi out of the tea ? Who would want that ?
posted by y2karl at 11:32 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


are you lot still rationing it from WW2?

No, we just dial it back so that it's not so almighty terrifying that you can't have an outlet in the same room as water. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go blow my hair dry whilst standing next to my sink.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:44 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


Yes, that's why people don't fry steaks in the microwave. It ruins the chi.
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Chai, not chi
posted by infini at 11:47 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


Here is the obligatory link to the essay of Orwell, who, here as in many other things, anticipated the problem as far back as 1946.

Nonsense! Orwell is as ignorant about tea as he is about the English language. He even thinks it's supposed to be bitter, having gone so far off the "only boiling hot water" deep end that he'll spin every obvious negative into a positive. He'd be bewildered by the vast selection of teas available to connoiseurs today, many of which would be destroyed by boiling water.
posted by hyperbolic at 11:53 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


用走狗的语言者!是气不是吃,是茶不是chai! Are y'all trying to start a war?
posted by wobumingbai at 11:53 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


egative into a positive. He'd be bewildered by the vast selection of teas available to connoiseurs today, many of which would be destroyed by boiling water.


Teas that do not require a boiling water may be well served by a microwave - I do not know, cold teas and green teas are not really my thing - but are basically outside of the bounds of this discussion.
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


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.

Or you could use the far more traditional bowl and whisk technique, make matcha instead, and extract 100% of the good stuff from your tea, because you drink the leaf. #micdrop
posted by yeolcoatl at 12:01 PM on April 16 [7 favorites]


I noticed that TFA was not about taste or ritual but instead about how to extract the maximum percentage of desirable compounds from tea leaves in a reasonable amount of time.

Personally I use a variable temp electric kettle and bags on most days and a warmed pot with leaves and a strainer on two or three occasions a month. I "reboil" but only after agitating the previously boiled water with fresh water from my PUR pitcher. I'll try this microwave thing out on my next cup of Yorkshire Gold.

One thing I will never, ever, EVER do is drink coffee reheated in the microwave. Every time my mother does this I shudder to see the Lovecraftian swirl of separated oils over the greyish clot of re-heated cream quivering on the surface. What the fuck, seriously.
posted by xyzzy at 12:03 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Are y'all trying to start a war?

Us?? Its the bloody neocons
posted by infini at 12:05 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Are y'all trying to start a war?

Wouldn't be the first time somebody started a war over tea.
posted by hyperbolic at 12:06 PM on April 16 [17 favorites]


I was shocked - shocked, I tell you - when I moved to the U.K. and realized that a) most people use teabags rather than loose tea; b) almost everyone uses an electric kettle. I stubbornly stuck with a stove top (hob!) whistler and loose tea, which Brits thought was hilarious. Back in the US after almost 12 years away, I immediately bought an electric pre-set kettle. Also, much to my everlasting chagrin, it appears that tea IS better in London because: 1. The bonechilling damp demands a nice cuppa, and 2. The freaking limescale in the water that drives us all nuts, does, in fact, make the tea taste yummier. Curses! I hardly ever drink tea now in Boston.
posted by mollymillions at 12:06 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


...that's why people don't fry steaks in the microwave.

True. Kind of hard to sear them on high heat and seal in the juices without a hot surface involved. But I suppose it could be done with a minaturized microwaveable skillet and a waldo spatula. Or one could upend it and use it as a deep fryer after disabling the door switch.
posted by y2karl at 12:10 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Or one could upend it and use it as a deep fryer after disabling the door switch.

The MetaFilter legal team has required us to say that this should not be attempted. Use the contact form if you have already tried this. If unable to use the contact form because you tried this, blink in morse code.
posted by hippybear at 12:19 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


It's super-convenient having tea temperature water with no waiting involved, whether for one pot or one cup. I have even been known to use it for *gasp* instant coffee.

And super convenient for my AeroPress!
posted by gyc at 12:21 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]




A few days? Sun tea is made in HOURS if you live in a place with actual sun during the days.
posted by hippybear at 12:28 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


So what's with the talk about electric kettles being uncommon in America? I'm an American and nearly everybody I know has an electric kettle for tea and coffee.

Is it that strange? Is it because my social circle is full of food snobs? There's a lot of loose-leaf tea and hand-ground coffee going around in the kitchens of my hot-beverage-drinking friends, so maybe we're atypical.

But whatever; microwaved tea doesn't seem totally absurd to me. I guess maybe the process of bringing the water to a boil and then allowing it to cool before steeping probably aerates the water or something idk but I have a suspicion that as long as it's hot enough you're not really going to tell the difference.

Microwaving the bag with the water seems more likely to get different results, though, and maybe that's what we're talking about here?

Microwaved coffee, of course, is an impossibility
posted by a mirror and an encyclopedia at 12:33 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


A microwave? True revolutionaries make tea in a toaster oven!
posted by oulipian at 12:33 PM on April 16 [7 favorites]


One thing I will never, ever, EVER do is drink coffee reheated in the microwave.

I was describing my dad's longtime habit of doing this (he takes it black, so at least... there's... that) to a co-worker in our kitchen at work when another colleague walked in and popped his cup into the microwave. Our work coffee is bad enough, but at least it's constantly available! Just take less to begin with! What the fuck, indeed. Any virtue that might have existed in the cup before the point at which it's microwave dies a terrible death and what is left is bitterness and weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

Now as for tea. I fill my own bags from loose because it's convenient, and I can take some to work and have the rest here. My kitchen is too small for even an electric kettle (and stovetop ones need a lot of cleaning here because the water is so hard) let alone a microwave, so I have a little 2 cup saucepan that I boil on the gas range, then pour over my leaves. After it has steeped, I add cream.

I'm with a mirror and an encyclopedia in that microwaved hot water isn't the worst thing ever, but putting the bag in does seem to cook the hell out of it. This would seem to be a plus for my mother, who only ever drinks herbal tea and wants the properties of the herbs as much as the taste.
posted by notquitemaryann at 12:40 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


lest anybody think that I think I'm fancy, though, I have a 2-liter of ginger ale in the freezer right now, turning into a slushie. I'm sick and this is my favorite thing to drink in the whole world.
posted by notquitemaryann at 12:41 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Stovetop kettle at home, Zojirushi at work. I can't even make tea with microwaved water, who's this fool who wants to cook the teabag in the microwave and do we have something worse than the death penalty that we can hit him with
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 12:42 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


One thing I will never, ever, EVER do is drink coffee reheated in the microwave.

You won't have to worry about that if you use Yesterday's Coffee.
posted by hippybear at 12:46 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Use the contact form if you have already tried this. If unable to use the contact form because you tried this, blink in morse code.

*Blinks furiously from behind welder's mask while attempting to hit virtual keyboard with waldo tips.*
posted by y2karl at 12:50 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


It's interesting to me how electric kettles aren't considered an essential in the US, the way they are in the UK and India, and other tea drinking countries.

My family is Indian and the kettle is an essential tool of tea-making. We use ours so much that they actually burn out.

The kettle is for day to day tea use. When people come over and we're wanting to make it a bit more special, it's made on the stove and some extra ingredients are added into the mix. Tea is serious business in an Indian household. Do not try to change or alter the tea-making process for an Indian mother/auntie. Hell hath no fury...
posted by Fizz at 12:59 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


Suddenly remembered there was an AskMeFi about how MeFites made tea a year ago. Unsure why tea suddenly becomes a hot topic every Easter time or so. Something in the water, probably.
posted by Wordshore at 1:03 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Microwaving the bag with the water seems more likely to get different results, though, and maybe that's what we're talking about here?

My tea bags have staples so wouldn't anyone microwaving them get much more excitement than they expected?
posted by dilettante at 1:26 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


You can microwave staples without incident. They're shorter than the wavelength, or something (and anyway, submerged in water).
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:30 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


"At least some people here actually think there are correct and incorrect ways to heat water. It's the weirdest thing."

Well, I think you can make a strong argument that it's a bad idea to boil water in a microwave oven -- it's too easy to superheat the water and have a scalding accident. 1

More generally, while I'm the first one to be skeptical about these kinds of cooking rituals, I also think that you can make a valid argument that different methods of boiling water will have different results, mostly involving the resulting amount of dissolved air -- such as the starting temperature of the water, how much convection flow or mixing, how long it is kept boiling, and whether it's even brought to a boil. And of course what kind of water you start with.

Also, another argument for the rationality of a number of cooking rituals is that it's not so much that the specific actions are as important as people commonly think, but rather because the regularity of preparation via a carefully prescribed process produces reliable results.

1) BTW, if anyone wants to know a highly reliable way to superheat water in the microwave, I figured that out long ago. And then you might try dropping a bit of flour into the superheated water. While wearing protective gear.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:31 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I just put three boxes of staples in my microwave and started it up. I'm living in an alternate universe now. Thanks, MetaFilter.
posted by hippybear at 1:32 PM on April 16 [9 favorites]


hippybear: Someone once made me coffee in a saucepan. I thought that was weird. But when I mull wine or cider, I use a saucepan. Why is that acceptable? There's something deeper going on here when it comes to heating liquids for beverages.
If you're heating plain water for coffee or tea, you won't need to wash the pot afterwards, so a kettle is suitable and convenient. If you're heating something more complicated (and potentially sticky) like mulled wine, mulled cider, etc., you're going to want to wash the pan afterwards, so a kettle would be a bad choice.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:38 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: Well, I think you can make a strong argument that it's a bad idea to boil water in a microwave oven -- it's too easy to superheat the water and have a scalding accident.
I suspect the presence of the teabag in the cup would actually preclude this, but don't know for sure. I have a sore throat, I could use some tea, I am going to try this.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:44 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I just put three boxes of staples in my microwave and started it up. I'm living in an alternate universe now.

Is it one of the sensible universes where 2016 didn't metastasize? If so, please tell me how many staples you used.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:53 PM on April 16 [13 favorites]


I hardly ever drink tea now in Boston.

Think about the connections between tea and Boston and you will understand why this sentence delights me so.

...Sun tea has been invoked and that's reminded me of the "iced tea" I have on hand in summer - it's technically an iced tisane, though, but whatever, and it couldn't be easier.

Get a glass quart-size container - jug, mason jar, pitcher, what have you - and throw in four or five peppermint tea bags. Make sure that said bags contain nothing but peppermint leaves. Fill the container with water and stick it in the fridge. Give it an hour at the very least, preferably longer.

Done.

This makes a refreshing peppermint iced tea that is bliss on muggy New York City summer days of the kind that prompted Carrie Fisher to write "New York in the summer feels like the whole country came here and coughed."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:56 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


I'm either particular or obsessed or affected enough to get 250g of English Breakfast tea leaves from Algerian Coffee on Old Compton Street when I get my monthly kilo of coffee beans, but...

The thing about the boiling-water-in-the-warmed pot is that it works. It makes a really satisfying caffeinated drink that's not quite as insomniac as a good cup of coffee. The water has to be boiling (or very recently boiled at least, and people will argue about that) because the black tea leaves do their brewing stuff at that temperature. The same as how you won't get edible pasta without boiling water. The pot is for the brownian motion, to let the leaves move around and release their flavour. The slightly odd PG Tips pyramid teabags do the same thing, at least in my experience, though not quite as well.

If you don't use boiling water, the drink is thinner and not as nice and tastes a bit chalky. You know that thin, chalky drink that's not especially nice that you know of as a cup of tea. It's not supposed to be like that.

Lapsang Souchong, or Japanese green tea is really good, and sometimes it's good to have a peppermint for digestion or a camomile to get to sleep but when I think of A Nice Cup of Tea, that's what I think of. It's really satisfying, if you're tired or you've just got home or you've just had dinner or you need a break or just to dunk your biscuit in. I'm surprised the rest of the world doesn't know about it, or doesn't try it, because it's really nice.

"Dunk your biscuit" sounds like an off-colour euphemism, doesn't it?
posted by Grangousier at 2:05 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


"I suspect the presence of the teabag in the cup would actually preclude this, but don't know for sure."

It would. I wan't thinking about that, since it seems incontrovertible to me that bringing water to a boil with the tea in it, in a microwave or otherwise, will produce a result distinct from steeping the tea after boiling the water.

Furthermore, it's pretty dumb that "science" would assert that this would be better solely on the basis that it will extract more of various molecules. Why would that be "better"? Maybe what is most pleasing to tea drinkers is a certain proportion of some molecules relative to others and both with regard to the water.

All that said, if we were to agree that the perfect cup of tea starts with water containing a certain group of minerals, a certain amount of dissolved air, and at a certain temperature (such as just below boiling), then we'd have to agree that it couldn't matter how it got to that state, microwaved or otherwise.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:10 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


My colleague, after reading this thread, is begging me to write an AskMeFi along the lines of "If you microwave a Jaffa cake, does it become a biscuit?"
posted by Wordshore at 2:13 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


> "I also think that you can make a valid argument that different methods of boiling water will have different results ..."

You probably could, but after having tea prepared with water heated in a variety of different ways and noticing no difference whatsoever among any of them, I am inclined to believe that these arguments are probably nonsense at least as far as real-world effects are concerned.

(Of course, if someone can, or even believes they can, detect a difference, more power to them, and they can prepare their tea in whichever way they see fit, but I have no idea why so many insist that the way that they make tea is somehow objectively superior to someone else's preference -- which is not a point you made or were trying to make, it's just something that's coming up a lot here and baffles me.)
posted by kyrademon at 2:20 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know anything about the Bovril ad visible in the cafe in the third photograph of the Motherland link? It says "WANTED A HUSBAND WHO WILL ALWAYS COME HOME TO HIS BOVRIL". I hadn't seen it before and thought the wording a bit odd. Suggests that husbands don't tend to like Bovril, which seems like a marketing fail. Also no Bovril logo. I Googled it and found only one link, a reproduction for sale, and a similar one which makes more sense, "WANTED A WIFE WHO WILL ALWAYS KEEP BOVRIL IN THE HOUSE". Anyone come across these before?

... now off to make a cup of Bovril.
posted by paduasoy at 2:41 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


"If you microwave a Jaffa cake, does it become a biscuit?"

I think if you microwave a Jaffa Cake it becomes a crisp, hardened scab of burnt sugar, but I'm happy for science to prove otherwise.
posted by Grangousier at 2:45 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Do not try to change or alter the tea-making process for an Indian mother/auntie. Hell hath no fury...

The only tea worth drinking is the chai my mum makes (and dad on Sunday afternoons)
posted by infini at 3:13 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Microwaved coffee, of course, is an impossibility

Except in those very same parents' house
posted by infini at 3:16 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


  first-flush Darjeeling SFTGFOP is the Champagne Tea of Teas

FTFO, as there can of course be no finer beverage than tea.
posted by scruss at 3:17 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


You can put a rod of pig iron in a container of water and boil it in the microwave safely. AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T TOUCH THE SIDES.

The danger of metals in the microwave is that the metal can arc against the sides of the box. This to be avoided unless you're trying to recreate that one scene from Pump Up The Volume.

That said, leaving a spoon in the cup when you microwave the liquid can be done, although it guarantees it will be hot as a mother because you just left a highly conductive metal in direct contact with a boiling liquid.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 3:33 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Microwaving a spoon has only exacerbated my alternate universe problem. Please send help.
posted by hippybear at 3:37 PM on April 16 [7 favorites]


Shouldn't this be filed with the earlier tea thread, the shower thread, and all other "No, you're doing it wrong" MetaFilter lessons of life?
posted by Bella Donna at 3:47 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


(In other news, I recently discovered that some people don't eat bacon with a fork.)
posted by Bella Donna at 3:48 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


People eat bacon with a fork?
posted by Dip Flash at 3:50 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


*microwaves a fork*

Dammit, you're not helping AT ALL!
posted by hippybear at 3:53 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


The best thing about brewing tea in the microwave is that you can re-heat your pineapple and anchovy pizza at the same time.
posted by islander at 4:25 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


The biggest revelation I've had with tea recently is that Le Creuset silcone pinch bowls are fantastic for squeezing liquid out of tea bags without burning your fingers. They're also nice for storing the tea bag so you can reuse it (for greens, etc). They are now part of my standard tea travel kit because why would I use tea bags at home.
posted by mountmccabe at 4:54 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


As with all such highly refined matters of taste and the implication that they are matters of habitus rather than reason, we simply need a series of blindfolded taste tests to reach a conclusion here.

This is how we know bottled waters don't taste different from each other and $100 wine is not qualitatively "better tasting" than $30 wine, generally speaking.
posted by spitbull at 5:26 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Coke... Pepsi... RC...
posted by hippybear at 5:29 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


We all know Coke tastes the best, but still.
posted by hippybear at 5:30 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


So what's with the talk about electric kettles being uncommon in America? I'm an American and nearly everybody I know has an electric kettle for tea and coffee.

Is it that strange? Is it because my social circle is full of food snobs? There's a lot of loose-leaf tea and hand-ground coffee going around in the kitchens of my hot-beverage-drinking friends, so maybe we're atypical.


As the person who started that mess (I think), yeah I think it's the food snob thing. Electric kettles seem to be far less common than you'd think, given that you can buy them at Target, but they're also not specialty items. (Further contributing to my confusion at my college roommates having no clue what I was talking about.) I more or less expect tea made in the microwave when I go to someone's house, assuming they have tea in at all. In any case, electric kettles are by no means de rigueur--I feel confident saying you're not going to find an American recipe that assumes you own one, which Delia Smith does at times.

Now I'm trying to think if I know an American with an electric kettle. My boyfriend bought one a year or two back, but it was defective and didn't bother getting a replacement when he took it back. My best friend has a stovetop kettle.
posted by hoyland at 5:34 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


This whole putting the tea leaves in the microwave thing, though - that's just weird. And for those of us using metal steepers, not a good idea.

Not a problem. You can put your tea strainer gadget right in the cup of water and microwave it. It will be fine. It will get hot, but only because it is sitting in hot water. You can prove this to yourself right now by putting a spoon or fork in a cup of water and microwaving it.

it seems incontrovertible to me that bringing water to a boil with the tea in it, in a microwave or otherwise, will produce a result distinct from steeping the tea after boiling the water.

It would be hard to quantify if there is much difference. You are simply steeping the tea at the same time you are heating the water. You are just adding a couple of minutes of steeping time while in the microwave. Unless you are accurately timing your steeping every time you make a cup of tea, there is variation anyway. The couple of minutes in the microwave can just be subtracted from the normal steeping time, maybe adjusted for temperature. The one difference is that by using a kettle, you know the water is exactly 212 degrees F, coming out of the kettle.

There is no "cooking" of the tea in a microwave. The tea is just steeping at the temperature of the water.

Some people might have a preferred perfect water temperature and precise steeping time that they like. But steeping in the microwave is unlikely to be noticeable to most people. You could achieve the same precision by experimentation with various microwave times followed by steeping times and do it the same way every time. At least the microwave has a precision timer.

This is not to say there is nothing to rituals that work for you. But it is possible to create new rituals.
posted by JackFlash at 5:44 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


This all makes sense when you think about it. I mean, a microwave oven basically runs on science, so of course science would indicate that the microwave is the best way to make tea, even with small bits of metal. What's the worst that could happen?

(Bonus: Dos and don'ts for metal in your microwave.)

posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:17 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Unless you are accurately timing your steeping every time you make a cup of tea, there is variation anyway.

Well I never. What's someone gonna say next, that they aren't using a gram scale to measure the water?
posted by mountmccabe at 6:24 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


I take sugar in my tea. (fight me.)

If I boil a kettle and pour it over tea and then add sugar, the texture doesn't really do anything I notice.

If I boil water in the microwave, add tea, and then add sugar, it foams up funny and the texture seems really different to me.

I'm converted - I grew up microwaving tea, spent a month in Australia where I discovered electric kettles exist, and haven't looked back since. So maybe yeah the taste isn't different if you add the tea at the same temperature regardless of heating method, but I definitely do notice a texture difference. Plus my mugs always get too hot in the microwave to hold for a bit and since I add milk as well that makes the tea too cold to drink by the time the mug is not burn-y.
posted by olinerd at 6:24 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


My supervisor at work fills the coffee maker carafe with hot water, puts like six teabags in it, and leaves the heat under it all night. The bags stay in it.
He makes fun of me for not wanting to drink any of the tea he makes.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:51 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


I boil the water in the microwave in a glass measuring cup, like this one. If you get one with a handle that doesn't curve back in, it stays comfortable to the touch. Then pour it over the teabag in your mug, and set the oven timer for steeping.

I use the (stovetop) (whistling) kettle sometimes, too, but I filter my water, and I hate wasting it, which always happens with a kettle. Using the measuring cup & microwave, I boil just slightly more than I need for my particular mug, and it works out perfectly.
posted by current resident at 7:35 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


You know, as an American who grew up in the region where iced tea is ubiquitous, I have to say that even with iced Lipton tea it makes a difference how you prepare it. When I was young, I made iced tea based upon reasoning similar to Mister Moofoo's supervisor: more is better, stronger tea is better, and steeping lots of tea in boiling water for longer is better. But tea is like coffee -- what you pull out of it, how much and in what proportions, varies by preparation. And some methods (like the more is better one) results in astringent and oily tea -- enough so that it's detectable when it's low quality tea and even when it's iced. Seems to me pretty uncontroversial that just-prepared hot tea would, in relative terms, wildly vary by preparation.

That said, I used the qualifier "relative terms". If the difference is insignificant for your palette, that's not a bad thing, despite other people's snobbery. I mean, chocolate came up earlier in this thread. I wish that I could like American milk chocolate. When I was a kid, I did. But now I will happily subject my discernment to any amount of double-blind testing because, I submit, a Hershey's bar tastes like chocolate made from cocoa and vomit. My chocolate eating pleasure is more expensive than I wish. In contrast, I manage to have a reasonably refined palette with regard to pizza, and nevertheless I still enjoy even the very worst pizza. I can tell the difference, but I still like the bad stuff. I just like the good stuff much more. I wish this were true of chocolate.

I find it pretty easy to believe that the human abilities of discernment on culinary matters spans many orders of magnitude of scale. Our sense of taste is relatively low-dimensioned, but it is profoundly augmented by our sense of smell, which is extraordinarily complex and sensitive. And then there's texture -- the tongue has higher density of sensory nerve endings than any other organ, save the clitoris. When you add up taste, smell, and texture, you get a oral sensorium that is grossly sensitive to pH and finely sensitive to individual organic molecules, and includes sensitivity to temperature and texture and frangibility. How could it not be the case that we end up discerning -- when it matters to us -- exquisitely fine distinctions in our food and drink?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:15 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


The most fun I ever had making tea was when my (very proudly Russian) roommate and I decided to make some Russian tea one fall evening. While we boiled a bunch of Tsar Nicholas II tea on the stove to make the concentrate, we set up his samovar on our fire escape with some charcoal our neighbor gave us. Flames shot out the top like a little rocket. When the water was hot enough, we poured some of the tea concentrate into our cups, along with a little jam or honey, and diluted it with the boiling water from the samovar. Then we sat on the fire escape with our tea and our cigarettes and watched the El trains go by in the dusk.

Personally, if I had a microwave, I'd use that in a heartbeat. Hot water in only two minutes! And I'd leave my tea bag in the whole time I was drinking it. You can't stop me! Well, if I owned a microwave you couldn't.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:39 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I was forced to give up caffeine recently. I lack the vocabulary to put into words just how much I hate each and every one of you lucky illegitimate children of parents of dubious occupation and/or species still drinking actual tea.
posted by Grimgrin at 9:49 PM on April 16 [8 favorites]


At least I have an electric kettle on the counter *and* (top this, guys) a traveller's jug for when I travel and need my beverage in the morning
posted by infini at 11:40 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I stopped being able to have coffee regularly and switched to tea and went through a lot of brands trying to find something that satisfied me. American tea companies are super awful. No matter how I made tea, it was all pretty tasteless.

So on the advice of a friend, I switched to UK companies. PG Tips is pretty good. But I found the best taste was from Barry's Gold Blend or Irish breakfast teas, both Assam teas. And if you regularly drink coffee you'll want to try it builders style, which is two tea bags per mug, then milk and sugar.

The taste is fantastic.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 2:51 AM on April 17 [6 favorites]


Tangential: if anyone knows how to get A C Perch's Earl Grey in the UK, please tell me. Their postage rates are so high that it's almost cheaper to fly to Copenhagen yourself.
posted by mushhushshu at 3:50 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


My English ex-pat parents had very strict rules about tea-making when I was growing up in Canada. Electric kettle, water must be boiling when poured over the teabags in the (preheated, obvs) Brown Betty, allowed to steep for just the right amount of time, but not left so long it became stewed (in which case you dump out the stewed tea, and teabags and start over), milk in cup first, followed by tea (no sugar, because that's just gross). This had been my tea-drinking set of rules for my entire life, including after I married and moved to the US (and had to go back to Canada to get a decent electric kettle, which, BTW, works just fine on our puny electrical system).

And then...

And then I went back to England, where I hadn't been in many years, to visit the family there, and found that they ALL (even those from different sides of the family who do not know each other) just pour boiling water over a teabag in a mug, fish the teabag out, and REUSE IT in another mug....and....it still tastes just fine. I was horrified by this when I first arrived, and begged my cousin to allow me to buy her a teapot but she laughed and said she'd just never use it. But that was before I spent my entire vacation drinking tea made this way. And since I got back, my own Brown Betty sits idle on the shelf, and I just fricking make tea with a teabag in a mug and boiling water from my electric kettle.

I may have become a heathen, but at least I don't use a bloody MICROWAVE.
posted by biscotti at 5:17 AM on April 17 [8 favorites]


A lot of teas can be steeped a second, or even third or fourth time and be fine. Steeping time can be critical; Hojicha is delicious, but you really have to watch it, otherwise it goes kind of sour. Boiling water is fine for some teas, but for others you want lower temperatures (~85 °C for Hojicha).

And if you're at a high altitude, your water may boil at a temperature that's too low to infuse tea because of the lower air pressure.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:45 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


I learned to drink hot tea pseudo-Russian style: put 6 teabags in a chainik, add boiling water, allow to steep. Refill the kettle and boil. Add your preferred amount of tea concentrate to your cup and dilute as desired with water. Add lemon, or put a sugar cube in your mouth if you're fancy.

Also: if you burn your fingers handling the chainik, grab your earlobe. This will dissipate the heat.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:45 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


[One deleted. If you're angry about / irritated by people talking about how things taste, maybe stay out of the threads where people are talking about how things taste. ]
posted by taz at 6:47 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


I remember the first time I saw my American classmate shove a tea bag into cold water and stick it in the microwave. It's been 15 years or more, maybe 17, but I *still* remember it.

I do have a microwave. Reasons.
posted by infini at 8:04 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


I remember when I moved to the US, nearly 10 years ago. I'd flown in to DFW late on Friday evening, and by the time I'd reached the corporate-provided apartment, I was exhausted and jet lagged. One of my fellow expat colleagues was in a nearby building at the same complex, and had bought me some milk, bread and a few other necessities, not knowing what time I'd be there to hit a grocery store for essentials before turning in.

Next morning I woke up jet lagged and completely disoriented. I pulled a pack of Tetley's Tea from my suitcase, walked through to the kitchen and started looking for the kettle. It took several minutes of frantic searching before I realised that one of my long-held mental constants - that Every Kitchen Shall Include A Kettle - simply did not apply here. I grabbed a small saucepan, boiled water on the stovetop, and made a cup of tea.

At no point did I even consider using a microwave, given that I've seen with my own eyes what happens when you superheat liquids in a microwave and then plunge a spoon into the resulting content (he was unharmed; thankfully he'd just turned to say hello to me when it literally exploded over him, otherwise it would have been right into his eyes)

After breakfast, I went downstairs to collect the keys to the rental car, drove to Target and bought two things - a GPS (so I could find my way back) and a bloody kettle.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:09 AM on April 17 [6 favorites]


I've said, often, that an electric kettle is the best gift you can give an American who likes tea. At first they don't know what to do with it, and by the end of the month they can't imagine living life without it.

(My now wife was pissed at me when I bought her one for her birthday a decade ago. Now she acknowledges that it's the best gift I've ever given her.)
posted by thecaddy at 8:22 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Now she acknowledges that it's the best gift I've ever given her.

A more cynical person may say that this is a reflection of the subsequent ten years of gifts, than the value of the kettle. But I wouldn't suggest that.

Mainly because, of all the presents I have got my wife, the thing she gets the most joy from and most regularly is a relatively cheap (but OMGsoft and luxurious still - Ultimate Sherpa Throw, they call it) Costco blanket that she can wear over herself in the winter while watching TV. There are no words to describe just how delighted she is to get into her PJ's after work, with an ipad, and get in the recliner under her blanket to watch TV or just read. She is a bit disappointed that it is getting warmer, because now she can't use it as it is too hot. This year I got her a sparkly Moissanite/Titanium ring which she LOVES and has been hinting at for almost ten years, but I'm still not sure it has displaced the blanket in her affections.
posted by Brockles at 8:43 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


All the microwave prep I've seen has been just to heat the water, which I'll do when that's the option. Though this is one of the reasons the easiest way for me to make a hotel feel comfortable is to ask the front desk for a kettle.

I used to make my tea in a mug and/or buy pints of it from Starbucks or whatever, but I'd also often forget about it by the time it was at drinkable temperature, and not remember until that five minute period had passed. But after an extended trip to London I was converted to the tea pot. There were even cafes where I ordered tea and they brought out a pot and a cup! You pour a little of the very hot liquid into your cup and it cools off quickly while the rest of it stays warm in the pot.
posted by mountmccabe at 9:31 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Someone should do a UK-based study with taste testing tea: one cup pulled out of a microwave, one pulled from a tray with a kettle.

EXCEPT, secretly, the cup in the microwave is made with boiling water and looseleaf tea, and the one from the tray was made in a microwave with a tea bag. I would be seriously interested in knowing how people would rate the flavor of each cup, with the preparations masked in that way.

(I know that this is essentially Milgram-esque and would never get IRB approval, but it still interests me.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:46 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]


Hey so this thread got me thinking... we put cream in tea and we put cream in iced coffee so why does the idea of putting cream in iced tea feel so hideously perverse to me
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:36 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


[Thai iced tea is of course a different drink entirely]
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:39 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


"I've said, often, that an electric kettle is the best gift you can give an American who likes tea."

So, I have a question. As an American whose mother drinks gallons of iced tea ever day, do any of you think that a) she'd appreciate a better quality tea (though calibrated for icing, natch), and b) would an electric kettle be helpful for her? With regard to the first question, for the hell of it and because of the recommendation in this thread, I just ordered Barry's Tea Gold Blend 80 from Amazon for. With regard to the second, what is the best and easiest preparation?

I know that to you Brits, iced tea is a sacrilege -- but, really, you guys should be more generous in your assessment because it's basically the product of transplanted Brits to the US South + that the South is hot. (Of course, that raises the question about India.) But, regardless, if you allow for the fact that some folks really like iced tea, I'd be interested in knowing what people's thoughts are regarding it. When I was growing up, "sun tea" was thought to be especially good. So it occurs to me, and it seems obvious, that what makes a good hot tea and what makes a good iced tea might be completely distinct. Is this true of iced coffee? I don't drink much coffee and tend to only like high quality espresso, but I have on occasion enjoyed an iced coffee and, really, they are very different drinks so it makes sense to me that the type of bean used and the preparation would be distinct. Same for tea.

Sorry if this offends delicate Brit sensibilities. :)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:56 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Biggest Southern ice tea drinker I know was blown away and converted when I made her pu-er ice tea.
posted by wobumingbai at 12:03 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]




Clotted cream sounds like the result of the fridge going out while you're out of town for the weekend.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:30 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


When I were a lad, tea better know as a "cuppa cha" came out of a large urn as a sweet sticky faun coloured refreshment.

When I was young, visiting farming relatives in North Wales introduced me to Hill Farmer's Tea...

Take a large brown enamel kettle, the sort with a second handle at the front, just above the spout. Fill it full of cold water from the pump or, in truly up-to-date places, the inside cold tap.

Add about twice as much loose tea as anyone could want, and bring to the boil on the kitchen range.

When it has come to the boil, continue boiling for about 10 minutes, then add an entire can of condensed milk. Pour into battered enamel mugs and serve, adding additional sugar to taste.

The resulting liquid was the colour of teak, and 'tannic' does not begin to describe the flavour. I sometimes saw grown ups adding something else to it from small pocket flasks, which at that age I assumed was the antidote.

I have never complained about any tea I've been served since. (Well, except bloody Earl Grey. Can't stand it.)
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 12:58 PM on April 17 [7 favorites]


we put cream in tea

Does not compute.
posted by biscotti at 3:28 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


[One deleted. If you're angry about / irritated

Cool, Tea is the new gender/Israel thread smasher!

(...er... I guess we should stay away from comparing instant iced tea mixes)
posted by sammyo at 4:55 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


I stopped being able to have coffee regularly and switched to tea and went through a lot of brands trying to find something that satisfied me. American tea companies are super awful. No matter how I made tea, it was all pretty tasteless.

Since you used the phrase "builder's tea", Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast. $2.99 for 80. (I think. Maybe it's $3.99.) It compares favorably with Yorkshire Tea, to the point that my mother would abandon Yorkshire Tea for it, but lives an hour from the nearest Trader Joe's.

I had a quick go at googling the price and came across this site with "tasting notes", which I think neatly encapsulates a divide in tea drinking. These people are overwhelmingly not looking for what I'm looking for in a cup of tea.
posted by hoyland at 7:28 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


I have two plug in kettles, and a lot of tea. I'm one of those people who will save their pennies, make the annual pilgrimage to the Northwest Tea Festival, get the two day pass, and spend it in utter bliss.

And then stock up on Assam and Darjeeling for the year. My favorites come from Young Mountain Tea - but if you love tea, and there's a festival nearby, it's worth it to go. There's so much good tea to experience!

(I drink coffee as well; I find that the extra oomph that the caffeine in a cold brew is what I need to get the day going, and my mind working. But when it's the weekend and I want to relax? Tea it is!)
posted by spinifex23 at 1:17 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Oh, and thank you to the fellow student who sold me an unused huge ceramic teapot for $4; it has a permanent residence on my counter next to the aforementioned kettles. When I need to study on the weekend, I'll fill it with water and black tea, cover it with a towel to keep it warm, and refill my cup from it throughout the day, with a pinch of milk. I don't even bother to remove the teabags, so it's this Assam sludge after a few hours.

It holds two pints of tea. That is a *lot* of tea!
posted by spinifex23 at 1:32 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Using a microwave seems weird to me mainly because of that tip about heating a cup of water with some lemon juice in it to clean the inside. I mean, not that I think everyone's microwaves are particularly grody, but it'd be almost impossible to get them as unadulterated as a container used only for heating water, so it feels like you'd be infusing ghosts of last week's pasta.
posted by lucidium at 6:31 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


I think you're supposed to put the water in a cup before you put it in the microwave
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:02 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Biggest Southern ice tea drinker I know was blown away and converted when I made her pu-er ice tea.

This thread was the first I'd ever heard of pu-erh, so I went a-Googlin', and hoo boy did I get overwhelmed in five minutes. Evidently you can have it 47 different ways, spend anywhere from four bucks to thousands a brick, and oh yeah a ton of it is counterfeit.

I'm beginning to think there is a very lucrative Tea Mafia out there that is counting their money and laughing at the cocaine people.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:23 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Related
posted by lazaruslong at 7:39 AM on April 18


over it with a towel to keep it warm

My grandfather, the sort who'd get his whole wardrobe tailored for a steamship trip to England in the thirties, compleat with hat, gloves and overcoat, had a tea cosy. (for those who don't know, this is the general sense of it)

I liked to wear it when I was a wee brat visiting Nana.
posted by infini at 8:43 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Can't put it on a microwaveable mug now can we?
posted by infini at 8:44 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Yeah - the great irony is that I have a beautiful tea cosy (with kitties on it!) for my tiny 8 oz cast iron teapot, but it only makes 8 oz of tea at a time. It's a great teapot, but it seems to be more suited for those who want to make multiple steepings of oolong. Not put a bunch of black tea shavings in a pot and forget it.

Student Life means Student Budget, so I'd rather just wrap a towel around it for now - and save my monies. When I get a job again, I am going to the tea festival and investing in a big fluffy cosy (with kitties on it of course this is mandatory) for my hugeass 'Keep Dwayne Fueled!' teapot of doom.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:47 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Ok, you win.
posted by infini at 10:56 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Though I did look at the tea cosy that you posted, and it is absolutely beautiful. So thank you for posting it!
posted by spinifex23 at 10:59 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


I'm tempted to make one now with my latest acquisition - the geriatric neighbour's vintage foot pedal Singer I was able to snaffle for just 20e - maybe a summer project once I get teh bobbins figured out
posted by infini at 11:02 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Though....I have knitting needles. I have a lot of blue yarn. I have a tea pot that needs a tea cosy.

I think I know what my next hilariously bad knitting project is going to be!
posted by spinifex23 at 11:03 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


Also, the hard thing with tea cozies and my current pot is that it it's an Asian style pot, with the bamboo handle on top that swings around. It looks like this. So, any tea cosy will have to either bend around the handle, or be huge to fully encompass it, even when it's set down against the teapot. Thus, I think knitting will be my best bet.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:08 AM on April 18




Hello - you are my new tea best friend.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:09 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: I wan't thinking about that, since it seems incontrovertible to me that bringing water to a boil with the tea in it, in a microwave or otherwise, will produce a result distinct from steeping the tea after boiling the water. Furthermore, it's pretty dumb that "science" would assert that this would be better solely on the basis that it will extract more of various molecules. Why would that be "better"?
Well I can agree with all of that, but having tried this a few times, it seems to be a very convenient way to make a single cup of good-enough tea for me. I have and frequently use an electric kettle, but this is just fewer steps. Set it up, come back later, tea is ready.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:24 PM on April 18


Though....I have knitting needles. I have a lot of blue yarn. I have a tea pot that needs a tea cosy.

My mom knitted one that I use with my big ceramic pot; I use it every day I have off. You can see it here.

It doesn't really work for my smaller pots but I run through that tea more quickly.
posted by mountmccabe at 10:50 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I think I know what my next hilariously bad knitting project is going to be!

Behold, the search results when you look for patterns for tea cozies on Ravelry. Have fun.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:48 AM on April 20


John Malkovich's (straight) character in Burn This on broadway makes tea for his deceased sisters grungy gay roommate, taking care to warm the pot and then folded a towel as an elegant cozy, only then pouring. The divisive roommate quietly exclaims in an aside "I'm in love".
posted by sammyo at 6:20 AM on April 20


(my general concern with my efforts using towels as cozies is that the whole thing forgetfully gets tossed in the laundry)
posted by sammyo at 6:22 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


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