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Tea in a microwave? New research says it could be the perfect cuppa


Name: Tea

Appearance: Hot liquid of a colour somewhere between dark brown and milky beige, according to taste.

Age: Allegedly invented by accident in 2737 BC, when some leaves from a camellia bush fell into boiling water.

Sorry, but that is not how you make tea. Of course not. First, you have to put the milk in the cup.

Are you insane? I understand there is some controversy surrounding the correct method for making a proper cup of tea.

No, there isn’t – tea bag, boiling water, milk. But now scientists think they may have hit on the formula for the perfect cup of tea.

Do they make it in a pot or a mug? They make it in a microwave.

Well, I’ll just be leaving the country now. Relax, these are Chinese scientists.

Chinese? What do the Chinese know about making tea? They invented tea.

You said it was invented by accident! By them.

I’ve had enough of this heresy. The problem, it seems, is that water doesn’t become uniformly heated in a microwave the way it does in a conventional kettle – there will be cool spots.

The problem is YOU CAN’T MAKE TEA IN A MICROWAVE. To overcome this difficulty, Chinese researchers developed a special vessel with a silver-plated upper chamber.

Metal in a microwave? That’s not safe! Apparently it is, as long as the metal has a finely tuned geometry. “The metal edge, which is prone to ignition, is located at weak field strength, where it can completely avoid ignition, so it is still safe,” said Baoqing Zeng, one of the authors of an article published in AIP Advances.

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Why bother with all that? Because the silver acts as a guide for the microwaves, reducing the electric field at the top to inhibit heating, creating a convection process much like the one that occurs in a kettle.

I hope nobody was pulled off vaccine research for this project. Ultimately it is hoped a new sort of container will make good microwave tea possible.

Is this anything to do with that American microwave-hot-tea woman? Are you referring to Michelle from North Carolina, whose “British tea” TikTok tutorial sparked fury and a response from the British ambassador in June?

It sounds trivial when you put it that way, but it seemed like a huge deal at the time. She is not involved, unless this is all part of a wider conspiracy on behalf of microwave manufacturers.

Do say: “On second thought, I’ll have a latte.”

Don’t say: “What if you just stirred the water halfway through?



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