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Tea Time! Microwave Could Enhance Taste, Health Benefits of Tea

Apr 12, 2017 01:01 PM EDT
Microwaving tea could extract about 80 percent of the caffeine, theanine and polyphenol compounds in the tea.
(Photo : Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Self-proclaimed tea lovers were outraged after the cop character of the hit TV thriller "Broadchurch" microwaved his tea. Some people openly displayed their dismay on social media platforms, such as Twitter, bashing the character's brewing preferences.

However, as it turns out, a 2012 study showed that DI Alec Hardy's microwaved tea is tastier and healthier than your typical cup of tea.

The study, authored by Dr. Quan Vuong from the University of Newcastle on the New South Wales Central Coast of Australia, showed that the health benefits of microwaving a cup of tea is equivalent to three conventionally brewed tea per day.

"In food products, people are concerned with health benefits but also with food quality and shelf life," said Vuong in a report from ABC Radio Sydney. "Microwaving is one of the advanced technologies to get more bioactive compounds from the products."

Vuong's new method of tea brewing is quite simple and very straightforward. It takes only three steps: 1) put water in the cup with your teabag; 2) heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on half power; and 3) let it sit for a minute.

According to Huffington Post, microwaving tea could extract about 80 percent of the caffeine, theanine and polyphenol compounds in the tea. On the other hand, simply dipping the tea bag in hot water for 30 seconds can only extract 10 percent of the compounds, while following the manufacturer's instructions extracted 60 percent.

Microwaving tea is the best possible method in order to extract all its compounds. Ideally, tea should be brewed for 20 minutes at 80 degrees for optimal extraction of compounds. However, such method is not practical.

The microwave doesn't just heat the water, it also helps extract the compounds. Due to this, microwaved tea could have a stronger taste than others. The study used green tea, but Vuong assured that similar results could be attained using black tea in loose leaf or teabags.

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