Healthy Drinks

There’s Apparently a Right and a Wrong Way to Make Tea, According to Science

Emily Laurence

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Photo: Getty Images/Johner Images

Whenever someone comes over to my apartment (which of course is a rarity these days), I always offer to make a cup of tea. (That is, unless they come toting a bottle of wine.)

Because I want to seem like a put-together hostess, I put on a low-key show about it, filling the kettle with water and putting it on the stove and walking my guest through all the tea varieties in my pantry while we wait for the water to boil. But whenever I’m alone making tea, I have to be honest: All I do is stick a mug of water in the microwave and heat that sucker up for two minutes before plopping a tea bag in there.

Both methods get the job done yielding the same result, right? Wrong! Apparently, there is a right way for how to make tea and a wrong way. (TikTokers, get ready for your next “I was today years old” post.)

Scientists have officially weighed in on the debate about whether it’s best to make tea using a kettle or the microwave and have published their findings in the journal AIP Advances from the American Institute of Physics. (These guys are really serious about tea.)

When the scientists compared the two tea-making methods they had one major takeaway: When you microwave tea, the water isn’t heated as evenly as it is when you use a kettle. Microwaving heats the liquid on top more than the liquid at the bottom, but since the kettle heats from the bottom up, it doesn’t face the same conundrum.

The process of bottom-up heating is called convection and as the liquid toward the bottom of the mug warms up, it becomes less dense and moves to the top, allowing a cooler section of the liquid to contact the source. The end result is a mug of water that’s all the same temperature.

Aren’t you glad you know the proper way to make tea now, just in case you have a scientist visiting you? Or the Queen? Now you know that if such guests come over to put the kettle on. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in some hot water.

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