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Re: Taste: Microwave Heating vs Boiling

At 09:18 2/15/01 -0500, you wrote:
Does anyone know of a reason (other than psychological) why
water boiled in
a tea kettle on a range might taste differently than water boiled in cup
in a microwave? Thanks in advance for your input.

Gregory Puskar
Academic Laboratory Manager (304)293-3422 x 1455
Physics Department (304)293-5732 (fax)
West Virginia University
PO Box 6315
Morgantown, WV 26506

This is a question at which to look askance....
Have you stopped beating your wife yet? ...sort of thing.
It is not established (as far as I know) by blind trials,
that this question is not hypothetical.
(Double negative = incomprehensibility factor way high!)

I was interested in this comment.
Possibly a little overstating things with this wife beating comment.
In Brians comment above I assume it means "It is established by blind trials
that this question is hypothetical" I'm not sure that I agree with this.
Mind you, the fact that I don't know that such studies exist does not mean
that they do exist.

I have lived in two places where I have considered this question.
Kapiti (where the water is notoriously bad) and Christchurch (where it is
renown for great water)
I've done my tests in both places and will not drink water from a microwave
unless it has become totally socially impolite to do so. I would even go so
far as to say here that microwave making coffee (with powder or granules) or
tea (with teabags) is not socially the done thing in many circles. I
believe it has more that just the english traditions to blame - these
require freshly boiled water that has not been 'boiled for too long' to be
poured over tea leaves 'while still boiling' etc etc.
The taste I object to is what I call 'brackish'
That's the informal evidence.
PS. Reheating cold perked coffee is different - it is drinkable (generally).
So is heating water to drink on it's own as hot water (generally), or for a
lemon and honey drink (almost always), or a dissolved chocolate flavoured
drink we have called 'milo'.

I do not have any in my possession, but there have been numerous science
fair projects on this. It is not rocket science: these kids have done quite
sophisiticated trials looking at aroma, taste, containers, etc etc. This is
going back over 15 years. The consensus is that there is a difference in
*perceived* taste.
This has seemed to be good formal evidence that there is a difference.
I have seen some really kooky comments in these studies regarding 'why' this

I notice a couple of other posts this morning that touch on this in a far
more comprehensive way than I can. I think my experience with the other
drinks quoted above leads me to suspect it is a matter of pressure and
temperature changes and rates of change which remove substances from leaves
or granules in different ways and where superheated still water is involved
it is different to bubbling stuff at the same temperature. Mere dissolving
is different from extraction.

(Recently returned from a trip to Boston, Avignon, New York and London where
I carried out informal research on locals' coffee drinking habits and tasted
the local brews)