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Re: Taste: Microwave Heating vs Boiling

At 09:18 2/15/01 -0500, Gregory Puskar 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? //
Gregory Puskar

I wrote:

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!)

Derek Chirnside later commented:
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.

That's the trouble with double negatives alright - they are easy to
misconstrue: for example, if I say,
"It's not proven that I am not from New Zealand" - that's not the same
as my saying, "It's proven I am from New Zealand."
The former statement can be taken as true, the latter is
certainly false.

The reason I compared Gregory's question, "Why might tea brewed
via microwaved and range-heated water taste different?" and
"Have you stoppped beating your wife?" is that they both beg
a question.
Gregory's proposition begs the question,
"DO cups of tea brewed with microwave water taste different
from range heated water?".
My proposal begs the question, "Do you beat your wife?"

In considering reasons for a difference - let there first be evidence
for a difference!

I have so far read that
1) The tea made with hard water from both sources looks different
(and I can indeed agree that tea made with nuked hard water can
look quite repulsive).

This is in fact, a potent reason for using blind trials:
If I offer a blue tinted coffee and a normal tan tinted coffee,
I expect with high confidence that the blue tinted coffee will be
pronounced 'off-tasting'. Even if they have an identical taste.
The visual sense is exceptionally potent.

2) Numerous science fair projects confirm a difference in taste
quality. Two individuals confirm a difference in taste.

Now this evidence seems to make the following question concrete:
"There are school fair project results and personal assessments
that there is a taste difference due to microwave vs heating:
why should that be?"

I hope that is a more satisfactory reason for my initially
cautionary tone.

I can't resist recounting a visit to the local water treatment plant.
It's something you too might well enjoy.
A major goal of water people is clarity. There is a sentiment
that if the water is 'crystal clear' there is probably not too much
wrong with it, or so it seemed at the time....

There are various additives mixed with the source for this purpose:
one of them was described as 'polymer'.
The effect of mixing this material with water looked absolutely
The settling tank had a thick collar of black foam.
It looked like effervescing mud!

That's what goes into your tea cup, by and by - with chlorine
of course.

This concept of clarifying beverages has been artificially aided
for some considerable time in connection with table wines.
An additive pulls down a precipitate to clarify the wine, and does
it well. But some people are allergic to the result.

brian whatcott <> Altus OK