Which is the best way to boil water for a cup of tea?

15 July 2007

Question

Which is the best way to boil water for a cup of tea, on an electric stove or in a microwave?

Answer

There are many answers depending on what you mean by better for a cup of tea! But we at the Naked Scientists think that the microwave method might be quite dangerous.

Microwaves ovens emit microwaves, and these form a standing wave inside the oven. This means that certain areas heat up faster than others. This can superheat pockets of water to hundreds of degrees, as the pockets are held in by the surrounding water. When you remove the water form the microwave and stir, these pockets can suddenly expand, and this could result in showering you with boiling water.

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