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How to Make Tea in the Microwave

With many tea experts recommending highly specific temperatures and steep times depending on the tea of choice to make a proper brew, it can be difficult to even fathom that one could successfully make a perfect cup of tea using a microwave. And yet, don’t be fooled—it is, in fact, entirely possible. 

However, despite what you may think, microwaving an entire mug full of water and steeping your tea can be ineffective due to the uneven dispersion of water temperature that occurs when heating water in a microwave. So today, we’re going to take you through all of the necessary steps in detail so that you know how to make the perfect cup of tea in the microwave so that you can get your daily fix in any situation. 

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Choose Your Favorite Tea and a Microwavable Mug

When it comes to choosing tea for microwaving purposes, you’ll be pleased to know that there are no major discrepancies between tea types to concern yourself with. However, the process will be much easier with tea bags than loose-leaf tea, so you should choose tea bags when making tea in the microwave.

You can choose any type of tea you’d like, but it’s important to ensure that you choose a sturdy, microwavable mug to make your tea in. Non-microwavable mugs can result in unevenly-heated water, get extremely hot, and even break, so choose wisely. Mugs like these barista-quality microwavable tall mugs from Amazon are a perfect choice.

Add the Tea Bag and Three Tablespoons of Water to the Mug

Now that you’ve picked the perfect mug, you’ll want to add your tea bag and about three tablespoons of water to the mug. The amount of water you’ll need to put in could vary by a few tablespoons, depending on the width of your mug, but as a general rule, you need just enough water to cover the tea bag completely. 

Try to  avoid using unfiltered tap water, as the minerals can add a less-than-pleasurable metallic taste to your tea. Filtered tap water works just fine. 

Don’t worry about filling the rest of the mug up with water just yet—that step comes later. 

cup of tea with a teabag on the carousel of a microwave. how to make tea in the microwave

Put the Mug in the Microwave for 30 Seconds

Once you’ve managed to find the perfect level of water to cover your teabag, put your mug with the tea bag and water in the microwave for around 30 seconds. 

Depending on the strength of your microwave, the amount of time you should microwave it for changes, too. If you have a lower-strength microwave, you may need to microwave the tea for 45 seconds. 

You’ll know you’ve reached the right amount of time when the water is steaming but not entirely boiling. 

Steep Your Tea

It’s now time to steep your tea; you should follow the same steeping instructions as you regularly would for the specific type of tea you made. This is extremely important, as the amount of time you steep your tea has a profound impact on its flavor profile

Here’s a general guide for some of the most popular types of tea: 

Tea TypeSteep Time
English Breakfast Tea3-5 minutes
Green Tea1-3 minutes
Earl Grey Tea3-5 minutes
Chamomile TeaMore than 5 minutes
Peppermint Tea5-10 minutes
Oolong Tea1-5 minutes

To make sure your tea steeps evenly, be sure to use a mug topper to cover the top of your mug while it steeps. If you don’t have a mug topper, you can use a small dish or even a paper towel to help trap some of the steam in the mug to ensure proper steeping. 

While it Steeps, Prepare Another Mug Full of Water

While your tea is steeping, prepare a separate microwavable mug—but this time, fill it up fully with water. Eventually, you will pour the hot water from this mug into the tea mug to take up the remaining space.

Note: You should use filtered tap water to fill this mug up as well. 

Microwave the Mug Full of Water for 30-45 Seconds

As the mug full of water you just prepared has a higher volume of water than your first mug with the tea bag, you’ll want to microwave this one for a bit longer. Start by microwaving it for 30 seconds, and if you notice the water hasn’t started steaming properly, add another 10 to 15 seconds.

Once again, this is a general rule—depending on your mug and microwave, the time you’ll need to microwave can vary. Just like the last mug, you’ll know it’s done when it’s steaming but not completely boiling.

Pour the Mug Full of Water into the Steeped Tea Mug

Once your tea bag has steeped for the recommended amount of time for the type of tea that you chose, it’s time to add the rest of the water to your tea.

Before you pour the hot water from the full mug into your tea mug, use a spoon to mix the water from the full mug around to ensure the heat has dispersed evenly throughout the cup. Then, you’re free to pour the water into your tea mug.

Add Your Favorite Extra Ingredients

Depending on the type of tea you made, you might be inclined to add some of your favorite ingredients to top it all off. 

For black teas, try adding milk or plant milk and some sugar for the classic morning cuppa. If you choose an herbal tea like peppermint or chamomile, honey or agave nectar turns them into delicious, sweet treats. Or, you may choose to leave them undisturbed so that you can taste the full flavor spectrum of the tea itself. 

In a Rush? Zap that Tea!

While making the perfect cup of tea in a microwave might involve a bit more care, it’s a foolproof way to get yourself your daily fix in any given situation. Follow these instructions, and you’re sure to enjoy a delicious, hot cup of tea that’s indiscernible from one that was made conventionally. 

If you have more time, check out this complete guide to brewing the perfect cup of tea.

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