Is It Safe to Reheat Your Tea in the Microwave?

Is It Safe to Reheat Your Tea in the Microwave?

If you’re anything like me, making a tea is a day-long project. At the risk of sounding like a total grot, I’m going to admit that I often forget about my tea, then reheat it in the microwave.

I don’t know why. It’s a character flaw that we can get into at some other stage. But I’m certain I’m not alone in my tea forgetfulness.

For that reason, I thought I’d take a peek into whether or not we should be microwaving our daily cuppa. To be clear, when I say should I mean it in the sense of is it bad for you. I can appreciate that tea fanatics are likely not going around recommending throwing a fine Earl Grey blend in the microwave out of preference.

There are loads of opinions around on whether or not microwaving your water gives a consistent enough temperature. Some say no, others say “eh”.

What was particularly interesting to me, however, is the thought that this act could be exposing you to nasty bacteria.

How does this happen?

I spoke with a representative of Pukka tea, Beth Howlett, who shared that while it’s definitely down to personal preference, it’s best not to reheat your cuppa too many times.

“We generally recommend limiting the number of times the tea has to cool down, as not only would the flavour and quality diminish, but as with any wet food the risk of bacteria growth increases the more the tea is left sitting unused over time (particularly if it is lukewarm),” she advised.

“That being said, here at Pukka we’re big fans of high-quality tea, so I can’t say it gets re-heated often! A fresh cup is always the way to go.”

Their recommendation? Pop your tea bag (or leaves) in a cup of boiling water, and let it infuse for five minutes.

Another point of note, shared by Good To Know UK, if you’ve bought your tea (or any hot drink) don’t reheat it in the takeaway cup. They’ve quoted Dr Laura Vandenberg, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who advised that the polyethylene (PE) plastic that often lines these cups can harmful to the body when heated.

Good To Know also referred to the UK’s Food Standards Agency, which shared that food and drink should never be reheated more than once because of bacteria growth – much like Howlett advised.

Long story, short: it’s best to drink hot tea the first go around. Best not to mess about this forgetting and reheating technique I am so guilty of.

This article has been updated since its original publish date. 


Log in to comment on this story!