There was an elderly tea lady (let’s call her Mrs D) at the place I used to work. She wasn’t a tea lady in the traditional sense who’d wheel her trolley of goodies at teatime — she prepared refreshments for our weekly meetings — but she loved observing me while I brew a cuppa in the office pantry, which made me slightly nervous at times.
I was about to make myself a cup of instant coffee one day when I found the electric kettle filled with enough water to make a warm cup of coffee. Because of the ridiculous subarctic temperature of the office, I preferred my coffee tongue-scalding hot so I did what I thought was the obvious thing to do — I turned the kettle back on.
Already anxious by her mere presence, I was startled silly when Mrs D boomed, “What on earth are you doing?! Why are you boiling the water again? You’re not supposed to do that!”
I told her about my coffee temperature preference but she continued disapprovingly, “but you’re not supposed to reheat water that’s already been boiled!!!” When I tried asking her the reason why she kept saying that I wasn’t supposed to. I asked another colleague who happened to be there and she said the same thing, “you’re not supposed to boil water multiple times because it’s not good for you!!!”
Outnumbered with no desire to argue, I left the scene with a less-than-hot cup of coffee.
Being the naturally curious person that I am, I decided to ask the rest of my colleagues about this. The consensus was nearly unanimous(a few had never heard of it) — you shouldn’t boil water more than once — the reasons were similar – reboiled water is not good. Why exactly? They didn’t have an answer.
I wasn’t convinced and brushed it all aside as old wives’ tales. However, despite my numerous make-coffee-while-no-one-is-around attempts later, I kept forgetting to research the reasons and origins for this theory.
5 years later
I was at a coffee house while waiting for my camera to be serviced the other day when out of boredom, I decided to read all their coffee and tea leaflets. There was a section devoted to the importance of using fresh water for brewing coffee and tea. I didn’t think much about it until much later when I was making meyself a cup of coffee at home.
Remembering the Water Mystery from half a decade ago, I consulted my friend Google: Reboiled water causes cancer? – not true unless your water is already toxic to begin with. Reboiling causes water to harden? – not true either. Then I found this:
10 Tips for A Better Cup of Tea
The more oxygen that is dissolved in water, the better it tastes. So, to make sure you use water with the maximum amount of oxygen, don’t re-boil any leftover water in your kettle. Water that is boiled too much becomes poorly aerated because oxygen atoms escape in the form of steam. By always filling your kettle up afresh, you are ensured fully aerated and tasty water.”
Edit: Thanks to the comment by Mihai, I suddenly remembered learning about water aeration in school. Here’s a bit more on that:
“Aerated water is, correctly speaking, distilled water to which purified air is added to improve its flavor. Wikipedia”
My weekend was a turbulent one, complete with all the elements of a soap opera– health scare! money issues! soured relations! mental torture!
I had a few moments of clarity as the events unfold over the weekend:
Thank God I made it through. I’ve never been so glad to start a new week!
I’ve jumped the Twitter bandwagon and got myself a Twitter account. Yesterday was a confusing time to be a twittering newbie because a few of the options were disabled or took too long to load. I realised today that there was a database crash on Saturday and some of the functions were disabled due to this. Ah, no wonder then!
If you’re interested in the *ahem* terribly exciting details of my life, do follow me here : http://twitter.com/growhappy
(If not, you might wanna go take a peek anyway to check out my possibly headache-inducing wallpaper!)
Here’s a doodle of me using The Scribbler a “generative illustration toy” by Ze Frank (there’s a couple more interesting interactive toys on Ze’s home page, check them out if you have time). [Read more....]
My internet connection has been, to put it mildly, crazy the past 5 days (still is). I’d be typing a long and carefully thought out comment on someone’s blog and then in the middle of posting, have it disappear into the dark cyberspace, never to be found again. The whole of my Monday was spent trying to rectify this problem. Alas, according to the service provider there’s nothing wrong with the connection, and the technician who checked the modem found no fault with it either (the problem was intermittent – he waited nearly 40 minutes for the connection to drop but NOTHING happened! Grrr! ) so I’ve been taking a lot of my work offline.
Speaking of work, I can’t help but be thankful for the fact that, being my own boss, I can choose my working (and blogging) hours. I’m typing this on a word processor, at 2:30am (I’d probably post this at a random time later, when the connection is up). Yes, I’ve never been so busy in my life — as I approach deadlines, I’d be sleeping just 6 hours a day ( the past week, I averaged 5 hours a night) — but I never had so much fun and joy doing work either.
I was lucky to be taught by an exceptional teacher in school. No, she was not exceptionally good. In fact, she was the direct opposite. For some reasons, I was always one of the few people she constantly picked on, but that day was the culmination of her greatness. [Read more....]