There are some things that almost all people love, but never really think about. One of those things is a frosty mug in the summer time. No matter if you are drinking beer, lemonade or iced tea, a frosty mug will turn that room temperature beverage ice cold in seconds.

Just like frosty mugs, having a cold teapot can reduce the temperature of your hot tea. Now it may not be as dramatic of a change, but the end result is the same. The way both frosty mugs and cold teapots cool their liquids is by a concept called heat transfer.

If heat had a name, it would be “Even Steven”

Heat always tries to even out with the things around it. Therefore, when you pour warm beer into a frosty mug, the mug actually sucks the heat out of the beer until the temperature of the glass and beer are the same.

If your teapot is at room temperature, it too will suck the heat out of the boiling water you just poured into it. The heat will continue to transfer until the teapot and water are the same temperature. The end result will be tea that is steeped in water that is not hot enough to extract all of the good flavors and antioxidants from your tea.

Rinsing your teapot with hot water solves the problem

The solution is to rinse your teapot with hot water. By doing this you will actually raise the temperature of your teapot. This will reduce the difference between the teapot and water, preventing a large change in the water temperature.

How hot does the water need to be?

Ideally, you would like to use water that is the same temperature as you want to steep your tea with. The easiest way to do this is to take a little bit of water from your kettle and pour it in the teapot. Swish the water around a little and pour it down your drain.

What if I use bottled water?

If you use bottled water then you probably don’t want to waste it warming up your teapot. What you can do is run some hot tap water over your teapot (before you put the leaves in) for about 30 seconds. This will warm the teapot enough to prevent a lot of heat loss when you brew your tea.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicholasro/4307559629/

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