In re he mailbag question about boiling water for your tea ‘just so’ - I was always told that the bitterer oils and essences of the tea come out when the water is too hot - so you want to get it just right around 212 F, which is the boiling point. If you keep adding heat, it will warm up a bit as it continues boiling. Actually, if you’re at a high altitude it’s recommended you pressure-cook your tea water (at least if you’re a rabid brit like my grandma-in-law), so that you know precisely when it’s ‘right.’ She actually lets it sit for a minute or so after it comes to a boil, with the heat off, to let it cool to between about 200 F and 212 F.
Yours in Trivia, Eloise.

Unless you’re using a pressure cooker or in some other way operating above regular atmospheric pressue, you can’t heat liquid water above 212F/100C. If it’s hotter than that, it’s steam, period.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

Just a story on altitude & boiling point of water.

Once I was on cooking duty when some friends and I were hiking in Colorado at around 10,000 ft. I cooked some Mac & Cheese following the directions. Talk about chewy macaroni! It probably needed another 10 minutes, cuz the water was only getting up to around 190 F.

That style of cuisine was first made popular by ace chef and mountaineer, Al Dente. :slight_smile:

John, I beg to differ.

Water at normal pressure is can be heated somewhat above 100C, for example in a microwave. It is then “superheated”, and may boil thereafter if a handy nucleation site (drop in some sugar, for example) is presented.

Those at altitude may, of course, switch to green tea, for which water below the sea-level boiling point is recommended.