Tea Reheating — To Do or Not to Do

For years now I and my tea loving humans have been trying to help you all learn about and therefore enjoy fine teas. And now that you have elevated your taste up a notch or two, and at the same time elevated your expenditures on tea, you will want more than ever to get the most from each drop. But things happen, such as your tea cooling in the cup because of an interruption. Read on to see what I mean and how you can solve this. TOOOT!

The Interruption

You’ve all probably faced the tea reheating dilemma: Do you reheat a cupful that’s cooled or not? Picture this: You’ve laid out what amounts to a significant supply of cash on some very nice tea (Darjeeling, Pu-erh, Silver Needle, a Flowering Tea, etc.). You’ve just steeped a perfect potful of this tea and are brimming with excitement and anticipation to enjoy that “golden pour” of the perfect tea liquid. You pour a cupful, possibly add sweetener and milk or honey and lemon (depending on which tea you’re having), and are anticipating being rewarded with an extremely tasty cupful, when — ding! dong! — the doorbell rings.

That perfect cuppa has to wait!

You set the cup down and go to the door. The person there regales you for 20 minutes on why you should buy this thing and that. Being super polite, it takes you awhile to catch a pause in his/her speaking to say, “No, thanks,” and shut the door. You hurry back to your teacup, patiently awaiting you (as all well-bred teacups do). You take a sip and immediately determine that — gasp! — the tea is now — ugh! — room temperature! Not quite ideal for enjoying this fine tea.

Thus the dilemma: Do you reheat or do you not reheat? Ah, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of the tepid taste, or (as a true lover of tea) the great anguish of dumping the cupful down the drain, or brave the frontiers of technology by zapping the tea back to a decent temperature in the microwave.

Ok, enough corny ripping off of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Do you reheat or not? The penny-squeezing, leftover-eating, get-every-drop-out-of-the-teapot Scot (along with a few other nationality origins) in my ‘she’ human makes a quick decision, the only one possible: Reheat!

The Method

But you can’t just stick it in and press a button. There is a method here, since you need to reheat in a manner that preserves as best as possible the original flavor of the tea before it cooled. If you had added milk, you may have to remove a top scummy layer of solidified milk (eeww!) before trying to reheat.


  • Put the cup (if microwaveable) in the microwave and reheat on half power for about 30 seconds per six ounces of liquid.
  • Stir the tea and test to see if sufficiently warm.
  • Then, heat again on half power for another 30 seconds per six ounces of liquid.
  • Stir and test.
  • Repeat the procedure until the tea is at the right temperature.

(If the cup is not microwaveable, pour the tea into something that is and then reheat.)

A cup warmer catastrophe!

Of course, you could have set the cup on a cupwarmer. But I find that they can overheat the tea, and the milk scum still forms, especially when the amount of tea in the cup gets low.

A better solution: an ounce of prevention. Next time, just let the doorbell ring, or take the teacup with you and drink while you listen to the person at the door prattle on. Cheers!

© 2018-2022 World Is a Tea Party photos and text

Hi, humans, this site is under my editorial excellence. I, your lovable and sassy Little Yellow Teapot, authors articles on tea, etc., and edit the occasional guest article. All in the interest of helping you humans have a better tea experience. TOOOT!

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