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superheating in a microwave

November 05, 2011



I have been making pour over coffee for my wife and she loves it.  The key to this process is you boil the water yourself and then take it off the boil and pour it onto some contraption that is essentially a cone with a filter and coffee.  We use the Timolino, which is a clever like dripper.


I have been just tossing water in a pyrex two cup container and sticking it in the microwave and it has worked fine, but one thing that has me a little concerened about this method is superheating.


The pyrex itself does not overheat, but there is a major issue with microwaved water that is the idea of superheating where the water is not boiling, but explodes when it is disturbed, which can cause scalding and burns.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superheating


It is dramatic when you see it.  Here is a link to it happening on you tube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkM8XpY3ItA



Myth busters has a clip on this, which claims it is not likely with tap water
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_OXM4mr_i0


but others claim that (not shockingly) myth busters is wrong – that it is much more likely even with tap water than they claim.


It is supposed to be possible to avoid this by using a scratched container (which pyrex tends not to be) or floating something like a toothpick in the water, but it has always made me a little nervous.  


The obvious thing to do is to go back to the old fashioned kettle and stove or even better a new fangled long spouted kettle like the Hario (thus my potential interest in picking one up).  


Here is my blog entry about that

http://www.roaste.com/CoffeeBlogs/wakeknot/Kettle-consultations


and here is the kettle in question…

http://www.roaste.com/product/SungardenTea/Hario-Buono-V60-Drip-Kettle


but it is hard to beat the ease of a microwave.  Also if you were to get distracted and leave a cup of water in a microwave it beats accidentally leaving a kettle on the stove, but hopefully this is not something I’ll do either way.


Has anyone had any experience with super heating?  (I have not, I have only read about it).




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