Any chemists about? (water solvency & O2)
I have a question that I'm hoping someone with knowledge in chemistry can answer.
I've been hearing on science podcasts and from tea buffs that one should not boil water fully (when making tea) because it drives off oxygen, and so it produces less robust tea. I should note that on the science podcasts nobody has said anything definitively on the subject, only that it's a hypothesis. Tea buffs will also talk about using the same water when it's refrigerated will produce better results than if left to warm to room temp before heating, and other such things.
While it's true that using water that is cooler than boiling temp does produce a fuller-bodied tea, I've seen some information lately that seems to contradict the oxygen hypothesis. Namely that some of the very good quality teas will take fully boiled water, and that boiling the water and allowing it to cool produces the same results. I've found the later to be possibly/probably true. I've seen a few other things as well, but those are what stick out in my memory. I can understand heat driving off volitile compounds and extracting more of some chemicals than others, but I'm beginning to be skeptical about oxidation during infusion. Oxidation plays a big part in production of the dry leaves (the darker the tea, the more oxidized), but the infusion?
As a tea buff myself, I plan on doing some experiments with measuring the oxygen content of water and tasting, but I'm wondering if anyone can give me some ideas about the science behind this? Namely, does the process of extracting water soluble compounds involve any kind of oxidation? Would oxygen play any role?
If anyone needs to know more about the compounds in tea, here are some articles about it: