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He has already angered Brits by suggesting the perfect cup of tea contains a pinch of salt.
Now, Michelle Francl, a chemistry professor at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, has an even wackier suggestion: Try adding grapefruit.
Adding citrus fruits to tea, he says, can prolong the effect of caffeine and keep you awake longer.
Professor Francl explains that some fruits and vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli help the body eliminate caffeine more quickly.
Others, like grapefruit, do the opposite by inhibiting an enzyme in the body called CYP3A4 that “slows down the elimination of caffeine.”
Grapefruit in tea? One scientist says it can slow the elimination of caffeine from the body and keep you awake longer.
Professor Michelle Francl, a chemistry professor at Bryn Mawr College, angered Britons by suggesting that the perfect cup of tea contains a pinch of salt.
“If you eat a lot of grapefruit, you can increase the time that caffeine stays in the system,” Professor Francl said during an online webinar hosted by Chemistry World on Thursday.
“And if you add cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts to your diet, you’ll be able to eliminate caffeine more quickly.”
Professor Francl does not recommend adding green vegetables to your cup of tea if you want to eliminate caffeine.
Rather, eating them around the same time as the tea can wash away the stimulant faster (for example, if you drink tea at night but want to get a good night’s sleep).
Professor Francl has just published a new book called “Steeped: The Chemistry of Tea,” in which she suggests adding a pinch of salt to the drink to “reduce the bitterness.”
The sodium ion in salt blocks the chemical mechanism that makes tea taste bitter, he says.
She also suggests preheating the milk, as adding cold milk straight from the refrigerator risks curdling.
It is deeply woven into the fabric of British culture. But now a US scientist claims to have found the secrets to a perfect cup of tea.
MailOnline put the professor’s recipe to the test and found that it produced a very spicy and unpleasantly salty brew.
One piece of advice from Professor Francl that most Brits will agree with is to never microwave tea, something Americans tend to do.
Using a microwave can promote the formation of “tea foam,” an unsightly film on top composed of calcium carbonate and organic matter, he says.
Another less controversial suggestion is to preheat the cup or teapot to release more “aromatic compounds” from the tea.
Professor Francl also believes that loose leaf tea is better than tea bags, but that if you use a tea bag it doesn’t matter which form you use.
This flies in the face of the ingenious pyramid tea bag, first launched in 1996 by PG Tips, which gives the leaves inside more room to circulate.
Professor Francl’s tea recipe – particularly the suggestion to add salt – caused such a stir on social media that even the US embassy in London referred to it.
He said adding salt to Britain’s national drink “is not official US policy” and “never will be.”
Dr. Frankl’s recipe for a “perfect” cup of tea has proven so shocking that the US embassy in London even made a joking post on X (formerly Twitter) about the recipe.
He added: “The US Embassy will continue to make tea the proper way: by microwaving it.”
The UK Cabinet Office responded with a post of its own saying: “Tea can only be made with a teapot.”
In response, Typhoo Tea said that “it would be better to dump the tea in Boston Harbor than in a microwave,” referring to the Boston Tea Party of 1773.
At that time, American patriots sunk barrels of tea in Boston Harbor in protest of King George’s taxes.