To put it as succinctly as possible, my questions are: is it a bad idea to microwave water for tea, and, when you want to brew your tea at a temperature below boiling, is it necessary to bring the water to a full boil first? And, if either answer is yes, why does it matter?
A little background: Until recently, I just brewed all of my tea with near-boiling water, and I'm only just getting into the habit of brewing teas at the recommended temperature, having recently acquired a proper thermometer. Perhaps needless to say, I'm pleased with the result, especially for my greens! My new method for heating water is to use a basic kettle when I want boiling water, and the combination of my microwave, thermometer, and Pyrex container when I want less than boiling. I brew at the temperature recommended on the packaging--mostly from Adagio--and brew 12-16 ounces at a time for solo drinking.
However, I'm wondering if I could do better, based on some claims I've heard here and there. First of all, I've read several disparaging remarks about microwaving water for tea. I've also seen a few tea guides that said you should bring the water to a full boil and then let it drop to the desired temperature, rather than just heating it to the desired temperature. However, I didn't find a satisfying explanation for either of these claims. Does it really matter? Is it just superstition or is there a scientific reason behind it?
Even if microwaving the water is considered "wrong", I'm enjoying my tea that I've made this way, so the method is definitely good enough. However, I'd like to make the best tea I can. I suppose I could do a comparative tasting with microwaved and kettle-boiled water to see if I can tell the difference and/or care, but in the meantime, I wonder what the more experienced drinkers on this board have to say?