Dunking: Art vs Science

Dunking: Art vs Science

This week, I was passed an article on an experiment from 1999 that captured the public’s imagination in a way that most Nobel Prize winning work doesn’t. Why?  Because it concerned tea of course!

Dr Len Fisher experimented on the structural integrity of different biscuits by adding hot tea - drop by drop - to their surfaces. 

He examined the saturated snacks under a microscope, measuring the exact moment when the grain starches go soft and the sugar dissolves. This is when the biscuit collapses under its own weight. 

My favourite part of this BBC news report is when Len takes no chances and applies safety goggles before using a belt sander on a biscuit with a racy calendar on the wall. It is quality 90s broadcasting. 


Long story short, Len recommends dunking your biscuit at an angle, keeping part of it dry (and mechanically strong) so it can support the wet bit. 

I think Len is wrong and here is why.

When dunking biscuits, I want maximum biscuit to tea exposure. Maximum biscuit saturation and crucially, maximum risk.

I don’t know about you but when I dunk, I dunk to feel alive. The perfect dunk is when it is just about still a biscuit and not a soggy mess at the bottom of the cup. 

To my mind, dunking belongs firmly in the realm of art, not science.

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