9 Tea Myths Examined

September 29, 2019
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Tea is the World’s most popular beverage so naturally many myths surround it - some positive, some negative and others completely misleading. So let’s demystify some of these popular beliefs about tea. Our expert tea tasters answer your questions on the subject.

"Tea does not contain caffeine." Myth or reality?

In fact, all teas naturally contain caffeine (historically named “theine” but actually the same compound). It all starts with the caffeine content of the original fresh leaves that were used to make the tea.  So all styles of tea be it green, black, wulong, etc. can have different levels of caffeine, ranging from low (12mg / cup) to medium/high (50mg / cup).  It is important to remember that we cannot generalize caffeine content by the style of tea.

If we compare to other drinks a cup of coffee would be between 90 and 180mg / cup. Therefore, tea does contain caffeine, but the rate is relatively low. For more information, read this article.

"Rinsing tea leaves remove caffeine.” Myth or reality?

Rinsing tea for a few seconds will slightly reduce the amount of caffeine, but with 80% of caffeine released in the first 2 minutes of infusion, it is not a full fix. It is also in this period that the major part of the flavour is released, so we do not recommend doing a long rinse as it will result in a very unsatisfactory drink.  Instead, we suggest choosing a tea that is naturally lower in caffeine.

"Green tea helps you lose weight." Myth or reality?

All tea styles facilitate the elimination of fat; therefore, yes, tea contributes to weight maintenance. However wonderful it is, tea is not a miracle cure. The key is always to combine the consumption of tea with a healthy diet and the practice of regular physical activity. In fact, aged teas such as Pu er would be the best choice for regulation and efficiency of the digestive tract. For more information, read this article.

"Tea causes dehydration." Myth or reality?

On the contrary, tea promotes hydration despite being a diuretic.

"Tea helps to promote digestion." Myth or reality?

All tea styles help with digestion but aged teas and Pu Er teas are the best options, as they are more alkali so help soothe acidity of the stomach, cleanse the digestive system and facilitate digestion.

"Tea has no expiry date." Myth or reality?

In fact, well-stored tea never really "expires". Though the majority of teas (with the exception of Pu er and aged teas) are best enjoyed fresh, as close as possible to the date of harvest. Ideally, one consumes a tea within 6 (green and yellow teas) to 12 months (black, wulong, white) after the plucking. Just like spices, the longer you wait, the more the flavours fade.  But if you do find an old forgotten tea in the cupboard it is always worth a try, sometimes good storage can keep a tea’s character for years.  Cold-brew iced tea is a great way to salvage these old leaves too.

"To slurp tea is rude. Myth or reality?

Yes, it may sound strange, but in fact, slurping enables a thin jet of tea to settle on all the surfaces of your mouth.  This way the taste buds spread over various surfaces of your tongue and the roof of your mouth can give you a complete analysis compared to a thin trickle down the centre of the tongue from a quiet sip. This technique used by all tea tasters.  Take a sip then take a slurp, the difference is clear.

"Drinking tea reduces the risk of cancer." Myth or reality?

Each tea contains different levels some of the antioxidants associated with the reduction of cancer risk and cell degeneration. Tea is often recommended for the prevention of cancer and can help during treatments against certain cancers.  In our lab research, we have shown how all styles of tea have varying levels.  Some green teas are rich in antioxidants others less, the same with black teas and all the other styles.  

See the studies we did on tea antioxidants.

"Everybody knows Green tea is the Best for Health." Myth or reality?

Green tea certainly has all the many health benefits we look for in tea. When it comes to the level of antioxidants, green teas are often high, just as other green teas will be low.  So far we have tested mostly green teas and the results are varied. Unless we have tested the tea it is never wise to generalize.  To learn about the different styles, read this page.

A note from Kevin

To get the most from tea you need to drink it every day so the one that is best for you is one you really enjoy.  
Let’s not forget that pleasure is also good for our health!
We all know tea is good for our us, once we are tea drinkers that is a given, so we are in a luxury position where we can relax and enjoy it for its fascinating flavours and diversity.

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