8 false tea myths that need to be corrected
- Article by: UKTIA
- Thursday 20th October 2016
Get your facts straight about tea!
We have devised a list of 8 of the most common false myths about tea that need to be corrected...
1 - Herbal 'tea' is tea
Peppermint, camomile, strawberry, rhubarb... these herbal ‘teas’ aren’t teas at all, they are ‘infusions’, meaning that they are made from the infusion of herbs, spices or plants in hot water. The key difference between a tea and an infusion is the lack of caffeine and Camellia sinensis and in many countries the word ‘tea’ can only be used to describe those made with leaves of Camellia sinensis. So the popular label ‘herbal tea’ is actually an oxymoron. Infusions can also be called ‘tisane’.
2 - Green tea is the healthiest kind
Green tea is often labelled as a superfood and the healthy alternative to black tea. But both black and green tea come from the plant Camellia sinensis and both have similar amounts of antioxidants and minerals.
3 - Adding milk ruins tea's health benefits
Whether it’s a splash or a hefty pour, adding milk does nothing to dent tea’s health properties. The same amount of catechins - antioxidants said to reduce the risk of some cancers - were absorbed from milky tea as from black tea. Considering 98% of us take milk in our tea, that’s a very good thing.
4 - Tea breaks are a modern phenomenon
Tea breaks have been a part of the industrialised and developing world for over 200 years. When workers started their day at around 5am or 6am, employers allowed a morning break where food and tea were served. However, between 1741 and 1820 landowners, industrialists and clerics tried to put a stop to the break maintaining that tea drinking and rest made working people slothful.
5 - The Brits invented the tea bag
Sorry Brits, it was actually the Americans who invented the teabag. Although there are some records of loose-leaf bags being used in ancient China, the first labour-saving teabag was created by US tea merchant Thomas Sullivan, by accident... In around 1908 Sullivan started to send tea samples to customers in small silken bags. Some recipients assumed that they were supposed to be used in the same way as the metal infusers and put the entire bag into the pot rather than emptying out its contents.
6 - Different tea comes from different plants
Black, green, yellow, Earl Grey, English Breakfast... they all come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis.
7 - India is the biggest consumer of tea in the world
India, China and the UK do consume huge amounts of tea but per capita, the Republic of Ireland consumes the most per year.
8 - Tea doesn't go off
Tea left in your cupboard for a year or so will not be as fresh as it once was. It may taste the same but it will gradually lose its antioxidants. To ensure your tea is fresh and beneficial, either store it in a sealed container in a cool, dark place or drink it up quickly.