The culture of tea is populated with tea facts and tea fiction.
Legend has it that Emperor Shen-Nung discovered tea by accident over 5 000 years ago when a gust of wind blew some leaves into a pot of water bubbling on his campfire.
Enchanted by the aromas that ensued, the emperor decided to taste this concoction exclaiming “T’sa” (god-like) in delight. From there, this delicious brew has spread to every corner of the world and is still known by the name ‘cha’ in China.
With over 158 million cups of tea consumed in the USA every day, it seems that many agree with Emperor Shen-Nung’s appraisal. However, not every story you hear about this popular drink is true.
Find out five tea facts that you need to know before you buy your next box of tea.
1. Some types of tea have less caffeine than others
It is widely believed that black tea has more caffeine than green tea. All tea comes from the same plant and has the same amount of caffeine to start off with.
Other factors have more to do with the caffeine content of your cuppa such as:
- Where and how it is grown
- The size of the leaves
- How it is plucked and processed
- How long you brew your tea
In the right combination, these elements could easily result in a green tea that has just as much caffeine as black tea.
2. Tea facts and health myths
Green tea is the healthiest tea
Green tea is certainly a healthy drink but it has no more health benefits than any of the other types of tea. While green tea does contain more antioxidants than black tea due to its oxidation process, no one is really sure what the health benefits of these are yet.
Tea fights cancer
Tea performed really well against cancer in tests run on mice, but humans – no evidence yet I’m afraid.
Green tea is slimming
Anything is slimming as part of a healthy, controlled diet. There is no proof to suggest that green tea has any weight-busting properties at all apart from boosting your metabolism a little. The only way to lose weight by drinking tea is to stop drinking sugar-filled sodas and drink tea instead.
3. Tea doesn’t expire
Sorry folks, tea goes into a decline after about 6 months on the shelf and it starts to lose its antioxidant properties. When it comes to tea – the fresher the better. Tea is best stored in a cool, dark, dry place and consumed within 4 months.
4. Any dried leaves brewed in water are called tea
Only drinks derived from the leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant are classified as tea. Herbal teas and chamomile teas are brewed from flowers and bark – giving them no right to be called tea. Beverages brewed in this fashion are called tisanes.
These tisanes are usually caffeine-free but do not have the antioxidants that tea has.
5. Tea bags are the same as loose tea
Certainly not! Tea bags contain inferior quality tea dust and not tea leaves. The best tea is hand-rolled from the tenderest shoots and unopened buds. It is easier than you think to brew tea from tea leaves instead of bags – it just takes a little practice and something to remove the leaves from the water.
True tea lovers know the tea facts. Get in touch for more information and advice on how to get the most out of your favorite beverage.