The Ladies' Tea Guild

Monday, March 29, 2010

Don't be fooled by these tea myths!

There are many myths and misconceptions about tea, as with many other parts of life. Here are my top 10 picks of the most pervasive (and in some cases, dangerous) tea myths in America! Some of the myths are related to one another and are almost two parts of the same myth, and many are even touted by some of the most respected and well-intentioned tea scholars in the nation! There are health-related tea myths, etiquette-related tea myths, and history-related tea myths, but the one thing they all share – apart from their connection with tea – is their basis in partial truths. That’s part of what makes them so appealing! Much of the misunderstanding that originally led to the formation of each myth, is linked to someone removing a fact from its context, and coming up with a cut-and-dried “blanket” answer to someone else’s question about tea. Facts removed from their context can be dangerous things! Each myth in the following list is linked to an article that reveals the truth. So, in no particular order, the Top 10 American Tea Myths:

1. Black tea has the most caffeine, oolong and green tea have less caffeine, white tea has the least amount of caffeine, and decaffeinated tea has no caffeine.

2. If I can’t have caffeinated tea, I can remove 90% of the caffeine by steeping regular tea for 30 seconds, throwing that water out, and then re-infusing the same leaves.

3. Afternoon tea and high tea are the same thing; or, high tea is the fancy tea party with all the little sandwiches and pastries.

4. Tea should be served with cream and sugar.

5. Tea is just for grannies and boring people who don’t drink alcohol.

6. All tea bags are filled with tea “dust”, which is the tea that drops on the floor of a tea factory.

7. Adding milk to a cup of tea will destroy all the antioxidants and other health benefits.

8. Drinking tea is unhealthy because the caffeine will dehydrate your system.

9. If I’m allergic to mold, I can’t drink real tea because it’s moldy.

10. The proper way to hold a cup of tea includes sticking your pinky finger up or out.

Other resources:
"Can I really decaffeinate my tea in 30 seconds?"
“Tea-time 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“Put milk in that creamer, not cream.”
“Tea is not just for teatotallers!”
“Intermediate tea tasting: what does good quality tea look like?”
“Immortal Elixir: a hearty cup of tea”
“Tea and the mold-free diet”
“The enduring legacy of Emily Post: Manners still matter”
“Tea bag stigma”
Mythical origin of Earl Grey Tea: “Debunking tea myths, and other trivia”, from Adagio Teas’ Tea Class.
“Sun Tea Winner (Plus a Rant About Information Drift)”
“Caffeine and tea: myth and reality” by Nigel Melican of TeaCraft, Ltd.
“Is Sun Tea Safe?”
“An update on tea and caffeine” from The Tea Table
Tea Advisory Panel
Micronutrient Information Center, Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University


Rosemary said...

It's an ongoing continuing education about tea! Good job on helping to debunk the myths.

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

Thanks! I try ...

lori said...

I just wanted to correct the link to "An update on tea and caffeine" by The Tea Table. Here is the updated link: An update on tea and caffeine

Nice article and thanks for the link!
Lori Bricker, MS, RD
The Tea Table

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)