Tea 101: Debunking Tea Myths
While tea is an increasingly popular drink, many myths about tea still exist. In today’s post, we aim to debunk five common tea myths.
1. Green Tea is only from Japan
Japan has done an excellent job marketing its green teas, so much so that many people think that green tea comes only from Japan. The truth is, green tea can be made anywhere. In fact, the home of all teas, China, produces some wonderful green teas such as Long Jing (Dragon Well) and Taiping Houkui. And if you’re willing to look beyond China and Japan, countries such as Sri Lanka and India also produce green tea, albeit in smaller quantities.
The only thing to remember is that the taste of tea is affected by its terroir. This means that the taste of green tea can differ depending on where it’s grown and processed, and it would be unfair to the tea to expect all green teas to taste like Japanese green teas. View all our green teas here.
2. The longer you steep, the better it tastes
One of the factors that influences the flavour of tea is the steeping time, which leads many people to assume that the longer they leave the teabag or loose leaves in the pot, the better the taste of tea. However, this is only partly true. Tea does taste stronger the longer you leave it, but only up to a certain point. If you steep a tea for too long, too many tannins are released, causing your tea to turn bitter and unpalatable.
The idea steeping time will depend on the type of tea — a good rule of thumb is to start with the recommended time and adjust that to suit your taste.
3. Different types of tea are made from different plants
Because green tea, black tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, and dark teas look different from each other, it’s easy to assume that each type of tea comes from a different plant. However, all tea comes from the same plant – the camellia sinesis. The differences between types of tea arise from the different ways the leaf is processed. For example, green tea is barely oxidised, black tea is fully oxidised, while oolong tea is partially oxidised, resulting in the different colours of the tea.
4. You must use boiling water to make tea
Most of us are most familiar with black tea, and as a result, we assume that all tea should be made with boiling water. However, using water that is too hot for delicate teas such as green teas can spoil the tea and make it taste more bitter than it should. And if you prefer something cold, you can avoid hot water and cold-brew tea for a smooth and undiluted cold tea. If you would like to read more about the relationship between water and tea, be sure to check out our two part series on the subject coming soon.
5. Herbal teas are tea
A search for “herbal tea” on Google will turn up over two hundred million results. Yet, herbal teas are not teas. Herbal teas are actually tisanes – or an infusion of fruit; leaves; root; seeds or bark in water, sans the camellia sinesis plant. Tisanes are fast gaining popularity for its host of health benefits and since tisanes are naturally caffeine-free, they are a great choice if you’re sensitive to caffeine or want something a little more relaxing before bed.
We hope that this article has helped clear up some of the myths surrounding tea. Now that you know what tea is and isn’t, hopefully we’ve helped change your perception towards this likeable, yet often misunderstood, beverage.