What are the myths about tea? I’ve heard numerous things in the past about Tea, and in fact, I’ve heard more of them since I started exploring teas in more depth. So I decided to do some digging and find out if what I was hearing were indeed correct. Below are my findings!
You might also like the 100 Facts About Tea article for more interesting facts and trivia!
#1 Slurping Tea Is Rude!
In actual fact, officially, tea should be slurped! Slurping tea has its benefits. It cools the tea down, it’s proven that temperature makes a real difference in the flavor of food and drink. It oxygenates the tea which can improve its flavor.
But also it allows the aromatic aromas to escape the liquid. Mild slurping can create a better experience than aggressive slurping.
Spitting out the tea, however, is rude! Similar to Wine, this is more the practice of professional tea tasters at the manufacturing stage when tasting the often stronger tea and where there are more batches produced.
#2. White Tea Will Keep You Looking Young
It has been said that White tea will help you retain your youthful beauty. Sorry to disappoint you but that’s not strictly true. White tea is not hugely different from other teas in the levels of Antioxidants or healthy enzymes. So there are no official reports that drinking tea is an aid to anti-aging.
However! Drinking healthy forms of tea, like White, Green, Oolong, Yellow, or Pu-erh, combined with a healthy diet will offer a number of benefits. Healthy-looking skin is just one of those!
#3 Herbal Teas Are Tea
Although herbal Teas are known as Teas. They’re not officially Teas. All tea products must be derived from the plant Camellia Sinensis. Otherwise known as the Tea Plant. Herbals Teas are any blend derived from other flowers, roots, barks and stems from any other known plant. Also known as Tisanes.
#4 Tea Dehydrates You
This is most definitely not true. The first thing to state here is that tea is almost all water content, boiled, flavored, or otherwise, it’s H2o. Drinking more water is always going to keep you hydrated.
Whilst it’s true that Tea is a Diuretic, it does not mean that more water is leaving your body than is being used. Stay Hydrated, and drink more tea!
#5 Making Loose Leaf Tea Takes Longer and Is Mysterious
Not actually true, making loose-leaf tea the right way is a slightly different process, and there are variations of tea making, the most notable being the Eastern style ‘Gong Fu’ method which are ritual based and purposefully takes the time to make tea in a mindful way.
Otherwise, the act of adding loose-leaf tea to an infuser is almost the same as adding a tea bag to a cup. In fact, it can be less time-consuming as tea is left to steep (or brew) for much less time than tea bags are.
#6 Drinking Tea Decreases the Risk of Cancer
It would be great to think that Tea is a cure for cancer. Lord knows we need one! But the facts are that whilst numerous studies have been conducted – mostly based around Green Tea.
There is no hard and fast rule, or proof, that tea prevents or decreases the risk of cancer. I know I know, it would be great – but so far, it’s a myth.
#7 Tea Bags Are Just as Good as Loose Leaf Tea
Actually, the results typically are very different. Loose-leaf tea in general provides a much deeper, richer, and fuller flavor than tea bags, which typically contain dust known as “fannings” of tea.
Next time you have both loose-leaf tea and tea bags to hand, take a look at the contents. Side by side the product in itself is very different.
Also bear in mind, that the tea in tea bags, is in bags. Small bags, that more often than not don’t allow the tea to flavor the water as fully as loose-leaf tea. Natural loose-leaf tea needs room to expand and mix thoroughly.
#8 Green Tea Will Make You Slimmer
As mentioned previously, there are numerous benefits to tea, however, to say that Green Tea is the font of all slimming treatments would be an overstatement.
It has numerous benefits which, as part of a sensible diet, can assist in reducing stress, bloating, and other forms of health-related benefits. Sure, Green tea is said to increase metabolism, but it’s not going to shed pounds off you each day, or week!
If nothing else, it makes us relax and slow down, as well as think harder about our eating habits and what we consume. Also, you have to admit, it’s not easy eating a bag of fries whilst sipping Green Tea.
#9 Green Tea Is Better for You Than Black Tea
Sure Green tea is good for you, but actually so is black tea. On this one, I couldn’t really describe it much better than thekitchn.com, which state…
“Green and black tea both contain antioxidants, which may prevent cancer and other diseases.”
For years research focused on the health properties of green tea. Recent studies indicate that black tea has benefits as well. In each case oxidation or non-oxidation gives the tea a different set of antioxidant compounds.
#10 Drink as Much Herbal Tea as You Want
That would be nice, wouldn’t it. Sadly it’s not the case. Some Herbal Teas have more in them that can cause harm. For example, Hibiscus lowers blood pressure, too much of this and it could cause problems. Senna is another as too much of this it could lead to dehydration.
#11 Oolong Tea Is Diet Tea
A long-established claim which is, in fact, a myth. Yes, Oolong contains high levels of Catechins, which have a number of benefits, including higher resistance to disease and higher levels of antioxidants. However, this is not solely the realm of Oolong as previous skewed studies have indicated.
Equally as helpful in losing weight is Green tea which helps to increase metabolism, reduce bloating, and also burn fat quicker. But also helpful is Peppermint Tea, which aids digestion. These will only help as part of an overall diet – they are not a magic bullet.
Most tea will have some effect on a diet if it’s used to replace sugary or more unhealthy beverages. Something as simple as cutting out your sugar with tea can help enormously.
#12 Herbal Teas Are Safe for Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women
All the signs seem to point to staying away from Herbals Teas if you’re a mom or mom-to-be, there just isn’t enough evidence to support that Herbals Teas would be safe enough for your child.
I’m no Doctor, but whilst I think there is even a chance of risk then it’s better to stay away. The good news is it’s not forever!
#13 Rooibos Is a Real Type of Tea
Thankfully, over the course of my writings, I haven’t yet fallen into the trap of thinking Rooibos is a standard type of tea alongside Green, Black, White, etc.
Red tea or even Red bush tea because of its reddish color, is very different from what the Chinese call Red Tea.
It also does not come from the tea plant Camellia Sinensis, but from a herb called Aspalathus Linearis grown in South Africa. Growing this was started as a replacement for tea. If you want to explore the various types of tea then see my other article on What is Tea.
#14 Tea Health Benefits Are the Antioxidants
Antioxidants and Polyphenols and whatever else is in tea are good for us. Yes, we’re drinking a healthy plant-based nutrient at least, and no one has told us any of it is bad. But what are the health benefits?
Some that you might find listed include: Increases metabolism for weight loss, aids a restful night’s sleep, relieves stress, and many more.
But more important than this is that we’re taking some time out of our busy daily lives to enjoy some slow time. It might only be 10 minutes, but in relieving many symptoms this is a great move towards fighting all sorts of diseases and ailments.
Whether it’s Afternoon Tea, Japanese Style Tea Ceremonies, or a Chamomile before bedtime, it’s going to help us to simply slow down.
#16 Adding Milk to Tea Negates the Health Benefits
If you heard this one, then you should ignore it. It’s completely untrue. Adding milk to any kinds of tea will not remove any of the nutrients or goodness still remaining in the cup. It will not counteract any of the existing ingredients and in fact, milk provides other health benefits such as calcium.
I’d definitely avoid putting milk into Earl Grey! And some other specialty teas. But if milk in any tea takes your fancy then who could argue with you!
#17 Black Tea Has More Caffeine Than Other Teas
Not true, the level of caffeine in most teas is between 3% and 5%. Exact levels are dependent on a number of factors regardless of the type.
Teas can range in caffeine levels based on where in the world they’re grown, and altitude plays a role. They are also dependent on whether the tea is grown in shaded areas, tea mostly grown in shaded areas contains slightly more caffeine.
Also, the time of year affects the levels too. Teas that are grown earlier in the year typically contain higher levels. Also, how long you steep the tea also has an effect. The longer the brewing time, the more Caffeine is released.
The processing of tea in the normal sense does not remove or diminish caffeine levels. Decaffeinated tea is a different product entirely. It has undergone a number of additional processes to strip out the majority of the caffeine.
However, this also strips the tea of many nutrients, so I’d urge you to steer clear of these.
#18 Herbal Teas Do Not Contain Caffeine
This is a bit of a sneaky one! As we know the majority of Herbals teas do not contain Caffeine. As they’re not blends from the Camellia Sinensis Plant.
However, Guarana Tea and Yerba Mate tea do actually contain caffeine. In fact, Yerba Mate tea contains almost as much caffeine as found in Coffee!
If you want to ensure you have caffeine-free tea, fruity teas are almost always flavored teas, these can contain caffeine, so you may want to avoid them, or at least check the label as this should tell you what, if any caffeine they contain.
#19 Peppermint Tea Is Good for Stomach Upset
This is not strictly true. Peppermint tea is known to aid digestion. However, peppermint on a poorly stomach is not the best option. Mint, in general, is known to aggravate Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD), otherwise known as Heartburn to you or me.
A better option to give someone who has an upset stomach is Ginger. Whether in tea or other forms.
#20 Detox Tea Is Better for You Than Standard Tea
There are some grey lines here. detox teas are actually different from regular teas. They’re often blends of different ingredients that are designed to target the weight-loss market. Often they will contain diuretic-based ingredients, like Dandelion leaf, or nettle leaf. Or they’ll have a blend of laxative ingredients added, like senna leaf.
While these may actually facilitate weight loss, it’s not necessarily down to the Tea, but the added ingredients.
Plus, it’s widely regarded that any weight loss is largely temporary due to the loss of body fluid and body waste and not because of any increase in the burning of body fat.
The NCBI, National Center for Biotechnology Information carried out a study, this 10,000-word study document describing various tests proved to be inconclusive in establishing any concrete benefits of Green Tea.
#21 Herbal Teas Are Natural and Therefore Safe
Sadly not, whilst Herbal Teas are really really good for you, they are not wholly without their downsides. If you’re taking medication, then some Herbal teas may have counteracting effects, or block out the effects of some teas, so be sure to consult with your doctor if you think this may be the case.
Also, some of the less common Herbal Teas can bring on side effects such as shortness of breath or swelling. Before drinking Herbal Teas, make sure you read the packaging thoroughly so you know the contents and if you’re concerned then select a different tea.
#22 Tea Doesn’t Go Bad or Go Off
Tea, if kept in an airtight container (except Pu-erh) should last a significant amount of time.
At least 6 months for Green Tea. If you really want to know how long you can store tea, then check out our post about Storing Tea Bags Which will answer all of your questions and even has guidance for specific types of teas.
#23 All Herbal Teas Have a Smooth Flavor
Not actually true, this is where we need to use a bit of common sense. Herbal teas are greatly influenced by the plant from which they’re grown – obviously!
As always there are a few exceptions …Valerian Tea for many is not actually very pleasant tasting, however, when blended with the right scents and flavorings it can provide a healthy, beneficial tea!
If you’re looking for that balanced smooth flavor try Chamomile. But, in general, if you’re looking for a fruity flavor, well Blackcurrant or Acai Tea are possible options. Options for a spicy flavor might be Ginger, or Lemongrass, or Lemon Balm for a more citrus hit.
#24 All Herbal Teas Are Brewed the Same Way
I was actually quite shocked when I found this out, I just naively thought all herbal teas were steeped about the same length of time, but apparently not!
Some only require a few minutes (as per usual) but others can require a lot longer, and even overnight in some cases.
To give you an idea Peppermint or Chamomile are typically around 1-2 minutes, whilst Hops tea is around 10 minutes and Barley is actually best steeped overnight!
#25 The Tea Bag Was Invented by Accident
Its widely assumed that Thomas Sullivan accidentally invented the tea bag when he used it as a means to transport the correct quantity of tea samples to his customer – who promptly just added the tea bags to the pots. In fact, records show that prior to that, two women, Roberta Lawson, and Mary McLaren, In 1901, submitted a patent for what is considered to be the modern Teabag.
Wow, well that’s my current list of Myths about Tea. I may add to this over time, or if you think some are wrong then I’d really like to hear your comments.
Some you may already know, and some may be new to you. But I hope this has helped to provide at least a few trivial facts for you to stun your friends during a conversation!
If you liked this, you might also like the 100 Facts About Tea article that I compiled too, with lots of interesting facts, trivia, and findings I’ve compiled for your delight!