Did you know that tea is the most popular beverage worldwide? Of course, water takes the top spot but it may surprise you to learn that tea is even more popular than coffee, soda, and alcohol. When you think about it, the popularity of tea makes sense. It grows on many continents, there are lots of varieties, and it has many health benefits. But the high profile of tea has led to a lot of misinformation and tea myths that many assume are facts.
If you have heard of one of these myths, you might be avoiding certain teas for no good reason. So let’s debunk some of the most common tea myths so you can enjoy your favorite beverage without any concerns!
Black Tea Has the Most Caffeine
Many people opt for a cup of black tea in the mornings instead of coffee to perk them up. They believe it to be the most energizing of all the teas because it has the most caffeine.
But this is one of the most common tea myths. All types of tea have around 3-5% caffeine. And the variety of tea doesn’t have as much impact on the caffeine in tea as other factors.
Climate, altitude, season, and shade will all change the level of caffeine in tea leaves.
If you do prefer to drink tea with more caffeine, steep your tea longer. This will increase the caffeine levels no matter which tea you are drinking.
Herbal Teas Are Actual Teas
Sorry to break it to you, but that delicious cup of camomile tea you are drinking isn’t actual tea. Real teas come from the Camellia Sinensis plant whereas herbal teas are blends of flowers, fruits, roots, barks, and stems from other plants. These plants are Tisanes.
These are the five main categories of real teas:
- Black tea
- White tea
- Green tea
- Oolong tea
- Post-fermented (Pu-erh) tea
Yellow tea is less popular but it is also a type of tea. And rooibos, which is a popular and delicious tea, isn’t real tea. But it shouldn’t matter much if a certain tea is real or not, only that it’s a delicious tea!
Loose Leaf Tea and Tea Bags Are the Same
People may like to believe the results of loose leaf tea and tea bags are the same. But there are two key differences: the texture of the tea and the steeping process.
Loose leaf tea tends to be cuttings of the tea plant itself. The tea in tea bags contains the “fannings” or dust of the tea plant. Loose leaf tea also provides a deeper flavor than tea bags because the flavor in the latter cannot seep into the water as well.
Green Tea Is Healthier Than Black Tea
Arguments over which tea is the best tea will continue until the end of time. But one ongoing tea debate is that green tea is healthier than black tea. This bias likely exists because there are more studies into the health benefits of green tea than any other type of tea.
In reality, there are lots of black tea benefits as well. It has comparable levels of antioxidants that are in green tea and they can both help reduce stress.
Adding Milk Makes Tea Less Healthy
People in western countries, in particular, prefer adding milk to their mug of black tea. But some think this lessens the health benefits of tea and makes it a less healthy drink.
This is one of the most ridiculous tea myths because nothing can take away the health benefits of tea. Plus, the amount of milk you are adding to your tea is negligible. But if you did want to stay away from dairy then oat milk is a fantastic alternative.
Though there is one black tea you should never add milk to and that’s Earl Gray. Lemon is a much better accompaniment.
Peppermint Tea Is Good for the Stomach
This tea myth isn’t 100% false but it’s not as clear as it should be. Peppermint is a good digestive aid. This means it’s a great type of tea to drink after a heavy meal to encourage digestion.
But that doesn’t mean it’s good for the stomach in general. If you feel sick or are suffering from a sickness bug, then avoid all mint teas. Ginger is a good alternative for these types of stomach complaints.
Tea Has an Unlimited Shelf Life
This is a half myth. It is true that tea doesn’t have an expiry date and it is rare that any tea will be unsafe to drink.
But older tea will lose its potency and become less flavorful over time. If you want to keep your tea fresher for longer, store it in an airtight container. You should also consume your tea within six months if you want to drink it at its best.
All Types of Tea Have the Same Brewing Time
If you’re not a tea connoisseur, you likely have no idea how long you should brew tea. Chances are you steep your tea until you think the color is okay and then you remove your tea bag or loose leaf tea.
But different types of teas need steeping for longer than others. Here are the steeping times for some popular teas:
- Black tea – three to five minutes
- White tea – four to five minutes
- Green tea – one to three minutes
- Oolong tea – two to three minutes
- Camomile tea – five or more minutes
- Peppermint tea – three minutes
- Raspberry tea – five or more minutes
- You may need to invest in a tea timer if you love camomile tea as you will be waiting a while!
Did You Believe Any of These Tea Myths?
Some of these tea myths are more widespread than others, but you’ve likely heard one or two before. Now you know the truth about tea’s health benefits, the different types of tea, and how you should make it. And you can educate fellow tea lovers in your life too.
You now know the impact of drinking tea on your health, but what are some other healthy diet tips? Browse our health and food articles for lots more tips and advice!