Chai is more than just a drink. It’s an emotion, a rhythm that plays around every Indian household. From your roadside addas to family-traditions, this hot beverage is a regular companion, one that breaks all the biases of our socio-culture & socio-economic being. From having your first sip in the morning to winding up your day with it, tea is one perpetual cushion of comfort. 

The documented evidence conferring to the history of tea intake in India dates back to 750 BC. Having progressed since those early days, your perfect cup of chai has come a long way. Today this nation is proud to be one of the largest tea manufacturers in the world. Whether you are dealing with a tough day at work or are feeling weary, nothing is as uplifting as cup of warm tea.

So on this occasion of International Tea day, allow me to burst some of the tea myths that you must have stumbled upon

Myth 1: Green tea is super tea

Green tea is the best

Reality: This is False

Often heard people suggesting Green Tea over Black Tea? Both of these are derived from the same plant called Camellia Sinensis, but their reaping, dispensation and brewing methods are different.

Green tea leaves are untainted and do not undergo fermentation and oxidation like black tea making them rich in antioxidants known for fighting cancer, cardiovascular diseases and more. On the other hand, black tea has a group of polyphenols, which improves blood vessel function. Consuming black tea also can improve your concentration, attention and heart strength. Hence it would be safe to say that both of these types are good for health, they just simply differ in their health benefits.

Green tea facilitates weight loss is another prevalent myth. Even nutritionists and dieticians suggest its consumption, claiming weight loss. A lot of companies today sell them as a weight-loss facilitator. Please note that green tea is no magic potion. If you are someone who has soda or other sweetened drinks regularly and you replace those with green tea, then yes you will surely see some results, that too in the long term. However, by simply adding green tea without replacing your sugar drinks will do no good to you. Sorry, but I had to break that to you!

Myth 2: Tea doesn’t have an expiration date

expiration date of tea

Reality: This is False

If you’ve got bags of tea deskbound at your pantry for quite a while now, maybe its time you get rid of them. The shelf life of tea is about 6 months and it would be wise for you to not surpass this period. The tea that you buy from the supermarket has an expiration date printed on it, however, this fact is rarely paid any heed. This date specifies how long the tea will maintain its perfect taste. You will realize that over time, the flavor may not be as strong as earlier. This is because the natural oils and flavors vanish gradually. Loose leaf tea will have a longer expiration date than tea bags. The smaller the leaf, the faster it will perish. 

If you are buying a large quantity of tea you can always vacuum seal and store it in the fridge. Try doing this immediately after getting it. Leave a smaller quantity to drink. Never put an open tea pouch into the fridge because it will collect all odor from the food.
Tip: Generally, it is best to store tea in an airtight vessel away from direct sunlight, in a cool and dry place. Loading tea leaves in the freezer does extend its freshness.

Myth 3: Tea bags are the same as loose tea

Tea bags have poor quality tea

Reality: This is False

Certainly not! Teabags contain substandard variant tea dust and not tea leaves. The best tea is hand-rolled from the tenderest sprouts and unopened buds. Tea leaves need room to expand for bursting flavor. When making a cup of tea, your loose tea mingles in the boiling water and swells. This inflammation ensures that extreme flavor and color has been extracted. Dust is the leftover, powdery texture and is often flounced off the floor. In fact, dust is considered the lowest grade of tea. A pack of 50 teabags would cost you somewhere around 350/- whereas tea dust is just 180/- for the same amount. And I am sure you wouldn’t want to shell out twice as much money just for the packaging?

So, let your tea leaves unfurl to the fullest! When you have an option to choose, it is wiser to go for tea leaves than bags. Also, keep in mind that, because tea bags contain fragmented leaves of smaller size, they yield an infusion with more caffeine than loose tea does.

Myth 4: Tea has more caffeine than coffee

Caffeine in drinks

Reality: This is False

It is true that there is more caffeine in the leaves of the Tea plant than in the coffee beans of either of the Coffee plants. However, after brewing, a cup of coffee has more caffeine than a cup of tea. This is because it is brewed at a higher temperature and for a longer time. Even if you soak black tea for about 5 minutes at 93 degrees Celsius, they will not yield as much caffeine as coffee because of their chemical construction and age. An average cup (250 ml) of black tea has 47 mg of caffeine whereas the same cup of coffee has 95 mg of caffeine.

Myth 5: Tea Dehydrates you 

Dehydrating drinks

Reality: This is False

Caffeine does cause your kidneys to flush extra sodium and water from the body through urine. If you’re peeing often, and thus losing lots of liquid, it’s reasonable to think you could get dehydrated — but it essentially doesn’t work that way. Despite this effect of caffeine, both herbal and caffeine-containing teas are unlikely to parch you. To be significantly dehydrated, caffeine needs to be consumed in amounts larger than 500 mg — or the equivalent of 6–13 cups (1,440–3,120 ml) of tea. Researchers report that when consumed in reasonable amounts, caffeinated drinks counting tea are as hydrating as water.

Myth 6: Indians are the largest tea consumers

Largest consumer of tea

Reality: This is False

The top tea producers today are China and India, but based on 2016 per capita tea consumption, the countries drinking the most tea are Turkey, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The Turks, don’t simply enjoy drinking tea; they absolutely worship it. In this nation, on an average one person drinks 3.16 kg of tea annually!
How is this possible? Only recently introduced in the 20th century, tea in Turkey has shot up to the most popular hot drink. This jump in popularity is due to the fact that tea was imported as coffee costs began to rise thus making tea a cheaper and popular alternative amongst the locals.

Myth 7: Darjeeling Tea is the best Tea

Tea estate

Reality: This is True

Darjeeling tea often called the fine wine of teas, is famous for its special aroma and is preferred by connoisseurs around the world. It is a widely accepted belief that this particular black variety is the best of the best. It is grown in the Himalayas where the perfect climate for growing black tea exists with pickers going through the cold, steep terrain, mists and heavy rains to get you this gem. These factors also contribute to the delectable, musky-sweet taste that this tea offers. A pound of this can cost hundreds of dollars, though it typically sells for less. Many products packaged under the Darjeeling name are actually blends of this type and a much cheaper variety, so you have to be careful when you’re shopping.

Did you know that Darjeeling tea has been granted its geographical identification status authenticating its origin?

Darjeeling tea logo

The Tea Board of India and the Darjeeling Planters’ Association developed this logo for GI of Darjeeling Tea

Myth 8: India’s most expensive tea is only picked under a full moon

Plucking season

Reality: This is True

Brought to you from the heights of the Himalayas – Silver Tips. This special tea is celebrated for its color and hearty flavor. The plants are grown at a height of 8,000 feet above the sea level. Makaibari Tea Estate, the first-ever tea factory in the world processes the tea leaves after they have been harvested. The factory is located in Darjeeling, India. It’s believed that the aligning of the sun, moon, and other cosmic forces produce the right conditions for optimum harvest. This “biodynamic tea farm” relies on a celestial calendar to know when to harvest, but the plucking season is generally held from March to October.

On a full moon night, Silver Tips Imperial tea leaves are picked and packed before sunrise to maintain the integrity of the aroma. A spiritual ceremony at dusk with drummers, dancers, and prayer chanters kicks off the picking ritual. So much so that the event has now become a popular tourist attraction. The price? Well, it’s just $400 per kilogram!

Here is the link to Makaibari

Myth 9: Tea is just a beverage! 

Benefits of tea

Reality: This is False

Apart from brewing, this magical beverage has proven to have many more interesting uses extending to skincare and other life hacks. One such hack is to rub slightly damp leaves on uncovered areas of skin, in order to keep mosquitoes away. Green tea bags are also great for reducing dark circles and under-eye puffiness. Tea has also been used for cleaning floors, naturally dyeing cloth, marinating meat, and for helping to patch up tiny nicks from shaving. It’s often used for gardening purposes also. Flowering plants love the leaves, absorbing the nutrients that they offer through the soil. This makes a great addition to a compost pile, as it can accelerate the process of decomposition.

Myth 10: You can read Tea 

Tasseography - Tea leaves reading

Reality: This is True

This aromatic beverage today, is enjoyed in nearly every culture around the world. But tea isn’t just for sipping. Tea leaves are also used as a divination tool to explore the past, present, and future. The term ‘Tasseography’ is coined from the word ‘Tasse’ which is a French word that means cup. This technique was extended to the art of reading coffee grains as well as wine. Apparently, no one can tell the origin of tea leaves reading, however its followed commonly across cultures.  

Myth 11: All kinds of tea come from the same species of tree

Different type of tea
Different type of tea

Reality: This is True

Yes, that’s right, all tea, whether it’s black, oolong, green, white, or pu-erh, comes from the same plant just how all wine comes from the grape, albeit different varieties. The only difference among them is the way the leaves are processed after they’re harvested. What you need to know is that all tea leaves are processed by weathering, rolling and heating them. Different types of this beverage are created according to the traditional steps or depending on the timing of each step taken before the tea leaves are packaged.

It’s strange how myths become stronger as they pass on. We might perceive them just as fun facts but they are rather used by businesses to misguide us in order to mint money. One of my other favorite tea topic is myths surrounding green tea. Comment below and let me know if you would want me to talk about them also.

Hope you enjoyed reading the article. Once again Happy International Tea day.
Until next time…

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  1. This is amazing!
    Such a quick and fun read. I am a coffee person and even I enjoyed reading the article.
    Happy International Tea day. Keep creating!

  2. A well researched article on tea myths
    At least it has cleared many grey areas about tea and thanks for sharing it
    A very well timed with the International Tea Day
    Keep writing and educating All of US.
    Well done

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