Tea lover and food writer Kenny Leong, and Angela Phua of tea specialist A.muse Projects, help clear the air on common misconceptions.
MYTH: Expensive tea = better tea
TRUTH: Like wine, the price of tea depends largely on harvest, vintage, supply and demand. When demand for a harvest is high, prices increase correspondingly. Also, producers with a better reputation are able to charge a premium for their teas. These factors do not, however, guarantee the quality of tea produced.
MYTH: Herbal teas are safe for consumption during pregnancy
TRUTH: It may be tempting to switch to herbal teas (which are caffeine-free) during pregnancy. Still, consult a dietitian or doctor to ensure that these do not contain any ingredients that may adversely affect the fetus.
MYTH: Loose-leaf tea is always superior in quality
TRUTH: While the components in teabags (tea fannings and tea dust) make lower-grade tea, the quality of loose-leaf tea that has been poorly harvested and produced isn’t much better either. Check the loose leaves after brewing – if they’re torn and broken into small pieces, chances are, they have been poorly processed.
MYTH: All teas are real teas
TRUTH: Technically, for a tea to be considered real, it must be made from the camellia sinensis plant – whether you get white, green, oolong or black depends on the processing of the leaves. Otherwise, they are classified as tisanes or herbal infusions. Herbal teas such as rooibos and camomile are produced from a mix of different herbs and do not include tea leaves.
MYTH: Drinking lots of tea will help you lose weight
TRUTH: Some teas are high in catechins and other polyphenols and phenolic compounds (believed to help cut fat absorption). But don’t be in a hurry to ditch your exercise regimen because there hasn’t been any conclusive result on the weight-loss effects of tea.
By The Her World Team, November 2014