We’re continuing our countdown from last week! Read on as we debunk the next five myths surrounding tea.
Myth #6: Tea tastes like hot water.
Fact: If you find your cups of tea are tasting like hot water, there are a few different tweaks you can try to enhance the flavour of your cup. Pay attention to the quality of your water – and never boil your water twice. Bring fresh filtered water to a boil, and cool to the appropriate temperature depending on the category of tea. Another way to enhance the flavour of your cup is to try multiple steeping’s of loose leaf tea, using a ratio that calls for less water and more tea leaves. With some teas, you can infuse the leaves multiple times, resulting in a slightly different flavour profile with each cupping. Another method to try is to ‘rinse’ your tea leaves. Quickly pour your water over the leaves and pour it off, allowing the tea leaves to open up. After the initial rinse, you can begin brewing your leaves according to what type of tea you’re drinking.
Myth #7: Tea tastes better with condiments like milk, sugar, and lemon.
Fact: Adding condiments to your tea comes down to preference. Use of condiments should enhance your cup of tea and increase your own satisfaction. However, adding condiments to tea isn’t always necessary for a great tasting cup. You can get creamy, buttery and citrus notes right from the tea leaves themselves. For example, a Silver Needle (white tea) tea from China has stone fruit notes, without the addition of citrus or sugar. Tea picks up subtle aromas and flavours from terroir and throughout the manufacturing process.
Myth #8: Tea is unaffected by weather, economy and supply/demand issues.
Fact: The tea industry’s ability to keep the price consistent for the consumer is impressive. Tea is a live crop that is just as susceptible as other agricultural products. Extreme weather conditions or drought would impact suppliers that supply the major tea companies around the world. In order to mitigate any possible supply or demand issues, tea companies have contingency plans set up. If the supplier they use is impacted by drought or any other problem, they will select another supplier that can supply tea with a similar flavour profile. This ensures flavour consistency and does not impact the consumer (you!). For most boxes of teabags, you will not find what countries the tea is from, in the event suppliers need to be changed at the last minute.
The economy also impacts the price of tea, however you would not see the price of tea on your grocery shelf fluctuate often. Majority of tea is still bought and sold through auction houses. The inconsistency of the cost of tea is not communicated to the consumer, with large tea companies ensuring the price of their tea remains fairly consistent.
Myth #9: It doesn’t matter what country my tea is from – it all tastes the same.
Fact: Every tea is as unique as the country it’s grown in. Tea is produced all around the world, with each country’s unique soil, weather and climate influencing the flavours and aroma of their tea. These environmental conditions that impact tea can be described by the word terroir. Terroir along with manufacturing practices influences the flavours and aromas of your cup. A green tea from Japan tends to be a bright vibrant green, with herbaceous and grassy notes. Whereas a green tea from China tends to be a darker green-brown with roasted and toasty notes. The difference in flavours within the green tea category comes down to terroir and how each country manufactures their tea (Japan steams their tea to reduce moisture, whereas China pan-fires their tea).
In fact, some countries protect their tea by applying a Geographical Indication (GI). A GI is used on products that taste the way they do because of the region’s unique terroir and manufacturing methods. Read more about a GI tea, Darjeeling, here.
Myth #10: Tea is boring! Tea reminds me of afternoon tea parties with grandmothers.
Fact: The image tea conjures up in Canada is often gender-specific mixed in with memories of your grandmother and a drink that should only be consumed with your pinky finger extended. Most Canadians experience tea as a dusty teabag served piping hot in a small metal teapot. The truth is that tea is a diverse beverage that can be served both hot and cold, and enjoyed at all times throughout the day. There are thousands of different teas across every category that are a true reflection of a time-honoured craft. Try pairing your tea with food, by complementing or contrasting flavours on your plate and in your cup. A great after dinner tea and dessert pairing is a green tea from Japan (Matcha or Sencha) with white chocolate. The creamy and buttery notes of both items complement one another. It’s also important to note that tea is a social beverage that gathers us to share and socialize. Around the world having tea with friends and family is a social and cultural norm. A great way to challenge your perception of tea is to try having a cup to open your palette before a meal or to finish your meal with tea. Other ways include hosting tea tastings or mixing tea with juices and sparkling water.
Camembert paired with Darjeeling tea (black tea) from India. Switch up your glassware and pair your tea with your favourite cheese for a whole new take on this classic beverage.
We hoped you learned something new as we debunked our top ten tea myths. Coming up next on the blog is why you should entertain with tea!