Tea Tuesdays is back! We’re switching things up over the next two weeks. On this two part series for our blog, we’re going to be debunking the top ten myths swirling around the tea industry. Continue reading below as we address the first five tea myths!
Myth #1: Orange Pekoe is a ‘type’ of tea
This has to be my all-time favourite tea myth to debunk. A lot of restaurants, cafes and even tea companies have included ‘Orange Pekoe’ on their packaging and labelling of their black tea breakfast blend teabags. This has resulted in black tea blend teabags being referred to as Orange Pekoe.
Fact: Orange Pekoe on tea packaging is in reference to the physical characteristics of the tea leaf after it has been graded. Orange Pekoe refers to the leaves of the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis) and is used by certain countries (mainly India and Sri Lanka) when grading tea. The definition of Orange Pekoe for tea grading refers to long, pointed leaves that have been harvested when the end buds open into leaf.
Myth #2: All tea is steeped with boiling water
It’s a common misconception that all tea is steeped at the same temperature using boiling water. Again, many restaurants and cafes will serve all categories of tea with boiling water, often impacting the flavour profile of your cup.
Fact: The temperature of water tea should be steeped at depends on the category of tea (white/green/yellow/oolong/black/pu’erh). As each category of tea undergoes different manufacturing procedures and varies in levels of oxidation, the temperature of water should be adjusted accordingly. The correct water temperature is important when maximizing the flavours and aromas of your brew. For more information please refer to our temperature chart here.
Myth #3: Herbal tisanes like Chamomile, Peppermint, Yerba mate, Rooibos, etc is tea.
Fact: Only tea leaves that come from the Camellia Sinensis plant are considered to be tea. Any blend or herbal tea that does not contain tea leaves from Camellia Sinensis should be categorized as a tisane. It’s very common to see herbal tisanes like rooibos and yerba mate within the tea industry. Rooibos comes from a plant in South Africa, and means ‘redbush’. Yerba mate comes from a plant grown in South America and parts of the Middle East.
Myth #4: Green tea tastes like grass
Fact: While many tasting notes made from cupping green tea include buzz words such as ‘algae’ and ‘herbaceous’ – it is often a combination of steeping time, water temperature and water quality that influences the taste of your green tea. Use fresh filtered water at 80OC and steep your cup of green tea for 1-3 minutes. Ensure you remove your teabag or tea leaves after the allotted time. It’s important to note that different countries produce different tasting green teas. Green teas from Japan tend to be buttery, herbaceous and grassy, whereas green teas from China have more roasted and smokey notes. Try comparing both to find out what you prefer!
Myth #5: Tea has a long lasting shelf life, and is slow to expire. How many of us are guilty of having a tea shelf chalk full of all sorts of boxes and tins of tea?
Fact: Tea is a plant that should be consumed by the best before date. Despite all manufactured tea having its moisture content reduced for storage, it is best consumed as soon as possible. It is good practice to completely finish a box/canister of tea before purchasing more for your collection. This ensures you are consuming fresh tea leaves and are enjoying the maximum amount of flavour from that cup. Furthermore, tea should be stored in a cool area, away from direct sunlight and in an opaque airtight container. Avoid storing tea next to garlic, spices or other fragrant foods! Tea is hygroscopic and will absorb aromas, altering its own aroma and flavour profile.
Let us know in the comments if you learned something new! Next Tuesday we will be debunking the last five tea myths!