Three myths about brewing tea that are vastly miscommunicated.

Perhaps you have just taken up a new habit of drinking tea either as a healthier alternative to coffee or because of its variety of great tastes. Regardless of the reason, chances are like any other tea enthusiast you have inquiries about the beverage such as best way of brewing green tea, what a good cup of tea tastes like or what is the best tea for you. Fortunately, there are a variety of sources that give a plethora of information about all the aforementioned questions. However, a significant number of these sources (particularly companies marketing their teas) pass incorrect information. Sometimes basic information is falsified by well-meaning individuals for the purposes of simplification. Nonetheless, most often self-identified experts obscure the truth from the masses in order to promote circumstantial philosophies favoring selective tea brands. The reality is that when it comes to tea, there is no single philosophy that applies across the board. Below are three myths that are vastly miscommunicated

Myth #1: boiling water temperatures ruin green teas

There is a premise held within conventional western tea-brewing wisdom that green teas ‘must’ be brewed in cooler water than black teas or darker oolongs. The premise suggests boiling water would turn the antioxidants in green teas to deadly neurotoxins. This premise is untrue. In broad strokes, there is a significant change in taste in teas when they are brewed at different temperatures. For instance, Black teas extract a full range of flavors when brewed in near boiling water just as green teas will taste sweeter and less bitter when brewed in cooler temperatures. Therefore, it is significantly inaccurate to state that green teas become toxic or distasteful when brewed in near water. The rigidity the aforementioned premise when brewing green tea does not take into account the balance of sweet and bitter flavor. For instance, Sencha and Matcha teas best achieve their flavor when they are brewed in the 160° to 170° water temperature range. On the other hand, Gyokuro tea is best brewed at lower temperatures of around 140°. The best taste in your tea is determined by how you would like to balance the flavors in your tea.

Myth #2: Green teas are best steeped for short durations

Another conventional western myth about brewing green tea is that green teas ‘must’ be steeped for a shorter time than black teas. The premise set on the notion that green teas delicate and ought to be steeped for not more than two minutes.  It should be considered that such advice is given with no regards to the size of the leaf (smaller or broken leaves brew quicker than whole ones), the amount of tea needed, or the distinct taste preferred by a particular individual. For instance, Tencha and Shincha teas require more than two minutes of steeping to deliver its best flavor, while on the other hand, Matcha tea is best brewed by a series of flash steeping less than minute each.

Myth #3. Organic teas are better than green teas

The demand for organic tea has been on the increase since the turn of the century, and there is no indication that this trend might fade anytime soon. It is well known that approved organic teas are grown without any manufactured fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. However, what most companies selling organic tea in the market fail to publicize is their generalization of ideas. Japanese green teas have known health benefits that well traverses those of organic teas. Organic tea marketers use the power of false logic to penetrate the market suggesting a lack of synthetic additives make organic tea better or healthier. Most often, individuals who take green teas drink healthier and have a much better range of flavors to pick from than their counterparts.

Felisha Parrish

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