Last Updated on 11/30/2020 by Desmond
Most tea lovers know that to make up a perfect cup, they must brew with the proper temperature water according to tea types. Most just-brewed up tea is hot, and drinking hot tea is normal; few people would care about the temperature when drinking; they thought it is no need.
Drinking Hot Tea May Cause Cancer?
However, the tea infusion temperature affects not only the flavor but also health. In recent years, many studies have shown that drinking hot tea will race up the risk of esophageal cancer.
One report from Iran took observational studied nearly 50,000 people over a 10 year period and analyze the relationship between drinking hot tea and getting esophageal cancer. According to the observation of 317 esophageal cancer patients, and found that they got a tea-drinking habit. But the risk is not about how much tea they drank but the infusion temperature.
The result showed that for people who often take over 60℃ hot tea, the risk of getting esophageal cancer is double of the general people. What a pity is, researchers didn’t give a precise recommended temperature. Generally speaking, the suggested tea-drinking temperature is about 60℃.
Is that the truth?
Even though the researchers’ result seems right, it’s too one-sided if only blame the hot tea.
It is widely believed that the factors leading to cancer are various and complex. These studies are basic on long-term observation, and during the period, the observed objects not only drinking hot tea. They also have any other habit, such as smoking; it’s also one of the high-risk factors that cause esophageal cancer. Of course, it also including many other bad diet habits.
In fact, the risk of drinking hot tea is about esophageal and gastric mucosa. The esophageal surface is a mucosa, which is composed of epithelium and connective tissue, and it can secrete mucus. It is the first defense line of the human immune system. But it’s fragile and only can suffer 50-60℃ temperature; once it crosses the threshold, it will get scalded.
Once the esophageal mucosa gets a burn, the epithelial cells will rapidly proliferate for fixing it in time. If it happens often, it will lead to ulceration. And if keep it going on, it will develop into cancer. So the scholars are not suggested drinking hot tea and thought it would cause esophageal cancer.
How People In Different Countries Drinking Hot Tea
Piping hot tea is not only harmful to health, and it is hard to drink. Still, we know that if place the tea to cool down, the flavor will be lost. Like green tea, which is low-fermented, the infusion color will turn ugly. And the benefits it brings will reduce due to the tea polyphenol being oxidated.
So how the people in the countries with a deep tea culture solve the hot tea burn mouth problem?
As the tea birthplace, China got the most profound tea culture, and it is an essential part of Chinese daily life. No matter which type of tea, it got lots of fans, mainly drunk hotly. Take the most popular Pu-erh tea and Oolong as an example; the recommended brewing temperature is over 90℃, even cooked with boiling water.
The traditional Chinese teawares do great help to let the hot tea sip down the throat better.
We’ve talked about why Chinese teacup has no handle. Even though they look will give a burned hand, you will not get hurt if properly used. The small volume can let the tea infusion cool down quickly. And a small teacup means you can only take a little sip one time; the elegant way only allows the infusion full the mouth with tea fragrant but not burn. Even you sip rudely, only your tongue will get burn, and the tongue has a higher heat resistance than the esophagus.
Besides, in the Chinese traditional tea ceremony, the tea infusion will be sent into a fair cup to equal the concentration after the brews ready. Then be poured into a smelling cup to leave some scent. After several transfers, the tea temperature has cool down enough.
So Chinese tea lovers more consider how to keep the tea warm. And in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is also not recommended to drink cold tea, which is regarded as harmful to health.
Japan also has an elegant tea culture: Sado. Matcha is the primary tea type, which is powder ground from steaming green tea, only suitable for brewing with about 65℃ water. Making matcha needs to mix the powder and water. And this stirring action makes the temperature further low down.
British prefer black tea. For the history and market reasons, the same as Indian. Even though black tea typically needs over 95℃ hot water to brew, the sizeable British teacup is also not easy to let the tea cool down quickly. But, as a breakfast cup, most British love to add some milk in. The cold milk helps the piping hot black tea cool at certain. And, to mix the milk and tea better, they also take some stirring.
Russian also love black tea, and their making way is to keep cooking the leaves in a Samovar. Even though the local climate is cold, to let the tea cool down to a comfortable drinking temperature, the traditional way is to use a tea saucer for drinking.
Related Reading: Traditional Russian Tea Culture, Unique Teaware & Drinking Way.
In South American countries, people don’t care about the esophagus cancer risk. They are more enjoy the piping hot Yerba Mate tea. When they having Yerba Mate tea, they fill hot boiling water in a pot named guampa, and sip with a straw. This tea-drinking habit has been widely regarded as the primary reason for esophagus cancer and carcinoma of the mouth high incidence in the local region.