Aside from water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world with numerous varieties, including herbal tea, milk tea, and green tea. Tea is both healthy and delicious. However, there are two ways to drink tea – hot or cold.
Usually, tea drinkers have their own drinking preferences. Some will prefer to take their tea hot while some others would want it cold. The debate on which is better seems to go forever. However, all tea lovers can agree on one thing – whether they are pro-hot tea or pro-cold tea – that cold teas are most appropriate in the hot weather of the summer, while hot teas are a huge relief from the chilly weather of the winter period.
The argument on which is better often comes about when you take your tea at any temperature in spring or autumn when it’s neither too hot nor cold. It becomes a matter of preference, in this case, hence the argument. The truth is, both sides have their strong and valid points.
Away from the arguments and preferences, the real question is, how is hot tea different from cold tea? Are there any differences?
Hot tea and cold tea differ to a greater extent than you would think.
Aromas and Flavors
One of the major ways to differentiate between hot tea and cold tea is the tea’s aroma and flavor. The interesting fact is that it has nothing to do with a specific kind tea you’re drinking but with the temperature at which you drink it. That may seem quite weird. However, there are claims to prove that cold foods and beverages aren’t usually as flavorful as the warmer ones. This does not just relate to tea. Generally it relates to all beverages, including tea. It’s caused by greater release of flavor-carrying vapor due to warmth.
The colder the food (tea) is, the more difficult it is for your taste bud to find out the subtleties of whatever flavor it carries. On the other hand, warmer food (tea) – not too hot though – are very clearly recognizable to your tongue.
As far as aromas and flavors are concerned, hot tea is the better of the two, and scientific facts already prove this right. If you want to get some nice aromatherapy, you should take your tea hot.
It is challenging to measure tea’s health benefits because it depends mostly on where you get the green tea from. However, the difference between cold tea and hot tea is nonexistent or insignificant as far as health is concerned.
There are already claims that cold teas can use antioxidants to bind caffeine, making it either ineffective or less effective as an energy drink. However, we don’t know how ineffective it is rendered.
There are other claims that it is healthier to drink cold tea because you would have to shake the tea, and this action releases more chemicals in the water. There is a good possibility that this is true, but it’s not something that was ever measured. So it’s as good as speculations and assumptions.
The key to drinking hot or cold tea is to steep the tea over the period necessary before serving it. Most of the time, cold teas are brewed hot from the start. So taking at least two minutes to steep the tea bag will give you the best effect regardless of what temperature you drink at. You might need to spend between 2 minutes and 15 minutes if you are steeping loose leaf blends.
Home-made vs. Pre-brewed Teas
If you are choosing to drink your tea cold, then it’s ideal that you make it by yourself in your home. Liquid form teas that are pre-packaged don’t have as much benefit as home-made teas. It is easy to mistake pre-packaged tea as the same as other cold tea because it is served cold. The reason it is served cold is so that it keeps its blend for a longer period of time.
The pre-brewed liquid teas were made to be consumed en masse, and often times the companies producing them cut corners. The production process is more likely to take out many of the health benefits from the tea. Although it might keep its flavor, drinking these teas are unhealthy for the body. Apart from losing its health benefit, it usually has too much sugar or another artificial sweetener.
So, if you are drinking tea for the sake of your health, the emphasis should not be on whether it is cold or hot. That’s insignificant to your health. What’s more important here is for you to make your tea by yourself from leaves that you trust the source of.
Which One is Better?
Hot tea or cold tea? The answer will, firstly, always lie in individual preference. Secondly, it depends on what you are drinking for. The tea temperature is insignificant if you are consuming for health as long as you make it yourself. However, if you are drinking for flavor and aroma, then the obvious response is hot tea.
This article was contributed by Flann Ham. You can find more of his writing at A Writer.