Myths and Facts

Myth:teabags are produced from tea waste

Fact: In Russia only, the share of teabags in total tea consumption volume has reached over 60%. In the United Kingdom, one of the top three buyers of tea in the world, this share exceeds 90%. Considering these facts there arises a reasonable question regarding the source of so much tea production waste.

For the production of teabags small fractions of tea leaves (in professional jargon they are called fannings) or fine granules are used. These varieties of bulk tea are often more expensive at tea auctions than large leaf varieties.

Myth: If tea brews very quickly (especially in cold water) this means that some dye was added to it.

Fact: In tea there is a 30% share of extractive, i.e. water soluble, substances. These are tannins, essential oils, alkaloids, amino acids, vitamins, organic acids, carbohydrates, pectins, pigments etc. Their content determines flavor and aroma characteristics of tea.

Natural pigments that form the brew colour are divided into two major groups - thearubigins (that give to the brew reddish-brown color) and theaflavins (that give to the brew golden yellow colour). Tea pigments are extractive substances that are soluble in water regardless of its temperature. In cold water the process will be slow and therefore tea is normally brewed with water heated almost to the boiling point.

The smaller tea fraction the faster is the process of pigments dissolution. For this reason teabags that contain crushed tea leaves usually brew much faster that loose leaf varieties.

No dyes are added to tea. Tea does not need them as it contains powerful natural pigments.

Myth: Flavored tea is a poor quality beverage.

Fact: One should not think that flavoured tea is a modern invention. The art of flavoring tea was known in ancient China. It has been developing and improving for many centuries. The most famous flavoured tea is jasmine tea that belongs to the so-called "famous" Chinese teas. Besides jasmine tea, orchidaceous, rosy, lotus and other varieties of flavoured teas were also popular in the past (and are still widespread).

In the modern sense flavoured teas are the varieties with various pleasant flavours that are not normally contained in tea (fruits, berries, flowers, spices).

Tea can be flavoured with two methods: either by mixing it directly with flowers, fruits, berries, seeds, or by adding flavouring substances to dry tea.

Modern flavourings used in food industry are obtained from natural raw materials (of vegetative or animal origin) by means of physical, enzymatic or microbiological processes. The quality and quantity of flavourings in beverages in Russian Federation are regulated by the technical regulations (TR TS) 029/2012 "Safety requirements to food additives, flavourings and processing aids". The manufacturer must indicate the use of flavouring on the package.

Myth: Instant coffee is not natural coffee.

Fact: Instant coffee is made from exactly the same coffee beans (arabica or robusta) as roast and ground coffee.

Today there are three major types of instant coffee produced in the world.

Freeze-dried coffee (in the form of crystals) is produced by the most up-to-date and advanced method because the taste and aroma of roasted coffee are almost fully retained in the finished product. The essence of this technology is that freshly brewed concentrated coffee extract is rapidly frozen and then transferred into a vacuum chamber where through the process that is called "sublimation" in physics ice turns into vapour state (i.e., evaporates), bypassing the water state and thus coffee crystals are formed.

For the production of powdered instant coffee green coffee beans are roasted and ground first. Then ground coffee is loaded in the special columns where concentrated brew is produced with pressurized hot water. Afterwards the coffee extract is cooled and filtered and then dried with hot air. As a result powdered instant coffee is obtained.

Agglomerated (granular) instant coffee is produced in the same way as powdered except for the final additional stage when through treatment with steam powdered particles are assembled into small clots – granulas. 

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