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False myths about tea and chocolate

Behind many of the most common beliefs there is nothing more than word of mouth. Are we so sure that everything we hear is true? This is a legitimate doubt, especially when we are talking about delicious foods like tea and chocolate. For example, it is said that green tea is slimming, or that chocolate is the elixir of long life. It’s a shame that these are all false myths that, we will try to expose in this article. 

10 false myths about tea and chocolate, between health and rituals

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For those working in this sector, the spread of imprecise or incorrect information about food is a question which should be addressed urgently. For example, it comes as no surprise that the Italian Association of Hospital of Gastroenterologists  (Aigo) intervened to expose some myths about tea, or that the Coldiretti (National Confederation of Farmers)  wrote a real handbook about the most common food fake news. Thus we have selected 10 false myths about tea and chocolate to stimulate curiosity and encourage informed consumption. 

1. Green tea is good for you even when consumed in large quantities 

Be careful not to fall into the trap: there is no question that tea is generally a healthy drink for our bodies (confirmed by numerous scientific publications). We have seen that drinking it  hot in the summer it can help us to accelerate metabolism and combat water retention.

That said, the Aigo has also documented cases of  liver failure, associated with very high levels of green tea consumption, due to its anti-oxidant properties. The advice is, then, that we should be careful with foods that contain green tea and particularly not consume excessive quantities of it. 

2. Those who eat chocolate will live to 100 years old

The passion for dark chocolate is widespread throughout the world. Here’s why the properties of this food have been studied in depth, let’s see some of the more interesting effects on the body:

■ thanks to the presence of flavonoids, it has a cardio-protective  effect;
■ the presence of theobromine supports liver function  and, consequently, aids diuresis;
■ stimulates the production of endorphins, the hormones  of happiness and good mood ;
■ it is rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium;
■ it helps to lower arterial blood pressure;
■ it supports memory and the internal nervous system.

From here to transforming chocolate into a panacea capable of resolving all ills, is a big leap. In fact, the experts point out that these properties are found only if dark chocolate (65% or more cocoa solids) is consumed in quantities between 1.41 oz and 2.47 oz a week, and better still, on its own. 

3. Black tea or green tea? They are two different plants!

Ah yes, not everyone knows that there is in fact only one tea plant, the Camelia Sinensis. It is a historic process which has led to the botanical diversification: over time plants have been selected which, cultivated at certain latitudes and in certain conditions, were more suitable for a particular type of tea than another. The difference between black tea and green tea, actually originally comes from the processing of the leaves. 

One major reason for the error probably comes from the fact that, in 1735, the botanist Linneo classified this specific plant without ever having seen it in person. It would be appropriate to say: no small oversight, only subsequently put right by the VI International Botany Congress in 1935.

4. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac 

Chili pepper, strawberries and… chocolate. Very often we find these three things on the list of foods which people believe to be aphrodisiacs. What a shame that (at least up to now) researchers have not found any proof to support this theory. We should “limit ourselves” to considering the benefits of chocolate associated with the capacity to stimulate the synthesis of endorphins, thus a sensation of general wellbeing  and not an exaltation of libido.

5. Is it true that the water for making tea should always boil ?

Many people believe that in order to prepare a good cup of tea, it is necessary to heat the water on the gas and wait for it to boil before putting the teabag in, and leaving to infuse for a few minutes. Actually, the ideal water temperature is not 100°C, but lower: around 70°C for green tea, 90°C for black tea and various other solutions for every other type of tea. 

If you don’t have the possibility to use a kettle where you can program the temperature, our advice is to watch the water in the pan or jug: when the first little bubbles start to form on the bottom, that is the right moment to take it off the heat for green tea, when the bubbles start to float up to the surface, it is time to remove from the heat and add your black tea. Boiling water is fine for cooking pasta, but not for getting the best cup of tea!

6. More cocoa content = better quality 

Whether it is saying/theory/rumor put about by chocolate lovers or a just a common idea , but there are many people who believe that chocolate containing a large proportion of  cocoa solids is better quality. In this case it is the European Union to come to the rescue with a definition accepted throughout the continent: chocolate in order to be defined as such on the market, must contain a minimum of 35% cocoa solids. What changes with the increase in this percentage is the intensity of flavor or even the level of sweetness. Nothing to do with the quality of the product which depends more on the raw material, the processing, the balance of ingredients and other factors. 

7. Sugar and lemon bring out the flavor of tea 

It’s not rare that, even in a bar, hot tea is served with a slice of lemon and a basket with little sachets of sugar. But this is not the best way to enjoy the flavor of the blend! Both lemon and sugar actually modify the aroma and flavor of the tea noticeably and cover certain tones. Furthermore, they can also have an effect on the organoleptic properties: better, then, to drink your tea without these, taking care to respect the temperature and infusion times for a warm and rewarding experience. 

8. Only dark chocolate is real chocolate 

Milk chocolate is often considered the chocolate “for kids”, only a distant relation of dark chocolate, which is the maximum expression and satisfaction for purists. If it is true that we are dealing with a product that was invented later, the invention of Daniel Peter has many possibilities.  Indeed, adding milk allows the production of a creamier product and some recent experiments have released chocolate bars onto the market which have a very interesting taste, based precisely on the combination of excellent quality cocoa beans with goats’ milk or sheep’s milk. Nuances of flavor that maybe the purists might enjoy. 

9. White chocolate is type of chocolate 

If cocoa beans are dark, how is it possible for white chocolate to exist? Many people have undoubtedly asked themselves this question and, to finish up this journey through false myths about tea and chocolate, let’s try and give them an answer. The ingredient we start off with when making a bar of white chocolate  is cocoa butter, a fatty material which is part of the cocoa bean that is blended with sugar and milk derivatives. 

Now we have exposed these ten false myths, there is nothing left to do but ask you if you know of any more. Tell us  about them in the comments!

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Il team redazionale del blog “Laboratorio dell’espresso” è composto dagli esperti di Filicori Zecchini: tutti professionisti che mettono a disposizione la loro competenza nei vari ambiti di specializzazione, dalla formazione, alla consulenza, alla creazione della migliore offerta per la vostra attività.

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