July 26 2012
Well, we’ve leapt headlong into July, and so has the sun. We’ve all heard the ‘having a hot cup of tea cools you down’ advice from knarled relatives, but is it really true? How can a hot drink possibly cool you down?
Answer: in all science fact, it can’t. But somehow, it does.
The old wives’ science behind tea cooling down roughly follows this logic: raising your overall body temperature makes you sweat, and as the sweat evaporates it cools your skin, leaving you cooler overall. Now, this would be fine if it wasn’t pretty much impossible. On a hot, sticky, muggy day opening the pores in your skin with sweattyness won’t really cool you off at all – in fact, it may leave you feeling hotter than you did before if you don’t have a refreshing breeze to sit in.
If, however, you drink something warm rather than ice cold after, say, leaping around, it can help with dehydration and cool you quicker – when you drink something ice cold, your body needs to burn calories to bring it down to body temperature. But when you drink something warmer, it doesn’t need to work as hard, resulting in a reduced metabolic rate and a shorter time to get you feeling better again at your regular temperature.
There is something beautifully relaxing about drinking tea, as opposed to the frantic reaching into the fridge for a can of something fizzy. I can’t help but feel that the act of making tea itself casts a restorative and calming spell over the ones brewing it, so this in itself may help explain why we simply feel better when we hold the cup in our hands. Also, tea contains a magic weapon which coffee does not: theanine. Theanine controls the caffeine release once you’ve drunk it so, rather than the crash and burn of coffee, tea will give you clarity of mind and an ultimately relaxed feeling. Aaaahhh.
So that’s how tea doesn’t cool you down, but still does.
Although, an ice cube and a touch of elderflower cordial to a first flush Darjeeling might help…
And our Strawberry Pepper tea makes for an excellent cold-brew iced tea. Simply infuse the tea leaves in cold water overnight in the fridge, and by the morning it’ll be done. Hey presto! Simply serve straight up, over crushed ice with slices of fresh strawberries (and a dash of Chambord or Vodka for an afternoon tipple).
Keep cool, everybody!