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Why you should not add honey to boiling water immediately after brewing tea: dispelling myths

Kateryna YagovychFood
What happens to honey if you add it to hot tea. Source: mayihavethatrecipe.com

Many people remember their parents' instructions from childhood that honey should not be added to hot tea. But there was no obvious reason for this.

Therefore, the FoodOboz editorial team will tell you what actually happens to honey when it gets into a hot drink.

Why you should not add honey to boiling water immediately after brewing tea: dispelling myths

Can I add honey to hot tea?

We have not found any scientific studies that prove that honey added to hot tea becomes toxic. If you want to be on the safe side, don't add honey to boiling water immediately after brewing tea. It is better to add honey to tea when it has cooled down a bit and is ready to drink. Then it will retain more nutrients.

Why you should not add honey to boiling water immediately after brewing tea: dispelling myths

It is worth noting that industrial honey producers usually heat honey during processing. Typically, the processing temperature is between 40°C and 60°C (some producers heat honey even up to 70°C). This treatment helps to eliminate excess moisture, kill bacteria that can cause honey fermentation, reduce the viscosity of honey, and thus simplify its packaging and slow down crystallization.

Why you should not add honey to boiling water immediately after brewing tea: dispelling myths

But what happens to honey when it is exposed to high temperatures above 35°C?

Under the influence of high temperatures, honey can lose its beneficial properties.

Honey consists of 75%-80% of a mixture of two sugars: fructose and glucose. Therefore, the first threat from high temperatures is the caramelization of honey.

Why you should not add honey to boiling water immediately after brewing tea: dispelling myths

Depending on the type of honey, caramelization starts at a temperature between 70°C and 110°C. This is influenced by the ratio of fructose to glucose in the honey (fructose caramelizes faster) and its acidity (acids act as a catalyst for caramelization). Acacia honey has the highest proportion of fructose among the honey common in Ukraine and, theoretically, it should caramelize faster than other types of honey.

Why you should not add honey to boiling water immediately after brewing tea: dispelling myths

Caramelization changes the flavor, color, and structure of honey. Caramelized honey is sweet and has a specific flavor, but it is hardly real honey anymore. Therefore, you should not heat honey more than 70°C.

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