In the Age of Communication, publishing and distributing their thoughts and ideas is always at people’s fingertips. Actually, this is really great, and the world of tea has benefited hugely from this: there are myriads of tea bloggers, creators of websites or books or e-books related to tea, content writers and “niche journalists” out there now, boosting the general knowledge about tea and very probably the popularity of tea with their publications. However, as all things in the universe, the ease of creating huge volumes of information at no or low costs and the overall accessibility of this information has its downside: things are being discussed over and over again that actually wouldn’t need any discussion at all, but only some common sense instead.
So, in tea forums and blogs, I keep coming across the much discussed question, whether tea is good for children or not, and whether it is reasonable to let them drink some or not. And I keep thinking, ‘What a question’!
It all starts with most of these discussions never even defining what they mean when saying “tea” in the first place. This inevitably becoming apparent in the course of the discussion, the same usually ends with reaching a consent that herbal tisanes might be harmless for children, while “real” tea (Camellia sinensis: green tea, Oolong tea, black tea, white tea, yellow tea, Pu Er tea) is known to contain caffeine, or theine (same thing) and is therefore not good for children, at least not to a certain age.
While a little more differentiation would definitely do good here in the first place, if the topic needs to be discussed at all, as a father of two boys (one 16, the other 8 years old now) I just cannot remember that this question has ever been seriously arising.
Tisanes are harmless? Oh, my god! Won’t this depend on what tisane we are talking about? I don’t want to be too specific about this, since I don’t know much about tisanes, but common sense tells me there are probably harmless ones, such as chamomile or peppermint “tea”, and there are others that have partially powerful medicinal properties and effects, so I would think twice before considering them as ‘harmless’ for children.
Then tea, real tea… if you are drinking tea the way it should be done, i.e. without the highly questionable habit of adding sugar or milk to it, you will never ever have to think about this, because your kids are hardly ever going to drink more than a sip of it, and this more out of curiosity but for actually liking the taste. But even if they would drink a whole cup, how much caffeine will they really take in? And in terms of being unhealthy, how will a cup of tea compare to the sweets, fast food chain meals, sugary lemonades and chemically ‘enhanced’ trend beverages they take in on a daily basis as the average kid of today (without the question how healthy or unhealthy these are being much discussed)?
I am using aroma cups to try first steeps myself, and whenever one of the kids came on and asked to try some of my tea out of curiosity, I would fill one aroma cup for them and pass it on to them with my mind being at complete peace: even bragging about how much they like it, I can’t remember any of them ever asked for a second cup. So, following common sense instead of trying to become all scientific about this seems to make a lot of sense to me, or did you ever hear of a kid dying, or even becoming sick, from an overdose of tea?
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