Some people have a higher tolerance for hot drinks than others. Cat-tongue describes people who can’t handle hot food or drink in their mouths.
I don’t have cat-tongue (I’m not quite that sensitive), but I did want to look more closely at ways of drinking hot tea without burning my mouth. I’ve found a few tips that I’m interested in trying out, and I wanted to share them with you. Hopefully, you’ll find them helpful the next time you’re pouring boiling water onto tea leaves or dunking your teabag into your cup.
One of the best tips we’ve seen (and something we’d never tried) is popular in India and South-East Asia. I first saw it in Thailand. You’ll commonly see street vendors pouring the tea from one cup to another and back again. This helps give the tea its frothy milk head, but there’s another thing happening simultaneously. The tea is also cooling down to drinking temperature. The temperature will cool as the tea’s surface area is exposed to the air (as it’s passed between cups). The same can be said when the liquid touches the cooler inside of the second cup.
Adding Cold Liquid
It’s worth remembering that one of the fastest ways to cool hot tea is to add a cold liquid. This might be a splash of cold milk, but it could also be an ice cube or a dash of still water. I’ve always found it challenging to drink in-room tea and coffee in hotels as room-temperature packets, or UHT milk doesn’t cool tea down.
Suck It In
Another popular method on the internet is sucking in air as you drink. Try sipping 50% air and 50% liquid. The idea is that the cold air should help cool the beverage as you sip it. And the keyword there is sip. You’re probably not going to be able to drain a fresh hot cup of tea right after it’s been boiled (although some people probably can).
Blowing on the tea helps too. This seems very obvious, but this is one of the best ways to cool tea. Many of us have seen parents of smaller toddlers do this to warm food, and it works for drinks. The trick is to blow before each sip rather than sip just once and then drink the whole cup. Take a drink and then blow again, repeating until it’s cooled down. Blowing is one of the most effective means of cooling things down.
Take the Lid Off
If you’re drinking tea from a takeaway outlet, taking the lid off will help. The lid traps the heat and keeps the drink hotter for longer. Of course, you should be careful when removing the top. If you’re walking around, it’s probably not a good idea as you can scald yourself.
The same is true of travel mugs designed to keep drinks hot. I’ve got one at work. I leave the lid on when I want to enjoy the drink for longer or if I’m pulled away for a meeting. Once I’m ready to sit down and drink it, I’ll take the lid off, and it always cools pretty quickly.
Sometimes it’s just best to leave your drink to cool down. There’s believed to be a link between scorching drinks and oesophagus cancer. Although, this was a study based in the Middle East, where drinks tend to be served far hotter than here. It may also be worth looking into kettles that stop before reaching the boil. Some of these may seem obvious, but it’s worth having a try to keep yourself from burning your tongue. We will try the tea pulling because that looks like a tried-and-tested method of cooling down our favourite beverage.
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