We’ve got bad news about tea and nothing is sacred anymore

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Chris Sayer

If your office work experience kid all of sudden goes big with his tea rounds, you might be in the company of a sick and twisted killer. 

In news that'll make you want to spit your recently-brewed hot beverage all over your keyboard, a new report from the scientists at The International Agency for Research on Cancer suggests that consuming piping hot drinks could be causing cancer of the oesophagus. The review, conducted by a panel of 23 global experts, revealed that drinking steaming mugs of tea at temperatures above 65 degrees Celsius may be a root cause of the eighth most common form of cancer worldwide. 


But chill out for just a moment before you order the removal of every tea bag in your home and workplace. Firstly, the 65 degrees that the cancer research agency noted as being the big, bad, cancer-causing temperature is enough to burn your tongue, so unless you've got a thing for savagely blistering up your mouth, you should be A-OK. 

What's more, some caffeinated hot drinks are actually anti-carcinogenic. Confusingly, coffee is all good, and can actually reduce the risk of some cancers developing (unless, of course, you're serving it at lava-level temperatures). 

And THEN, the scientists only go as far as saying scalding hot tea is "possibly carcinogenic". Other stuff that's possibly carcinogenic? Petrol fumes. Lead. And, er, putting talcum powder on your anal regions. And we all know you’re not going to stop using any of those any time soon.

"Tea drinkers in the UK can continue to enjoy tea in the traditional way with a drop of milk, which ensures that the temperature of tea sits within safe limits," said the panel's Tim Bond. "A study by UK burns doctors found that a cup of tea with 10 millilitres of milk cooled to less than 65 degrees Celsius within five minutes."

So, whack the kettle on, apologise to the workie for pouring your brew over his head and calling him a murderer, and remind yourself of this, the greatest seven minutes of tea making ever filmed. Aaaaaah, that's better.



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Chris Sayer

Chris Sayer is a freelance journalist and editor based in London. Chris has interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment and travelled the world doing an all manner of adventures for lots of brilliant magazines. He writes for Shortlist about booze but would probably prefer we let him write about fishing instead. Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisSayer00

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