1

I like having my tea with honey.

I always buy unpasteurized honey rather than pasteurized honey, to benefit from the healthful enzymes it contains that are destroyed by the pasteurization process.

I have heard that unpasteurized honey should not be heated to a very high temperature, because that will (just like pasteurization) destroy the enzymes.

So, my questions are:

  1. What is the temperature to which it is safe to heat unpasteurized honey without destroying the enzymes in it?

  2. Is there a rule of thumb for how long I should let my tea cool to reach this temperature? I do not add anything else (like milk) to the tea that would accelerate the cooling.

  • Put the honey on bread, or with peas, and not in the tea? – thrig Feb 24 '17 at 15:25
3

Well, after a cursory look online, it looks like the honey shouldn't be heated above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or what a "natural temperature" of a bee hive would be. Assuming you're drinking black tea, you are boiling the water, so it starts off at around 212 degrees Fahrenheit (near sea level). How long it will take for the tea to cool will depend on what the tea is in and how cool the room you are in is. So, in other words, there really isn't a rule of thumb for the cooling part since the environment the tea is in will dramatically affect how long it takes to cool.

I'd just use a thermometer and check it the first couple of times you make the tea.

  • 3
    So, the answer is, if you want hot tea, you have to be OK with losing the enzymes... :P – Catija Feb 22 '17 at 23:33
  • Or maybe a shot and chaser method will do. – CMB92 Feb 22 '17 at 23:34
  • 4
    So, if it shouldn't be heated above 95 but body temperature is higher than that... then they'd always get destroyed? – Catija Feb 23 '17 at 0:40
  • 2
    Honey isn't going to mix into your tea at 95F, it's got to be warmer than that. If you want the enzymes to be active you're better off choosing another way to have it. – GdD Feb 23 '17 at 10:31
  • @GdD it will certainly mix, it will just not dissolve within a few seconds. You need to give it time and stirring, but it will work even at colder temperatures. – rumtscho Apr 13 '18 at 21:04
1

To answer this question we can look first at what temperature is required to pasteurise beverages. I'll take milk as an example. Milk is pasteurised at 72 C / 161 F. Given this I would let the tea drop at least to this temperature first, before adding honey.

Update: I read online that honey is pasteurised at 150° F (65.5° C). So this temperature seems to be better than the milk standard above. Given this, letting the temperature drop to 60 C would be recommended to avoid pasteurisation. It's also a pretty good temperature to start sipping your tea :)

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