Is Drinking Hot Tea Every Day Good for You? What Are the Benefits?

  • Medical Reviewer: Mahammad Juber, MD
Medically Reviewed on 12/13/2022

What is tea? 

Tea is the world's most widely consumed and popular beverage after water. Drinking hot tea has soothing and stress-relieving properties, but just make sure it's not too hot.
Tea is the world's most widely consumed and popular beverage after water. Drinking hot tea has soothing and stress-relieving properties, but just make sure it's not too hot.

Do you find it hard to imagine a day without a cup of hot tea? If so, you're not alone. Globally, 3 billion cups of tea are consumed every day. In fact, tea is the world's most widely consumed and popular beverage after water.

While you can have both cold and hot tea, the latter is particularly known for its soothing and stress-relieving properties. However, there are also some side effects of drinking tea that's too hot, including a greater risk of burns and, in the long term, the development of certain kinds of cancers

To enjoy the benefits of hot tea, allow it to cool for a few minutes before drinking it. Doing so will help you savor its taste while minimizing certain risks.

Tea is categorized into two types: traditional tea and herbal tea. The traditional teas, also known as true teas, are made by steeping the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant in hot or even boiling water. Commonly known as the tea plant, this small shrub is native to China and India.

You may come across these five common kinds of traditional teas, all of which contain caffeine in different amounts:

  • White tea. Young tea leaves with silvery-white hair are plucked and quickly dried. This is the least processed kind of tea.
  • Black tea. Tea leaves are dried and fully oxidized. This gives black tea its distinct color and rich taste. 
  • Green tea. These tea leaves retain their green color as they are processed using heat. The leaves of the Japanese variety are commonly steamed, while those from China are often either roasted or pan-fired.
  • Oolong tea. This variety is made from sun-withered and partially oxidized tea leaves. 
  • Pu-erh tea. This contains tea leaves that are parched, fermented, and aged.

Tisanes (herbal teas) are not technically teas since they aren't made from the Camellia plant and don't contain caffeine. Instead, these teas contain a blend of spices, dried herbs, fruits, roots, flowers, seeds, leaves, bark, buds, and other parts from many potential varieties of plants. Some of the most popular herbal teas are made using fennel, peppermint, sage, chamomile, lemon, nettle, rosemary, lavender, ginger, and rooibos. 

What nutrients does hot tea contain? 

As you brew hot tea, you extract the nutrients from the leaves. However, the process of steeping dilutes nutritional contents significantly. This is why most teas contain close to zero carbohydrates, fats, calories, proteins, and fibers, unless you add extra substances like milk and sweeteners. 

Despite their general lack of macronutrients, teas are considered a nourishing beverage due to the presence of a wide variety of health-boosting compounds, including:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Amino acids (like L-theanine)
  • Lignans
  • Carotenoids
  • Polyphenols (catechins, flavonoids, theaflavins)
  • Alkaloids (caffeine, theobromine, theophylline

Most of these chemicals have powerful antioxidant properties, which enable them to fight free radical damage, oxidative stress, and inflammation in your cells. They are also responsible for the distinct aroma and flavor of the different kinds of teas.

What are the health benefits of hot tea? 

Studies show that drinking 2 to 3 cups of tea — especially green tea — per day could reduce your risk of heart disease and death. Regular intake of tea is also known to lower your chances of having type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and brain disorders.

Research has shown that drinking hot beverages like tea could also have some of these positive effects on your health:

Improved mood and emotional health. It's common for people to feel more relaxed after having a hot cup of tea. Traditional teas contain many chemicals like polyphenols, caffeine, and L-theanine that regulate mood-boosting hormones like dopamine.

Studies show that even the act of making hot tea and the anticipation of enjoying it can have positive effects on your mood. There is also evidence that the act of holding a hot beverage like tea could induce “psychological warmth” — a pleasant feeling that makes you have more positive thoughts about others. 

Help with managing weight. Research shows that drinking hot tea could help in lowering body fat. In one study, participants who drank hot tea regularly were found to have reduced body mass index (BMI) and waist girth. This could be due to the metabolism-boosting effects of bioactive compounds like polyphenols that are abundant in tea. 

However, be wary of teas that are specifically marketed as "weight-loss solutions" since they could contain laxatives and other potentially harmful ingredients.

Lowered risk of glaucoma. Many studies have found a link between regular hot tea intake and lowered rates of glaucoma — a group of eye conditions that cause blindness by damaging the optic nerves. One such survey of 1,678 people found that drinking one cup or more of hot tea every day reduced the risk of glaucoma by 74%. Experts believe that this could be because traditional teas are rich in flavonoids — compounds with powerful neuroprotective properties.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

Are there any side effects of drinking tea that's too hot? 

Tea, by itself, does not pose any serious health risks, but there could be some severe side effects of drinking tea that too's hot, including:

Increased risk of esophageal cancer. Regularly drinking very hot tea can significantly raise your chances of esophageal cancer, especially if you also smoke or drink alcohol frequently. 

Studies show that teas with temperatures greater than 140 to 149°F are capable of damaging the cells lining your esophagus and making them prone to the harmful effects of cancer-causing chemicals. Among the different types of teas, green and black tea have a higher chance of causing cancer when they are too hot. 

Higher risk of burns. Making hot tea usually requires brewing the tea leaves at a very high temperature, generally around 194°F. As a result, you could have severe burns in your mouth or any other part of the body that comes in contact with this hot tea. 

The risk of serious injury is higher for older adults and young kids, as they have relatively thinner skin. You should always be careful while brewing tea and let it cool before taking a sip or serving it to others. 

What is the best way to have hot tea? 

Different kinds of hot teas have different preparation methods. Oolong and black teas are usually steeped in boiling water (at 210º F) and brewed for about 5 minutes. On the other hand, green teas are steeped at 180º F and brewed for 4 to 15 minutes. Irrespective of the temperature you select for brewing, it's best to let your hot tea cool to below 140°F before taking a sip. 

If you add additional items like milk, cream, or sugar, that may also lower the temperature of your beverage, but doing so could also affect your tea's nutritional content. Generally, try not to include too many additives with your drink. If you like your hot tea sweet, though, you could add a dash of cinnamon or vanilla or try fruit-flavored herbal teas that have natural sweetness.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/13/2022

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