I live with an Irishman, which means that at home we drink Barry’s Tea. In my early married life I was “not allowed” this Irish brand, as apparently I did not appreciate it enough. Now, there is a supplier in Glasgow and we no longer have to import boxes of the elusive blend from Dublin. I am still not allowed to make it, however, as there is a very specific brewing time – at least five minutes, so I’m told.
This method of preparation may be a good thing, for in the process of brewing, then adding milk, the tea is never piping hot. According to a recent study in the British Medical Journal, the temperature of tea could be a risk factor for cancer. The habit of drinking of hot tea in Iran, where the study was conducted, seemed to increase the likelihood of developing oesophageal cancer.
More than 80 per cent of oesophageal cancers are diagnosed in the developing world; men, too, are at increased risk, accounting for almost two-thirds of sufferers. In Iran, there are 17.6 cases per 100,000 of the male population; in China, the rate is 24; and in England, it is 14.
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