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You can learn a lot about someone based on the way they take their tea.

People who put milk in before hot water, for example, are obviously among the worst people in the world.

Whereas people who drink good ol' builder's tea, without sugar because they're sweet enough already, are angels walking among men.

Literally, don't @ us.

It should go without saying though that the first rule of drinking tea is that you shouldn't drink it if it's scalding hot.

If you needed a reason to not do this better than, you know, it burns, it's time to listen up.

Research suggests that drinking tea that's too hot increases your chances of developing cancer of the oesophagus – especially among smokers and drinkers.

In fact, according to a study conducted on behalf of the China Kadoorie Biobank Collaborative Group, and published by Annals of Internal Medicine, if you smoke and drink, and consume your tea before it has time to cool, you're five times more likely of getting oesophagus cancer.

For the purposes of the study, researches defined "hot tea" as being 65C, according to IFL Science!

However, it's probably worth mentioning that while this was the results of a single isolated study, the World Health Organisation has been warning since 2016 that consuming drinks hotter than 65C – tea, coffee, or otherwise – is going to increase your risk of oesophagus cancer anyway.

The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer did also point out that there was no evidence that it was the actual tea or actual coffee causing the cancer, and that any link was down to the hot temperature of the drink.

Dr Christopher Wild, director of IARC, said:

These results suggest that drinking very hot beverages is one probably cause of oesophageal cancer and that it is the temperature, rather than the drinks themselves, that appears to be responsible.

For the record, the Royal Society of Chemistry recommends drinking tea at between 60C and 65C, while Northumbria University claims that the perfect tea-drinking temperature is 60C, which can be achieved six minutes after brewing begins.

And most coffee experts agree that the best temperature to enjoy coffee is between 48C and 60C.

Basically, the WHO suggests that the study may have seen similar results if it had used any hot drink, not just tea.

The lesson here seems to be to just take your time and let your hot drinks cool a bit before you consume them. Especially if you're a smoker or a regular drinker.

And that's the real tea.

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