Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tea, Like a G6

This post is inspired not by any post on Lahikmajoe's blog, but by the spirit of the blog Lahikmajoe Drinks Tea, with its flippant style and oblique references to aspects of pop culture that have little to do with tea.

Like a G6 is a catchy 2010 pop dance song by the band Far East Movement. Tea originates in the far east, and the song Like a G6 is about drinking (not tea), and that's about where the similarity between tea and this song ends. Or is it? In case you aren't familiar with this song, I would encourage you to listen to it:

Apologies in advance if it makes you listen to a brief ad first--sometimes it has been doing this.

What the heck is a G6?

One of the funniest things about the song "Like a G6" is the repeated (incessant?) references to a "G6". Niles Hollowell-Dhar, who wrote the lyrics to and produced this song, explains in an interview that a "G6" is a made-up reference, chosen to rhyme with three-six, a reference to the rap group Three-Six Mafia. Group member Kev Nish explained in an MTV interview that it's a hyperbole, referencing G4 aircraft: "Drake talks about having G4 pilots on deck, so we said, 'What's flyer than a G4?' Of course, it would be a G6".

The point is, it's made-up, and it's a bit outrageous. Perhaps this has something to do with the song's popularity...people have a way of latching onto completely ridiculous things.

What in the tea industry is like a G6?

If you're still reading, and you're thinking: "This is pretty ridiculous, this post has nothing to do with tea so far." you're absolutely right, which is the point.

And there are tea companies, herbal supplement companies, and "informational" websites about tea which also put out information that is totally made up. Here are a few examples of such made-up claims:

  • White tea is lowest in caffeine and highest in antioxidants, because it is least processed. False! See caffeine content of tea and antioxidants in tea for hard facts breaking this myth.
  • Tea (usually green tea) is proven to help with X, Y and Z. False. Proof is a gold standard in science, and the scientific study of tea is very young and inconclusive. It is at best misleading and at worst, outright false to claim that any of the supposed health benefits of tea are proven. While there is suggestive evidence supporting a number of probable health benefits of tea, there is hardly any proof; many topics have only been studied in animal studies or epidemiological studies. See health benefits of tea for a more science-based approach.
  • You'll love this tea! or similar claims made in marketing. Really? You don't even know who I am. Different people have different tastes, so making a claim that a tea will be universally loved is just silly.
  • (Possibly the worst) False claims of organic status, or deliberately misrepresenting a tea's true nature or origin. Yes, this happens, see Pesticides found in organic tea, which is cited in a word of caution on RateTea's page on organic tea, for a particularly nasty case of mis-labelled "organic" tea.

Yes, if you read the sorts of claims above on a tea company website, they are making it up, like a G6. And be careful to actually look into organic and fair trade certification rather than just believing it whenever you see the word "organic" or "fair trade" thrown onto a product.