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Does tea taste any better on a 787 Dreamliner?

Does tea taste any better on a 787 Dreamliner?

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Old Dec 7, 12, 6:20 am
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Does tea taste any better on a 787 Dreamliner?

My best mate has this line he trots out every time someone mentions Boeing, 787, Dreamliner and several other tenuous links. He says that flying in a 787 will be just the same as any other plane only the tea will taste better. He's referring the phenomenon that tea (the way us Brits drink it) only tastes right when the water is at 100 degrees Celsius (boiling temp at sea level) and that the normal cabin pressure of a plane is the equivalent of the air pressure at 9000 feet, or a boiling point of water of just 90 degrees Celsius. He maintains that this is why tea tastes horrible on a plane, and that the adjustment of the cabin pressure in a 787 will make it more palatable.

From a scientific point of view I can see where he's driving at this from, however, I maintain that the reason tea tastes disgusting on a plane is that the quality tea (and milk, for that matter) is low and that the water used to make it has been in a thermal jug for up to half an hour before it is introduced to the teabag in the cup.

Can anyone who has been on a 787 and drunk the tea please put this to rest?
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Old Dec 7, 12, 7:10 am
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i believe it's the quality of tea?
i went to a few tea tastings in China recently.. granted it's not the Brits, but the Chinese also know a bit about tea i presume. anyhow, they boil the water, and let's it cool a bit before soaking the leaf.. they say it's so it doesn't burn the tea - i had no idea.. but learned something new
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Old Dec 7, 12, 8:59 am
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Certainly temperature is a factor. For instance, most black tea can have boiled water straightaway whilst green should have just boiled and white just boiled but settled water. Perhaps an important factor is the brewing time and whether the tea is bag or loose. The latter rarely found onboard (I bring my own loose tea when flying). I am not sure about pressure or altitude but I suppose it could be a factor.

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Old Dec 7, 12, 9:04 am
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There are a few teas best prepared at 100C (sea level boiling water) but most are best prepared at about 10-15C lower anyhow.

The 787 imparts a plastic taste into tea imho.

(The lower temperature extracts fewer of the more bitter components btw)
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Old Dec 7, 12, 9:22 am
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Originally Posted by roberino View Post
From a scientific point of view I can see where he's driving at this from, however, I maintain that the reason tea tastes disgusting on a plane is that the quality tea (and milk, for that matter) is low and that the water used to make it has been in a thermal jug for up to half an hour before it is introduced to the teabag in the cup.
?
It's because it's a teabag, period. Once you taste looseleaf tea, bagged tea, on an airplane or not, is disgusting.
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Old Dec 7, 12, 9:48 am
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I flew a 787 DEL-NRT on JAL, drank the tea, and couldn't tell the difference.

I was shoehorned into a 31" seat in Row 52. My senses and mood probably weren't in an effective state to truly critique the tea.

The Dreamliner itself is cool, but an "economy minus" seat is an economy minus seat no matter where it is.
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Old Dec 7, 12, 9:54 am
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When you make tea in a teapot, even one "pre-warmed", the water used will have lost at least 10C betwixt kettle and pot. Even with "stoneware" mugs in the front cabin, the use of teabags, stored indefinitely in non-airtight conditions, results in a product, guarantees quality ranging from less than modest to abysmal. Styrofoam cups back in cattle class (where I've mostly sat)? I always imagine that tiny beads of plastic are breaking away from the wall, ruining the tea, and introducing into my already abused system nastier ingredients than I'd choose to drink/eat voluntarily.

"Tea" - to be enjoyed, requires a pot and a heavy mug, both pre-heated, and none of that delicate near translucent China/porcelain/effete-ware., and loose tea, of which there are countless types and origins, some undrinkable, but many capable of providing great pleasure and satisfaction. To me, one of the great virtues of tea is that one may keep several types on hand, selecting a tea that fits the hour and the circumstances.
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Old Dec 7, 12, 10:12 am
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The tea on CX in F was excellent in an "old 747-400." I doubt it would have or could have tasted any better in a 787.

The tea in row 92 of a UA 787 probably tastes putrid.
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Old Dec 7, 12, 10:21 am
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So, in essence, the tea will taste just as bad on a 787 because the issues are:

Low quality tea
Tea in bags
Luke warm water (assuming it is black tea)
Plastic cups
UHT milk
The low grade evil leaching out of the Y cabin putrefying the resultant concoction.

Sound fair?

Last edited by roberino; Dec 7, 12 at 10:28 am
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Old Dec 7, 12, 7:37 pm
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Originally Posted by vmsea View Post
i believe it's the quality of tea?
i went to a few tea tastings in China recently.. granted it's not the Brits, but the Chinese also know a bit about tea i presume. anyhow, they boil the water, and let's it cool a bit before soaking the leaf.. they say it's so it doesn't burn the tea - i had no idea.. but learned something new
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Old Dec 7, 12, 7:53 pm
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Does it not depend on the person making the tea?

Even if the temp is perfect, the pots and instruments are good, but the maker does not make it right?
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Old Dec 8, 12, 5:21 am
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More importantly , how is the choice of teas prioritized in FC ...by status or by fare ?
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Old Dec 8, 12, 4:55 pm
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I am a sensory food analyst who used to work for a major airline in their catering department so do you want me to explain in depth the physiology of taste and how its affected by airtravel or was this just a rhetorical question? Simply put though and considering things being equal (tea quality, temperature of tea, etc), differing cabin conditions can affect taste perception but I can't answer if that difference could be perceived by the average consumer and if it would be statistically significant. We'd need an airborne triangle test.
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Old Dec 8, 12, 11:23 pm
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Originally Posted by roberino View Post
My best mate has this line he trots out every time someone mentions Boeing, 787, Dreamliner and several other tenuous links. He says that flying in a 787 will be just the same as any other plane only the tea will taste better. He's referring the phenomenon that tea (the way us Brits drink it) only tastes right when the water is at 100 degrees Celsius (boiling temp at sea level) and that the normal cabin pressure of a plane is the equivalent of the air pressure at 9000 feet, or a boiling point of water of just 90 degrees Celsius. He maintains that this is why tea tastes horrible on a plane, and that the adjustment of the cabin pressure in a 787 will make it more palatable.

From a scientific point of view I can see where he's driving at this from, however, I maintain that the reason tea tastes disgusting on a plane is that the quality tea (and milk, for that matter) is low and that the water used to make it has been in a thermal jug for up to half an hour before it is introduced to the teabag in the cup.

Can anyone who has been on a 787 and drunk the tea please put this to rest?
Most of the tea heads that I know of don't want boiling water anywhere near their tea. They say it scalds the tea leaves. The pressure is definitely different on a Dreamliner though. I'm not sure that necessarily means that they carafes they use will have hotter water in them.
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