Giorgio Poeta, one of Italy's most renowned beekeepers, explains why honey should never be added to boiling hot beverages.
Honey is a superfood rich in beneficial properties and nutrients. However, a common mistake is adding honey to hot beverages. Honey is as rich as it is delicate, and its worst enemy is heat. The key issue lies in the temperature.
According to Poeta, "Hot beverages, above 50 °C(122° Fahrenheit), significantly and immediately increase a honey quality indicator known as Hmf." she says to cookist.it.
Hmf, a dehydration product of fructose, is used as an index of honey's freshness and conservation state. High temperatures lead to the enzymatic deterioration of honey, causing it to lose its organoleptic characteristics.
To avoid any "decay," Poeta suggests waiting a few minutes before adding honey to tea or herbal tea. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of both the drink and the sweetener. It’s important to note that honey in hot drinks is not harmful to humans; it just becomes "useless."
When honey is added to a very hot beverage, the only property that remains unchanged is its sweetening effect. This is similar to the concept of pasteurized honey found in supermarkets, where the honey is heated to about 78 °C for a few moments, enough to lose all nutrients.
Next time you have a delicious herbal tea, have the patience to wait a few minutes before drinking it and enriching it with honey: you won’t regret it.