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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

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Anyone Been Glutened By Earl Grey Tea?
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28 posts in this topic

I went to a coffee shop this morning and ordered an Earl Grey tea, not bothering to ask if it was gluten free because I've never had a problem with tea and it is doubtful that the 16-year-olds would have been able to help (it took two of them 5 minutes to figure out how to get hot water). I drank less than 8 ounces before I had an upset stomach. At first I thought it was too much caffeine (I quit drinking coffee just before I went gluten-free and haven't been drinking much dark tea) or maybe that on top of a big breakfast (an Udi's muffin, a banana and a slice of gluten-free banana bread). But by 4 this evening I had cramping and mild D. Around 10, the D got much worse and I only made it five feet from the toilet before I had to throw up. I've had the nausea before with gluten, but have not vomited until tonight. My mom made the banana bread and just assured me that the pans were safe and that she did everything she could to avoid CC. That leaves the tea.

Any tips?

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Tea, by itself, is gluten-free. If a flavor is added it is possible, although very unlikely, that there could be gluten in the flavor.

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I went to a coffee shop this morning and ordered an Earl Grey tea, not bothering to ask if it was gluten free because I've never had a problem with tea and it is doubtful that the 16-year-olds would have been able to help (it took two of them 5 minutes to figure out how to get hot water). I drank less than 8 ounces before I had an upset stomach. At first I thought it was too much caffeine (I quit drinking coffee just before I went gluten-free and haven't been drinking much dark tea) or maybe that on top of a big breakfast (an Udi's muffin, a banana and a slice of gluten-free banana bread). But by 4 this evening I had cramping and mild D. Around 10, the D got much worse and I only made it five feet from the toilet before I had to throw up. I've had the nausea before with gluten, but have not vomited until tonight. My mom made the banana bread and just assured me that the pans were safe and that she did everything she could to avoid CC. That leaves the tea.

Any tips?

I know that there are some teas that have gluten, especially Japanese teas that have barley in them. Some herbal teas may too. I don't know about Earl Grey, except that I haven't had any in 20 years because it made me sick (pre-diagnosis). I do always ask to see the label in a coffee shop, and usually check the brands out before I go (for example I think some Tzao teas at Starbucks have gluten but I'm not sure which...so I wouldn't go to starbucks without checking with them first).

After having said all that I bet it's the banana bread. There are som many ways to get CC. One of the most common would be, for example, using sugar where the wheat flour measuring cups were previously used in the sugar bin during gluten cooking. Or using a fabric pot holder that has gluten on it. Or using a plastic mixing bowl that is contaminated. Just MHO.

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I was told that sometimes wheat starch is used to seal the bag, so I'd be careful with bagged teas. I stick with loose tea.

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I was told that sometimes wheat starch is used to seal the bag, so I'd be careful with bagged teas.

This is a myth. The process used to seal tea bags involves heat and pressure and nothing else.

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You could have gotten cc from a dirty cup. Was it a reusable or disposable cup?

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It was a disposable cup but now that I think of it the bag was unsealed. It was one of those bags for loose teas. I wonder what the girl used to scoop the leaves.

That said, I plan on not eating anymore of the banana bread. It was a $10 mix that made two loaves so I'd hate to waste it, but it's not worth the risk. Luckily my roommate likes it; I'll just pawn it off on her.

I decided during my 3 am bathroom trip that the remainder of last week's check is going towards new pots, pans, etc. (pot holders, too. Thanks Cyberprof) I've been using only the scratch-free ones and unused stuff that's just been laying around, but I'm realizing that I am much more sensitive than I thought. I keep my own PB jar and butter but I never even considered the sugar and other ingredients.

Thank you all for the replies. I drive myself crazy thinking through this on my own.

-B

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I went to a coffee shop this morning and ordered an Earl Grey tea, not bothering to ask if it was gluten free because I've never had a problem with tea and it is doubtful that the 16-year-olds would have been able to help (it took two of them 5 minutes to figure out how to get hot water). I drank less than 8 ounces before I had an upset stomach. At first I thought it was too much caffeine (I quit drinking coffee just before I went gluten-free and haven't been drinking much dark tea) or maybe that on top of a big breakfast (an Udi's muffin, a banana and a slice of gluten-free banana bread). But by 4 this evening I had cramping and mild D. Around 10, the D got much worse and I only made it five feet from the toilet before I had to throw up. I've had the nausea before with gluten, but have not vomited until tonight. My mom made the banana bread and just assured me that the pans were safe and that she did everything she could to avoid CC. That leaves the tea.

Any tips?

any thoughts to having a dairy intolerance? if you put milk in the tea and the banana bread was made with milk

ingredients. I get the same reaction to milk that I do with gluten... just a thought. most early grey has a special flavoring but its a natural substance. u have to check all herbal teas as some of them have barley.

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any thoughts to having a dairy intolerance? if you put milk in the tea and the banana bread was made with milk

ingredients. I get the same reaction to milk that I do with gluten... just a thought. most early grey has a special flavoring but its a natural substance. u have to check all herbal teas as some of them have barley.

I am dairy intolerant and have been avoiding milk. I use coconut milk as a substitute if a recipe calls for it. I am trying to find a number for the coffee shop so I can check on the tea (too little, too late, but I'd like answers). The downside is that it's a new coffee/boutique shop, not franchised like Dunn Bros or Starbucks and since it employs only teenage girls on a busy weekend who have difficulty pouring hot water, I have little hope of getting the answers I want.

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I think it could very well be the tea. I love tea, but I avoid earl grey, because it's basically leftover tea scraps with bergomot flavoring, it's not the whole tea leaves. The tea that goes in there can be from many different sources ( like a port wine?), so therefore there are more risks for contamination.

Also, I decided to quit going to the coffee shop for tea, because of all the pastries everywhere, there are traces of gluten on all the surfaces, and i'm just too paranoid now; or, i'm just desperate to get better, and mad at myself for being careless about exposure to CC for a long time. It sounds really neurotic I geuss, but I just figure that it's a needless risk, I can make tea at home, and take it with me If I want, no big deal really.

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I think it could very well be the tea. I love tea, but I avoid earl grey, because it's basically leftover tea scraps with bergomot flavoring, it's not the whole tea leaves. The tea that goes in there can be from many different sources ( like a port wine?), so therefore there are more risks for contamination.

Also, I decided to quit going to the coffee shop for tea, because of all the pastries everywhere, there are traces of gluten on all the surfaces, and i'm just too paranoid now; or, i'm just desperate to get better, and mad at myself for being careless about exposure to CC for a long time. It sounds really neurotic I geuss, but I just figure that it's a needless risk, I can make tea at home, and take it with me If I want, no big deal really.

I drink Earl Grey all the time and have never been even remotely glutened by it. Your statement about Earl Grey being tea scraps with flavoring is not quite true. It all depends on what brand of tea you buy....the better the brand, the better the tea quality. The vast majority of Earl Grey tea is whole leaf tea unless you buy some cheaper, generic tea. You get what you pay for.

Starbuck's does a very good job of making hot drinks without contaminating them. I stop there at least 2-3 times per week and have never had one moment's problem with their drinks but I always buy the same thing....soy chai latte. I know some are better than others but they usually employ people who speak English and that makes all the difference.

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I drink Earl Grey all the time and have never been even remotely glutened by it. Your statement about Earl Grey being tea scraps with flavoring is not quite true. It all depends on what brand of tea you buy....the better the brand, the better the tea quality. The vast majority of Earl Grey tea is whole leaf tea unless you buy some cheaper, generic tea. You get what you pay for.

Starbuck's does a very good job of making hot drinks without contaminating them. I stop there at least 2-3 times per week and have never had one moment's problem with their drinks but I always buy the same thing....soy chai latte. I know some are better than others but they usually employ people who speak English and that makes all the difference.

I plan to stick with places like Starbucks from now on. I try to avoid the small places, but this was my mom's new favorite spot and she was so excited... Next time she wants to go there I'll bring a thermos of my own brew.

I sat around this morning and skipped class just to make sure the immodium had kicked in and that I could handle water. Laid down around noon thinking I'd take a quick nap and attempt to go to my afternoon classes... Six hours later I just woke up. Thankfully I have understanding professors. Now I just have to hope that I'll be able to get some sleep tonight so I can make it to a 8am lab and then a lunch hour supervising shift. This sucks.

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I would look at caffine as something you need to avoid and look at low oxalate diet. I've had to give up coffee and my earl grey. I know I'm not glutened, but have bad bloating and cramps when drinking these. One day I hope to have them back, not sure if it is possible.

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I would look at caffine as something you need to avoid and look at low oxalate diet. I've had to give up coffee and my earl grey. I know I'm not glutened, but have bad bloating and cramps when drinking these. One day I hope to have them back, not sure if it is possible.

Do you think caffeine, acids and large amounts of sugar can set off what would otherwise be minor gluten symptoms?

I quit drinking coffee just before I started the gluten-free diet and I quit most sodas well before that. When I was glutened two weeks ago, my symptoms from a week of built-up CC weren't really bad until I'd had about half a can of Hansen's cane soda (none of the chemicals of mainstream sodas, natural flavors, natural sugar) and this time I made it through about half a cup of Earl Grey. I had had a slice of the banana bread Saturday night and didn't notice any problems, but a larger slice Sunday morning followed by the tea resulted in nausea, cramping, etc.

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So I go to my favorite tea shop and share a pot of lovely Earl Grey with my friend. (I've only been gluten free for a couple months)

Less than 10 minutes after finishing my tea I'm hit with TERRIBLE nausea. Two hours later it's vomiting and diarrhea. This lasted for EIGHT HOURS!!! I'm recovering a bit slowly and can't believe I used to feel like this every day before going gluten free.

So- I'm guessing there is something in the Bergamot oil that flavors the tea that is not compatible to a gluten free lifestyle.

 

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So- I'm guessing there is something in the Bergamot oil that flavors the tea that is not compatible to a gluten free lifestyle.

There may be something with which you have an issue, but bergamot oranges are citrus fruits, not grains. Gluten is only found in grains, and not even in all of them. Bergamot oil is definitely gluten-free.
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So I go to my favorite tea shop and share a pot of lovely Earl Grey with my friend. (I've only been gluten free for a couple months)

Less than 10 minutes after finishing my tea I'm hit with TERRIBLE nausea. Two hours later it's vomiting and diarrhea. This lasted for EIGHT HOURS!!! I'm recovering a bit slowly and can't believe I used to feel like this every day before going gluten free.

So- I'm guessing there is something in the Bergamot oil that flavors the tea that is not compatible to a gluten free lifestyle.

 

Does the tea shop also serve cakes and biscuits?  Cross contamination from that is a likely source of your problems.

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this topic is extremely interesting. In the last couple of weeks I've been drinking for breakfast - at home - a tea of the brand KUSMI TEA (French), "Anastasia" wich has bergamot, orange and lemon flavourings. Approx, I've been having light diarroeha and stomach cramps for the same period. Notice that I've been gluten-free and lactose free three months now and I've being doing generally better although not GOOD and for the last couple of weeks I've been buttin my head against the wall to understand WHAT i've been having to make me feel sick.

I just checked the Kusmi Tea website, though, and they say in thei FAQs both that all their teas are gluten free, AND that their flavourings are natural not artificial. Well, I'm going to give it a try and steer clear from the Anastasia tea for a few days. We'll see!

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this topic is extremely interesting. In the last couple of weeks I've been drinking for breakfast - at home - a tea of the brand KUSMI TEA (French), "Anastasia" wich has bergamot, orange and lemon flavourings. Approx, I've been having light diarroeha and stomach cramps for the same period. Notice that I've been gluten-free and lactose free three months now and I've being doing generally better although not GOOD and for the last couple of weeks I've been buttin my head against the wall to understand WHAT i've been having to make me feel sick.

I just checked the Kusmi Tea website, though, and they say in thei FAQs both that all their teas are gluten free, AND that their flavourings are natural not artificial. Well, I'm going to give it a try and steer clear from the Anastasia tea for a few days. We'll see!

 

Starbuck's Earl Grey is gluten-free and I drink it all the time.  Never had a problem in 8 years and I am one of those sensitive ones.  Three months is not long to be gluten-free and even those of us who are gluten-free forever can sometimes drink something that won't agree with us and you are left wondering what the hell happened! 

 

The only tea besides herbal tea that I have come across that contained gluten was when I was in Ireland and discovered that some teas are malted. I looked at the label on a packet of tea I had in my hotel room and thank God I did that before consuming because the tea was malted!  Never saw that before but it's something to think about when traveling oversea's.  But Earl Grey is an addiction for me and I have never been sick from that.

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Bergamot can be very abrasive to the digestive tract, I've read. I never liked the flavor,

so have no personal experience with it. Your body may also just not like black tea

right now, it has been known to happen.

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Starbucks serves Tazo tea in their tea bags selections.  Some of the Tazo Tea flavors did have gluten per the Tazo FAQ on the Tazo website.  The Tazo website has been massively overhauled since the last time I checked it.  I am seeing many herbal tea blends listed with the generic "natural flavorings" ingredient.   In the USA, a natural flavoring as of 2013 can still contain anything.  There is now no FAQ page on the Tazo website http://www.tazo.com    indicating which specific flavors contain gluten, if they do.  The "natural flavorings" is a huge dodge to get around responsible labeling.   Always check the labels and brands before consuming any flavored tea, or better yet, carry your own teabags to use with hot water. Do not assume any employee will be handing you the correct thing, double- check.

 

This thread. btw, started in year 2010, and it is now March 2013. 

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In the USA, a natural flavoring as of 2013 can still contain anything.

Not completely true. If it contains a FALCPA allergen, that must be disclosed. It can be sort of hidden in natural flavor, but only if a "Contains:" statement on the same label discloses its presence. In practical terms, natural flavor is almost invariably gluten-free, to the point where I don't worry about it.

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I have been glutened at tea shops. I think, perhaps, it is due to cross contamination as earl grey is safe. Most of the shops I have been in serve scones and other products and it's pretty easy in a non-dedicated shop to have an issue with cross-contamination. I've seen scoops used in multiple mediums. BUT I don't think you should be scared of tea...it is gluten free and the bags are safe. You had an unfortunate incident. Perhaps avoid that tea shop or make your own :)

 

 

KDawg

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Don't forget that earl grey is (almost universally) a caffeinated tea.  Caffeine can cause diahhrea.

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Starbucks serves Tazo tea in their tea bags selections.  Some of the Tazo Tea flavors did have gluten per the Tazo FAQ on the Tazo website.  The Tazo website has been massively overhauled since the last time I checked it.  I am seeing many herbal tea blends listed with the generic "natural flavorings" ingredient.   In the USA, a natural flavoring as of 2013 can still contain anything.  There is now no FAQ page on the Tazo website http://www.tazo.com    indicating which specific flavors contain gluten, if they do.  The "natural flavorings" is a huge dodge to get around responsible labeling.   Always check the labels and brands before consuming any flavored tea, or better yet, carry your own teabags to use with hot water. Do not assume any employee will be handing you the correct thing, double- check.

 

This thread. btw, started in year 2010, and it is now March 2013.

  The tea's in the Tazo line that are questionable are some of the the herbal tea, which I don't drink.  Earl Grey is a black tea that is flavored with bergamot, which is citrus.....it's derived from a type of lemon. No problems with gluten.
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