Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
In the early days of avoiding soy, Ashley and I were always surprised by some of the unexpected locations where we found it. While we could guess some of the things that contained soybean oil, we didn’t expect it to be in items like chocolate or bread. Over the last few years, we’ve been reading ingredient labels and have gotten a good sense for where soy is likely to be. As a result, we aren’t surprised by the presence of soy nearly as often. That being said, soy can still unexpectedly pop up. Case in point: We recently discovered that tea can contain soy lecithin.
At first glance, that seems odd. Soy lecithin is an emulsifier (often found in chocolate), but tea isn’t a product that needs an emulsifier. Instead, soy lecithin is used in tea as a dispersing agent. It helps ensure that the flavor of the tea is evenly distributed around your mug. It can prevent clumping of the tea to increase its surface area to allow for better infusion. Not all teas contain soy lecithin, but don’t think that it only exists in cheap teas. It can be found in teas from major suppliers including companies like Celestial Seasonings and Bigelow Teas. (please note that not all teas from suppliers like these contain soy lecithin)
Now we make sure to check the ingredients of our tea to ensure it is soy-free. For teas you would commonly get at a restaurant (think individually packaged tea bags), the ingredients should be listed on each tea bag and it's pretty simple to avoid the ones that contain soy when picking out a tea bag. The harder issue is coffee shops, where you often don’t get a chance to read the ingredient list of the tea. In these situations just ask to see the ingredients! It only takes a quick check by the barista; if you visit the same coffee shop regularly you’ll know that your preferred tea is soy-free, and you won’t need to ask next time.
While the presence of soy lecithin in tea was a surprise, we’ve figured out a way to continue drinking this delectable beverage. Now we know to read the ingredient label for the tea to ensure we are sipping soy-free.