Tea is finally having its time in America. More people are picking up kettles and brewing tea than ever before.
Tea has long been considered a British beverage, consumed only by little Irish ladies knitting by a fireplace and stodgy businessmen wearing monocles and top hats, but Americans are now warming up to the second most popular beverage in the world. The American market has grown by four times in the past two decades, and the amount of tea Americans drink has increased by about 20 percent since 2000.
Not sure what all the hype is about? Or how you should get started? Over the next six days, I will kick off my blog with a “How To Tea” series that will cover everything you need to know about the basics of tea. But, first, why should you even drink tea, the signature beverage of little Irish ladies and stodgy businessmen?
1. It has many health benefits. Drinking tea can reduce the risk of heart disease and neurological disorders, boost bone strength, increase endurance, and provide several other benefits.
The key to why tea is good for you is antioxidants. A cup of tea, especially green or white, is filled with them. That’s probably why your mom forces chamomile down your throat whenever you have a cold, but don’t be fooled by mom. Tea is more than just a beverage for when you’re sick. Incorporating it into your daily diet can result in long-term health advantages; or if you’re feeling guilty about skipping the gym, you can always brew yourself some green tea and feel a little better.
2. It’s easy (and inexpensive). When you boil it down to the basics, tea is pretty simple. Essentially, it goes like this: tea leaves, meet hot water. Tea has a reputation for being somewhat fussy, but making it requires no fancy machines, tools, or devices. As long as you have tea and hot water, you can brew it.
Not only that, drinking tea instead of other beverages can result in serious savings. Most importantly, tea usually costs about half the price of coffee. People buy $5 Frappuccinos at Starbucks daily, and I’m walking by them holding a cup of tea that costs me about 40 to 65 cents.
3. It’s tasty. When I try to persuade people to start drinking tea, the hardest myth to debunk is that tea simply doesn’t taste good. “It’s bitter,” I hear. “It’s gross,” they tell me. My response: “You’re probably not doing tea right.” Sure, some people just don’t like it, but I’ve noticed many of these naysayers will avoid hot tea but happily drink iced tea all year round.
If your main experiences with drinking tea involve three-year-old tea bags in the back of your grandma’s cabinet, then I have news for you: tea is actually delicious. With several tea varieties and blends, everyone can find the perfect one. In one of my next posts, I will go in depth about the different types of tea.
4. It’s cool. Imagine yourself at a small French cafe on a crisp autumn morning. The sun is gentle; a slight breeze lightly tousles your scarf. You have a book in one hand, and you’re stirring a cup of tea with the other. You look up (you’re wearing designer sunglasses by the way), watch passersby with a mysterious gaze, and slowly sip your tea. You may look something like this:
You’re telling me that’s not cool?
In addition, famous people have been drinking tea throughout the ages. Today, some of the most famous tea drinkers include Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham, and President Barack Obama. There’s even an entire Tumblr page and several Pinterest boards dedicated to documenting celebrities drinking tea. I say if it’s good enough for the Queen, then it’s good enough for all of us.
5. It’s the ultimate best friend. Tea is always there for you, and like a friend it knows just what you need in any situation. I could go on about this, but I think former British Prime Minister William Gladstone summarized it best:
“If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited it will calm you.”
Join me tomorrow as I delve into the different ways to drink tea!