Why is tea your beverage of choice...or is it?
As others have said, I drink tea primarily for the taste and because it’s so interesting – the variety of flavours, history, culture, different ways of brewing, everything you can learn about it! Also, there’s a bit of collector’s spirit to trying tea samples and hoarding pretty teaware.
But I believe strongly in the health benefits. I don’t necessarily believe that you can guarantee a certain type of tea will have XYZ effect on anyone, but I think it’s one of the healthiest things you can make a regular part of your diet. By that, I mean you need to drink it VERY regularly – like, all day. I think you get the most benefit out of it that way. People who force themselves to drink 1-2 cups of green tea a day for “the health benefits” drive me craaaazy.
But I pretty much haven’t been sick since I started drinking tea above all other beverages, and I used to get sick once a month. Also, I’ve seen my previous-pretty-bad acne clear up almost COMPLETELY. And I tried just about everything for it, from drinking nothing but water to getting medication from a dermatologist. Tea worked. Tea has been the only thing that worked.
When I drink more than one cup a day of another beverage over tea now, I really feel it in terms of loss of energy, sense of mental clarity, re-emergence of acne and threatening cold symptoms. I always get right back on tea!
We must have a similar constitution, as I’ve had the same experience. Tea’s been the only thing to help my complexion, and I get the same “um, am I getting sick?” feeling if I stop drinking it.
Not a specific one, but a specific type maybe. In my case, it’s green first and rooibos second.
A multitude of reasons. Like a lot of people I’ve known, its nostalgic, for one thing. Bigelow’s mint tea will always remind me of late nights hanging out with my grandma, eating homemade popcorn. I’ve always liked and drank tea on and off throughout my life, but I really got into it when I was getting over my third (and so far, last) bout of serious alcoholism.
And, I don’t know. It just…helped. Taking the time to make it, really stopping to taste something and enjoy it instead of just chugging it, it was like an entirely different way of functioning, silly as that sounds.
It just grew from this supplemental/only-drink-when-you’re-sick kind of thing into this cherished thing I wait for all throughout the summer (can’t do anything hot in the summer, I get sick as it is from the weather).
Again, it sounds unbelievably silly, but getting into tea had a decent role in potentially saving my life, as at this point I’ve swapped just about all my unhealthy, self-destructive addictions for better, occasionally healthy, and often nerdy ones.
“…at this point I’ve swapped just about all my unhealthy, self-destructive addictions for better, occasionally healthy, and often nerdy ones.”
That’s wonderful, Nick, congratulations! =)
Originally published at The Nice Drinks In Life: http://thenicedrinksinlife.blogspot.com/2012/08/why-do-we-drink-tea.html
I was sitting in my very gracious host’s backyard the other morning, in a wooden Adirondack chair along a grassy bank of the Río Grande. It was warm, the sky was clear, and the wildlife was performing a traditional symphony. The New Mexico air, at 6,000 feet, was fresh, crisp, and delicious, and the way in which the residents of Embudo assiduously meld their comfortable abodes into original wilderness – expressly not vice versa – rounded out the purity of the experience. The scene was complemented by an apple that I picked on the way over and a cup of green tea. Perfect.
Why do we drink tea? That is a deceptively deep question. Tea does not slake thirst; we have water for that. Is it for the caffeine? Coffee has more. Is it because it tastes good? So do beer, soda, and orange juice. Heck, if taste is the criterion, then we may as well go all out and drink chocolate milk all day. Perhaps we enjoy sampling the myriad fine varieties sourced from distinct origins and prepared in different ways. But surely coffee is good for that, too, and wine is even better. Ah, I know, it must be because of how tea makes us feel on the inside. Yes, it does make us feel quite lovely; more than just hitting the spot, it soothes and relaxes, focuses and sets straight, provides a key piece of the wherewithal by which we disengage the various forces in this world allied against our sanity. But, then again, so does a nice red wine with dinner, or cold lemonade suddenly offered up on a sweltering afternoon, or warm apple cider following a long morning of snow shoveling, or a nice, slowly-sipped, single-malt scotch after a long week of grinding out the same old nonsense.
The fact is, tea is very good for all of the above as much as anything else; except perhaps for quenching thirst or pumping us full of stimulants, tea takes a back seat to nothing. Even as I gave alternate examples, it was obvious that tea belongs by the very top of each list. But none of those criteria really gets to the heart of the question of why tea is consumed so much more than other beverages, why we love it so much, why it will never cease to be the ultimate liquid delicacy.
Perhaps that will always remain a mystery, one of those earthly phenomena on which mankind cannot quite put its finger. But at the risk of trying to describe something for which our mortal lexicon is insufficient, I would like to take a stab at it.
Tea is, to me at least, the consummation of nature’s offer of harmony and balance. Growing tea is uncertain and painstaking work; picking it much more so. Once the physical labor under nature’s auspices is complete, the mental labor under human tradition begins, and the leaves are treated in a very precise manner, made just right, as they have been for centuries. When consumed, the tea stimulates enough, but not excessively, and can even make us feel calm. It is healthy without posing as one of those “super-foods.” It tastes good without being a sugar-packed blast of gastronomic garbage. It feels good without inducing that craven, pathetic state of hollow depravity with which we are all too familiar. Tea caresses the mouth, applying perfect proportions of tannins and mellow florals onto the taste buds, which come right on time as the nose is at the peak of appreciating the rich, smile-creating aroma. On its way down, the tea leaves just enough reverberation on the flanks of the tongue to let us know that we want another sip, without plastering the mouth in a mealy film as a desperate ploy to make us consume more. Hot on a cold day, tea is known to define coziness; on a hot day, drinking it iced can refresh with the best of them. It can be drunk plain or flavored to exquisiteness; it can be drunk alone or be the centerpiece of a social occasion.
Muscle and brain; nature and civilization; toil and reward; stimulation and serenity; health and humility; flavor and modesty; depth and ease; pleasure and control; heat and coolness; individual and community; balance and harmony.
And much, much, much delight.
Tea is absolutely my drink of choice, it was described on here earlier how one leaf can take the form of so many different feels and flavors. It’s exciting to try new ones and discover new companies. My dad is a beer snob and he loves discovering new breweries the way I love discovering new teas. Finding the Steepster community made my love of tea blossom in such a short time.
Tea gets me through the day at work. Reading and posting on Steepster does too. It’s what I look forward to at the end of the day and the beginning of the day. It’s what I turned to when I began my steps into sobriety and it has kept me sober for the past 4 months.
Thinking about why I drink tea and why I drink SO MUCH tea has just made me feel more positive about today :)
I love the taste of tea and the fact that it doesn’t make me jittery like too much coffee does. The one thing I appreciate about the green tea craze it that green tea became much more widely available.
i got tired of only drinking coffee. i wanted a tasty, caffeinated alternative. however, i didn’t want to switch to something that was overloaded with synthetic junk, which is why i chose loose tea. besides, tea isn’t the norm. it may seem like the norm in a tea community. however when you compare it to the entire country, it’s the minority who are into loose leaf. if you couldn’t tell already, i’m not a fan of mainstream.
it’s cool that tea has health benefits, but that wasn’t the reason why i chose tea. coffee also has health benefits when you drink it in moderation. if you like soda, do you think about the ingredients and what they do to your body? not really. you just think about the sweet, carbonated flavor that tastes great.
I used to drink a lot of soda, all day long, and I tried to quit a couple times without much success. I’d use water or flavored seltzer, but they were never really satisfying.
I started drinking tea as a way to drink less soda, but the variety of the flavors really got me hooked. This time it was easy to quit soda because I enjoyed the tea even more. So I guess it really is a mix of the taste, variety and health/diet benefits.