Around the world, tea is king. People drink more than three times as much tea as coffee, but not in the United States. Here, 64 percent of the population is drinking coffee, and a lot of it, about 400 million cups each day. Coffee is about waking up and getting out of the house; it’s about staying awake. Tea, on the other hand, is about ritual. Whether it’s the British use of tea to settle everyone down in an emergency, the Chinese link of tea to respect and honesty, or the Turkish understanding of sharing tea as a strengthening of friendship, tea is more than just a drink. You can cultivate a tea ritual of your own, using it to connect you to your family and friends.
Tea Ritual as Self-Care
“Self-care” is one of the buzzwords that’s become pervasive over the last couple of years. It’s everything you do to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy. It’s about making time for yourself in a world that tells you you don’t have time to slow down. Creating a tea ritual for yourself can be an important part of your self-care ritual, turning that rushed morning cup of coffee into a meditative practice that still gets you the caffeine you need.
Start with a good gourmet tea. One reason Americans aren’t fond of tea has been the historic dearth of good tea options in the United States. Now you don’t have to settle for a bag of low-quality flavorless dishwater. Invest in a beautiful loose or bagged tea with freshly dried leaves. Try a mix with spices if you prefer a chai. Try Irish Breakfast if you want a caffeine kick that’s stronger than any drip coffee.
Keep it simple with your favorite mug and an electric kettle or invest in a full tea service from the country you prefer to emulate. For Turkish tea, invest in a Turkish teapot and small decorative glasses. Chinese teapots involve a whole ritual on their own. Go for a classic British bone china tea set. Whatever you choose, your tea ritual can be one you borrowed or one you build yourself.
Self-Care for Health
A tea ritual and tea habit aren’t just about the mental benefits of a mindful and centered approach to tea, tea is really good for you. Different types of tea have been shown to:
- Fight cancer, like liver, prostate and breast cancer.
- Lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Fight inflammation.
- Help with weight loss goals (not weight loss “detox” tea scams, just the catechins in regular tea).
If you’re looking for specific health benefits, do some research to find a tea you love that also helps your long-term health goals.
For a drink that keeps you centered, is good for your health, comes in hundreds of varieties, both caffeinated and not, there’s nothing that beats a cup of tea. If you’ve never been a tea drinker, try a variety of different teas to find what you love. Don’t skip the ritual of making the tea yourself; it’s part of the magic of tea. Once you find something that works for you, America will have one less coffee drinker.