As a recovering psychologist, I was delighted to find support for tea in the September issue of Psychology Today. I’m glad to say I found it in the “health” section on page 58. They accurately identified the specific health benefits one could expect: arthritis, cancer, cholesterol, intestinal inflammation, liver disease and sunburn were identified for green tea while black tea was touted to help with bone health, cancer, cholesterol, heart disease and stress. Under the category of “both” they added brain health, diabetes, oral health and weight control. WOW….if I wasn’t into tea before, I’d surely want to start.

If that’s not good enough for you, then mosey along to page 98 for a 5 page spread about “STAR B*#!KS”. “Coffee may be addictive, but Starbucks owes its stratospheric rise to more than the magic bean. How the company turned itself into America’s livingroom.” Now this was very interesting. They are speaking of the environment that Starbucks has created in each of its cafes. T Ching has spoken about this very factor on numerous occasions. We encourage people to carve out a special space for themselves while developing a tea ritual. As a psychologist, I’m acutely aware of the impact of personal space and how it affects our mood. I believe women to be more sensitive to their surroundings than men however. I remember working with many, many people in corporate America and listening to their complaints about working in cubicles that typically didn’t have windows. I can’t recall one man noticing or complaining about the absence of such. I actually asked a few men specifically about the window issue. I recall one guy responding after taking a moment to think……”I don’t think there is a window”.

I think Starbucks has the right idea….they “aim to provide a third place to relax when not at home or at work.” It appears they’ve done just that. They’ve also “filled America’s need for a public gathering spot”. I think many of us have spoken about the social aspect of tea, but we create that environment by welcoming people into our homes. As the number of tea house openings continue to increase, I think we’re going to see a new, social milieu evolve around tea in the broader culture.

Psychology Today: October, 2007.