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I came across an interesting article in the World Tea News newsletter.  Apparently people are finally realizing that it really is OK to drink hot tea in warm weather.  I find this quite confusing.  When I walk by a local coffee shop, I see no fewer people.  The lines are still there as people get their fix and it’s typically HOT coffee – regardless of the temperature outside.  How did American tea culture get locked into the concept that it’s only reasonable to drink iced tea in the summer?  The truth is that the Chinese don’t even approve of iced tea.  Their ancient philosophy tells them that cold tea is bad for their health.  Although I don’t support that concept, it’s a far cry from hot tea is bad in hot weather.

In an effort to examine this phenomenon, I’m trying to wrap my brain around the problem of drinking hot tea when it’s hot out.  Most of us spend our time in air-conditioned rooms during the hot summer months.  With that in mind, I’m still struggling with why hot tea isn’t just as satisfying as it is in the winter.  If truth be told, it’s usually too cold in commercial buildings and a hot cup of tea is most welcome.  Also, tea is a beverage to be sipped, not gulped.  When we sip tea, we’re really not getting a scalding mouthful.  It’s warm and pleasant in our mouth, which is already 98 degrees.  So tell me, am I missing something?

If the question is: What would I like to drink if I were outside, in the sun, and it was 100 degrees?  Yes, I’d love a cold glass of water.  My husband, the herbalist, would tell me to drink room-temperature water as opposed to cold water.  The truth is that nothing beats a cool drink when you’re really hot, even if it isn’t the best for your health.  But if we’re really being honest, we’re usually drinking our liquids in climate-controlled environments, so I’ll stick with my hot tea, thank you very much.  I was encouraged to learn that Phoenix residents agree with me.  Way to go, Phoenix.

Editor’s Note: The article linked in the original post no longer exists. A similar article discussing hot tea in hot weather can be read here.

This article was originally published on T Ching in August of 2009.

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