8th December: Tea

Today, I am extremely thankful for tea. That is “normal tea”. English Breakfast tea. With cold skimmed (0% fat) milk and made with boiling water at 100 degrees centigrade, served in a proper china mug. Not bothered about a cup and saucer though. This combination present unnecessary hazards, which inexplicably are often thought to be rather fun for guests at a standing event.* If however, tea is presented in a pot, this has to be one that retains heat, pours in a straight line and is preferably served with a second vessel of hot (read: boiling) water too. Yes, if you happen to have seen The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel film, Maggie Smith’s character has got nothing on me when it comes to tea. Woe betide, the coffee-loving waiting staff who attempt to add hot (!) milk to a cup of tea. No!

Since I was about three years old, I have loved drinking tea. Indeed, I start every day in a most mindful manner with a mug of tea in bed. There is only one activity (oh alright, two) that I can attempt on waking before imbibing my morning ritual. When staying in hotels for work (which could sound like a rather strange statement I know) this is the only time where I somehow manage to accomplish a whole host of activities i.e. get dressed, prior to my first hot beverage. Unfortunately, many hotels seem to think that their guests can indeed achieve all sorts of complex tasks first thing in the morning. Whilst their reflection of autonomy is definitely brain-friendly, designing the DIY tea-making apparatus so it is more akin to requiring a degree in engineering is most definitely not. Especially when all coffee addicts have to master is simply popping in a pod.

Tea is becoming fashionable again. No doubt people realise that after all that coffee they need a drink to soothe their over exfoliated gastrointestinal tract and one that does not leave them jittery. Likewise, the caffeine in tea does give the brain a boost which has been shown to increase alertness, attention and wakefulness. However, it is tea’s unique combination of caffeine and an amino acid L-Theanine plus catechins (phytochemical compounds found in so called superfoods) which have demonstrated mood boosting and a variety of cognitive enhancing properties.

Like much of science, exploration appears to stem from what we already experience, as irrefutable proof is then sought. I am thankful in advance that this research will lead to Twinings tea being served everywhere, meaning that when outside the United Kingdom, the compulsory three inferior teabags in my one mug will become a distant memory. Although the particular brand offered at the St. Pancras Hotel, London is good too. Thank you, tea.

*Food and beverage staff across the world please kindly take note.

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