This year, YouGov research in The Daily Telegraph, revealed that people in Britain turn to a brew when sad or lonely, almost to compound upon negative stereotypes launched around tea drinking in 2012, when research from Glasgow University stated that men are 50% more likely to suffer from Prostate Cancer if they drink seven cups of tea a day.
Two people I've known and been close to in my livelihood were both heavy tea drinkers, and yes one developed cancer and the other experienced loneliness, but on these examples alone, I'm less inclined to think that drinking tea is a primary example of their circumstances. I merely would put this down to two things: The first being awful luck, the other being a situation which contributed to the loneliness, but in both cases, crucially, not to do with tea drinking.
I am a proud tea drinker, who will often vary what teas I have, whether it be a chai tea latte or a regular English breakfast tea, both I enjoy on certain occasions and both I enjoy with regularity.
Tea drinking is a part of our national identity, a part of our social routine, a routine that has echoed across the world, even in the United States, with many referring to us Brits as tea-drinkers, rather than the European coffee lovers.
People turn to a brew yes, as a form of comfort, but not always when sad or lonely, and in fact tea drinking can bring people together, bring out the social animals in us, just as we see people mingle in cafes across London.
It is argued that tea is good for us, that people who regularly drink tea every day, have lower blood pressure, and those who drink around four cups a day have lower heart rates. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, which can affect many of the over 65s, so the popularity of tea-drinking is understandable if it can combat that.
It is also suggested, according to Rachel Moss, that
"drinking three cups of tea per day could decrease the risk of diabetes, with regular drinkers found to have a lower BMI and a smaller waist than those who have a cup or less each day."
In both cases, tea rather than having an adverse effect on us, has a positive impact and reinforces every more reason to enjoy a hot brew.
I personally will continue to drink tea and support tea drinking, just as we pride ourselves in our cakes, pointing out The Great British Bake Off for instance. We have grown accustomed to our love of tea, whether it is breakfast tea, afternoon tea or an evening cuppa to wind down with after a hard day's work.
Perhaps to enhance this sense that tea still has a presence within our cultural identity, is the growing number of independent cafes in London, from Bea's of Bloomsbury to FoxCroft & Ginger, serving their own brand of herbal teas and coffees. Ultimately, tea remains a figurehead in our culture, just as much as coffee does all over Europe.