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Tea Wednesday: A closer look at the timeless drink

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Tea Wednesday: A closer look at the timeless drink
Issue Time:2017-09-20

Tea Wednesday: A Closer Look At TheTimeless Drink

Over the past fewyears, out-of-home tea consumption has risen, according to a high-end teacompany Authentea's 2016 annualreport. Younger generations are turningto tea at growing rates, and thedrink has had an increasingly strong presence in cafes and shops on and around McGill campus. Withthe rise of the natural andhealth conscious trend, this newfound popular preference for tea isn't all thatsurprising. Tea is having its moment, and it's time to take notice of the cozydrink. Drinking tea not only makes a brisk fall day extra snug, but most teasalso have a variety of healthbenefits, making the drink ideal for students–especially those for whom healthtakes a backseat to studying once midterms hit.

While adamantcoffee drinkers or any student cramming last minute may turn their nose up attea, many varieties of tea provide comparable amounts of caffeine to coffee,while skipping out on the negativeside effects, such as restlessness and irritability. Just two cups of tea cansupply the same quantity of caffeine as one cup of coffee, and most teas givethe drinker a calmer boost of energy. This is in part due to the presence of the chemical Theanine in teas; the anti-stimulant helps withfocus and relaxation, unlike coffee’s classic crash-and-burn game.

Many teas also havehealing benefits. Ginger teas and peppermintteas can help fight off the flu, while blueberryblack tea and black teas are valuedfor their medicinal properties insome parts of the world—though many companies in North America and Europe mayoverstate this as a marketingtactic. Some teas, however, come with obvious benefits: Green tea has beendubbed “the healthiest drink in the world”,because of its ability to lower the risk of cancer and kill bacteria—the Chineseknew of herbal tea’s benefits as early as 3000 BC.

Historically, teahas served many purposes, including acting as a catalyst for social activity.In the 1800s, elites in England gathered regularly to chat over tea and lightbites, a practice they called high tea. This concept is still popular incurrent cafe culture around the world, including in Montreal, where third wave cafes are a central part of the localculture and economy. A favourite pastime of many McGill students is meeting upat one of Montreal's many cafes.Cramming sessions at coffee shops reflect the continuation of the antiquatedtradition in which tea is at the centre of a social activity–it’s common to seeMcGill students get together and nurse a cup of tea as they pour over theirnotes and absorb complimentary WiFi. 

To satisfy teacravings between lectures, McGill offers multiple spots for a fix of tea aroundcampus, with several cafeterias and cafes to choose from, such as those ofRoyal Victoria College and Bishop Mountain Hall. To explore tea beyond thecafeterias, check out one of the alternative tea vendors on campus; try the minttea–or even a chai tea latte—at Dispatch Cafe in theMcConnell Engineering Building or the Second Cup in Stewart Biology.

In terms ofoff-campus options, CHAÏ tea lounge on Avenue du Parc is at the top of thelist. With over 20 varieties of black tea to choose from, CHAÏ offers almostevery type of tea in the book. For a more serene and gadget-free cafe, Camellia Sinesis Tea HouseinMontreal’s Latin Quarter makes for a great choice. It’s a quiet escape from thelaptop life of McGill, and the tea choices are expansive. To buy tea and takeit home, try David’s Tea. The famous tea chain started in Montreal, and thechoices are limitless. 

Whether studentsprefer a cafe setting or a comfy blanket and couch, tea provides an experienceof familiarity and warmth on those long fall days. As Russian novelist FyodorDostoevsky once said, "Let the world go to hell, but I should always have mytea.”

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