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Recommendation

Tea and Comfort

by Cynthia Fazekas

Tea has a long history of being associated with wellness. One of the very first things the early tea sippers in ancient China noticed was the way drinking a warm cup of camellia sinensis made them feel, so this association is well entwined within the history of tea. In addition, herbal infusions (tisanes) are also universally seen as folk medicine and viewed colloquially as "tea." This presents a unique problem for passionate tea lovers and sellers who have fallen in love with true tea, camellia sinensis, for its wonderfully vast variety of tastes. The problem it presents is that people seek tea for potential health benefits versus how it tastes versus seeking it for the enjoyment value.

Coffee does not have this problem. Coffee is sought for two simple things: taste and caffeine. No one expects coffee to do more than these and often, the taste aspect is completely marginalized if the caffeine lift is desperately needed. Such luxury, right? Meanwhile, tea is expected to lift you, cure your ills, and abolish worldly woes as well as every pox known to man. Every teashop owner has heard the words, "What will this tea do for me?"

Fortunately, inherent health benefits aside, tea will do many things for a person. It will provide warm comfort, simple hydration, a moment to unwind or be still, and the glorious taste from those artfully crafted, beautiful leaves. As we ramp up for the busy seasons ahead, remember that although tea offers health benefits, we should still emphasize that tea is delicious and is so without added enhancements. If correctly prepared, it should not need sugar nor cream to be enjoyed, and so it is healthy as a tasty, low or no calorie refreshment.

When writing tea menus or copy for your website and packaging, remember to describe the taste of the tea as viscerally as you can to underscore that tea is tasty, and such a bargain for what it provides. Where else can you get such layers and variety of taste without potential harm? Wine, beer, and spirits provide taste but so many risks, while soft drinks and juices are loaded with sugars or other sweeteners. Underscore the simple comforts of a warm beverage with a book, by the fire, after a morning walk, or whenever a respite is needed. Connecting the consumer to this aspect of tea will provide a continued draw to the product regardless of any “medicinal” value. Tea is comfort in so many ways.