Americans will likely never drink tea with the same devotion as coffee because it does not fit their frenetic culture. This curious argument is put forward by food writer Max Falkowitz, who explains in an article for Heated how tea is all about slowing down, whereas coffee’s great appeal lies in the way it speeds things up. He writes,
“Coffee in the American model is speedy and largely solitary; in any region where tea has a foothold, it acts as a mechanism for slowing people down and, in literal and metaphorical senses, bringing them together, be it a Turkish town square or Egyptian hookah lounge or a Chinese teahouse.”
I’d never thought of this difference between the world’s two most popular hot beverages, but I like it because it’s reflected in my own travel experiences, as well as my personal consumption habits. At home, I turn to tea first thing in the morning as I’m easing into the day and in the evening when I’m winding down. Coffee is my go-to when it’s time to accelerate my day and increase alertness, and I drink a few cups between 8 AM and noon.