Tea Culture in America

Have you ever wondered why Americans prefer a quick cup of coffee over a calming cup of hot tea? While it may seem like there is no obvious answer for this preference, there is in fact both a cultural, and historical component to it.

For Americans, coffee is about getting things done as quickly as possible because it speeds things up. It makes you go quicker. Contrastingly, tea is all about slowing down and taking your time with your thoughts. But this goes deeper than just the superficial facts. 

This is because of the historical tea-related taxes that were imposed on countries like America by the prior colonial British government. In 1767, the British Parliament imposed taxes on tea that was imported by America. This phenomenon was called the ‘Tea Act’ and was meant to help the British colonies gain monopoly over the tea industries. This was the final straw and started revolutions which led to the Boston Tea Party (A political movement by Americans against the British tax on tea). These tensions ultimately lead to the refrain in tea consumption for decades. While the tea market expanded after the Revolutionary War, Americans still preferred coffee because of the abolishment of tax by President Andrew Jackson in the 1830s.

The second aspect of this is the social stereotypes associated with tea. While this is not the case anymore, in the past, the idea of tea was not associated with being “manly.” For example, tea parties are meant for groups of women to socialize. Men were never in the picture when it came to drinking tea socially. Hot tea was always associated as a cure for an illness. However, in the 60s, when wellness methods like yoga and meditation gained popularity, tea became a complimentary beverage.

In countries like China, tea has both medicinal and healing properties, as well as the ability to create social etiquette. In America, the beverage “tea” has associations with healing, but no mention of a social aspect. Most coffee shops either offer tea with pre-mixed powders, or mass-produced tea bags with hot water. Tea is rare because it takes up time and people.

While the more common American mentality is to consider tea as some healing ritual that takes hours, coffee is something that you can do yourself with minimal effort. But, we are overcoming these misconceptions day by day, and tea is becoming an increasingly popular beverage to all people.

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