In the latte-obsessed United States, tea is gaining ground as scientists and the public learn more about its benefits.
A growing body of research suggests that the world’s second-most-consumed beverage — only water is more popular — helps prevent cardiovascular disease, burn calories and ward off some types of cancer.
“We don’t clearly understand why tea is so beneficial, but we know it is,” said Thomas G. Sherman, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at Georgetown University Medical Center. “There are lots of epidemiological studies, and so of course people see these studies and want to drink tea and gain these benefits.”
Nationally, tea purchases have risen for 20 consecutive years, annual supermarket sales have surpassed $2.2 billion, and away-from-home consumption of tea has grown by at least 10 percent a year for a decade, according to the Tea Association of the USA, a New York-based industry group. On any given day, the association says, 160 million Americans drink tea.