Curious: Most Americans won't drink hot tea in summer but have no problems drinking hot coffee?

This curious contradiction puzzles me. The hottest tea drinking countries of the world (India, Middle East.. you name it) drink HOT tea, all year around—summer or winter. Conventional wisdom says you can cool down on a hot day by drinking a hot beverage yet Americans opt for ice tea in summer to “cool down.” They tell me it’s too hot to drink hot tea in summer yet they continue to drink hot coffee— no problem! Trying to figure this one out. Most curious.

21 Replies
Arby said

I’ve never heard of people refusing to drink any hot tea in the summer. I know I do. I also sometimes have cold coffee in the summer. It isn’t an either-or, I drink varying temperatures of different beverages all year long.

This must be an Arizona thing then. We get up to 110˚F in summer. Thing is, other countries get hot summers too. That was my question…

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Dr Jim said

Hey: Everyone in my family (except my wife) drinks hot tea all year round.

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AllanK said

I think most tea drinkers of real tea (as opposed to supermarket tea bags) will continue to drink hot tea in the summer. I drink both hot tea and iced tea all year long. I tend to bring iced tea to work and have it with dinner where I drink herbals due to caffeine. I am more likely to drink hot tea in the morning or afternoon. It doesn’t have much to do with season.

Yours, I would say is more the typical tea-drinkingl pattern I find with Americans. In Arizona most people can’t bear to drink hot tea in summer it seems…

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apefuzz said

Americans drink hot coffee when the weather is hot simply because they want the caffeine in the morning. They certainly aren’t doing it to somehow regulate their body temperature. If they are trying to cool down, they won’t drink hot coffee; they will opt for something cold – whether it’s iced coffee, tea, soda, water, whatever.

Like Allan said, those who like hot tea will drink it, regardless of the season. It’s just that hot tea simply isn’t that popular over here.

Both you and Alan are absolutely right. Coffee for the caffeine. Most people want that morning caffeine kickstart.

AllanK said

I still sometimes drink coffee for the caffeine in the morning but my preferred drink is ripe puerh tea.

I agree with this assessment. And I’m guilty of drinking hot coffee in the heat but not so much hot tea. I do still drink it, just not as much. When I disappear from Steepster for months at a time, it usually starts when the weather is hot.

Why? I didn’t stop to think about it all that much, but I think for me the tea I drink tends to be hotter than the coffee. By the time my coffee gets in my cup, the water has filtered through the drip coffee maker and collected in the pot a little at a time. I also drink coffee with milk, which cools it further, and I almost never drink tea with milk. I’m not sure that explains it entirely, but it’s what comes to mind.

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AllanK said

It may also be simply that iced tea was a thing in many parts of the country when hot tea really wasn’t popular in winter either. In the last ten or fifteen years the popularity of tea has risen as good tea has become available to people in the USA. Thirty years ago the best teas available to Americans were bagged supermarket brands like Lipton. Where iced tea was available everywhere even if it might not be made from real tea.

Yes, tea has come a long way for sure…

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Nicole said

Cooling down when hot by drinking a hot drink is something that works best in weather that allows the evaporation of the extra sweat caused by ingesting the hot drink. Not sure about this since (possibly incorrectly) I have a perception of many year-round tea drinking countries as being very humid and thus not conducive to evaporation of sweat. And it definitely seems like it would work in AZ! But here is some of the science about it. :)

Oh, and hi, Shona! :)

Hi Nicole! (small world —eh?) Thanks for your interesting insight. I tell you, I learn something new every day! Cheers! :)

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I drink hot tea all year round in Bangkok, and it sticks around 100 F (mid-30s C) for months, and never cools down by US standards, with high humidity all year. I suppose it could seem a little unnatural to many at the hottest times, and it can push me over the edge of maintaining a normal body temperature when it’s really hot. Thais don’t really seem to zero in on hot or cold beverage preferences as relating to the external weather that much, but iced coffee drinks probably are more popular as a result. They drink a lot of bubble tea but I think that’s more about liking the flavored mixes.

Yes…I noticed that same trend in Vietnam, Singapore and Hongkong too. Thai ice tea is quite delicious. Beats me how those guys never get fat. They like their cold beverages very sweet…I do too, especially Boba.

I think Thais stay thin because of genetics, and also because they don’t drink much soda or eat much fast food or fried food. All of that is here, and they do like really sweet flavored tea drinks or coffee, but they’re just not consuming that much of it.

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Iced coffee, cold brew, and Frappuccinos are quite popular these days, especially in hotter weather.

Kind of off-topic, but what about cheese tea?

CHEESE tea?? What! Where did THAT come from! Mind you, Tibetan butter tea is quite nice actually (they use salted yak butter) Very comforting in cold weather.

Apparently it’s a popular thing (within limits) in both Taiwan and China, and it’s also in the US now. I’ve seen it advertised here, but there are probably thousands of booths or shops selling matcha and bubble tea versus a few selling cheese tea, at most. Rum mixed with a little hot water, butter, and sugar is also nice.

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Inkay said

I drink hot tea all year round in the subtropics. I enjoy tea, so hot temperatures aren’t going to stop me from drinking it, but I do drink more cold brew tea and kombucha in the summer, especially if I’m spending time outdoors.

As far as tea goes, most people in my area drink iced and sweet tea all year round, which is far more popular than hot tea here. And as others have state, people often start the day off with coffee as a necessity for the caffeine. But since most places run air conditioners really cold around here, even during the summer it is usually chilly indoors where most people work or go to school, so it doesn’t really feel too hot for hot tea or coffee.

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