During the darkest days of World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said that he had "nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." He didn't mention what one historian called his secret weapon: tea. It might seem like a movie cliche, but the truth is, the British truly do love tea. Churchill realized it: He reportedly ordered that all sailors have an unlimited amount available. As losses mounted and morale dropped, Britain set out to buy all the tea the world had to offer -- except for Japan's share, of course. Germany was also aware of the importance of tea to life in Britain. During the ongoing bombing of London in 1941, German pilots targeted Mincing Lane, which was known as the "Street of Tea." In fact, some would argue that tea was a key factor in the eventual victory, as its steaming presence offered assurance and a sense of peace and normality in such difficult times, buoying the troops' spirits and bringing soldiers together.
The truth about tea:
- Unlike coffee and soda, tea contains a high level of antioxidants, which helps drinkers absorb the caffeine more slowly, thus preventing a "caffeine crash."
- All tea is not the same, and ideal steeping times differ; for example, black tea needs about three to five minutes to brew perfectly.
- Worldwide, tea is the second-most-consumed drink, behind only water.