14 Aug 2009

Calming quality of cup of tea put to the test

4:21 pm on 14 August 2009

A university professor in the Britain claims to have confirmed what many tea drinkers have long believed - that a steaming cuppa can help soothe in a crisis.

Malcolm Cross, an Australian psychologist at City University London, gave a group of 42 people a timed maths quiz and found those given tea afterwards were 4% percent less stressed.

Water drinkers' anxiety levels rose by 25%.

Having a cuppa helped the tea drinkers feel they had been "cared for", while the actual process of tea making created "communality" and "solidarity" among the group.

Professor Cross says the perfect recipe for a soothing cuppa is exactly 1.6 cups of English breakfast tea mixed with milk and one-and-a-half sugars.

Professor Cross said he did not believe taking time out for a coffee had the same calming effects as tea drinking.

"It has a very different association," he said. "The caffeine is greater (in a cup of coffee) and it's a stronger stimulant, so it may have the opposite effect."

While tea drinking is considered a quintessential British tradition, Professor Cross said he believed its calming effects were universal.

"There's something quite civilised about drinking tea and the ritual of afternoon tea and putting aside the time and rituals associated with that," he said.