What’s brewing with tea? It’s clear coffee is soaring and riding a wave of intense interest, with more and more heavy consumption, even in cultures where tea was the uncontested champion. However, a new trend may be steeping that will boost tea into a whole new world. Sue Bennett wrote about a new development in New York called the Tea Salon. The tea salon, or tea room, is to tea what coffee bar or café is to coffee. New York’s tea salons appear more fashionably elegant than the more laid back coffee shops, at least as revealed by a Google search - the list included nine such shops. A small sample of the list showed that most of the shops not only posted menus and other items besides tea, but they also advertise as a venue for bridal showers, small weddings, meetings and other social events. As Bennett points out, there are many kinds of teas, as with coffee. Also like coffee and wine, tea lovers share terms such as "full bodied", "hints of lingering flavors", "earthy", and the like. However some terms that are most familiar to insiders in coffee culture - such as double-shot skinny soy latte – have not yet made it into the tea world - at least not as yet. Can tea mount a comeback against coffee in the cultures in which it used to reign supreme? Or has coffee just become too mainstream, too consumer friendly and too darn popular to take a backseat? Just a couple of generations ago, tea was the healthy hot beverage alternative, and coffee was looked at as the less healthy beverage. Now that coffee is gathering such attention, it is becoming the subject of research and the world is finding out that no longer can tea boast the best health benefits. Certainly it has some qualities that will surpass coffee, but the opposite is also true. Now coffee comes in many flavors and modes of serving, also overshadowing tea and causing it to look like a boring alternative to the more showy coffee. It’ll be interesting to see what the elegant tea salon image will do to the coffee shop scene. Besides the fact that it appears to appeal to a different type of clientele, it just doesn’t seem that tea lattes will ever replace the espresso, latte, cappuccino, flavored coffees etc. in many coffee lovers’ cups.
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