Tea makes me happy. Well, not really - what I mean is that I associate having a cup of tea with having a nice sit down and a rest. (Sometimes also a biscuit.) This means when I have tea then I start to feel my stress levels go down and even if I'm on the go or running around or doing something stressful having some tea in my hand makes me stop for a few seconds to take pause, which is sometimes very necessary. I love coffee too, but for me that feels more sociable, where as tea feels like one of the building blocks of my life - many a solution to my problems has come while I'm sitting with a cup of tea mulling over things and staring vacantly out the window.
When I lived in Spain for a year, they had fabulous coffee which I drank a lot of, but they're not really into tea as much. I managed to buy myself one of those coffee makers that you put on the hob (or stove top if you're not British) that made amazing coffee and it was wonderous. Except in the mornings, when all I wanted was tea. I tried sincerely to get into the Spanish habits (when in Rome, and all that) but that was one I just couldn't manage. I don't desperately need tea to wake up to, but it just sets my day off in a more relaxed and yet productive fashion. About six weeks into my time away, Immy-is-thinking came over to visit and brought with her my salvation - a kettle filled with tea bags. (What the customs people at the airport thought I have no idea). It made me so happy. And it made my mornings easier.
Hot drinks are really useful in social contexts. In Canada you would go into someones house and sit down and talk for ages. It always used to feel odd but I wasn't sure why. Another Brit pointed out to me that at home people sit you down and then disappear for a bit to make tea which gives you a chance to catch your breathe and have a look around. Not only that but if you're talking to someone and there is a silence, it feels like an awkward pause. But if you're drinking tea there is no awkwardness, just a moment at which to take another sip. Not only that but I adore meeting people for tea, especially if we get a tea pot for two - it just seems more friendly somehow and even, dare I say it, more intimate at times.
Right, I'm off to put the kettle on. Anyone fancy a brew?