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Brew-tea-ful cuppa enhances creativity

Updated: Feb 27

Cup of Tea

What could be better than a good old cuppa?

In the age of trendy coffee shops, it’s amazing to discover that tea is the second-most drunk beverage after water.

Tea has long been thought to have health benefits. (One 17th-century Dutch doctor claimed to drink between 50 to 100 cups a day.)

Although it is not a miracle cure, modern scientists also suggest that tea is good for you. Just last week, a study claimed that a cup of tea instantly boosts creativity.

Led by Yan Huang of the university's School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, the team arranged two experiments, each with a group of university students who were asked to drink either tea or water upon entering the facility but did not know that drinking had anything to do with the experiments.

In the first experiment, the volunteers were asked to build something "creative and attractive" out of blocks. In the second experiment, they were asked to come up with a "cool" name for a new ramen restaurant. Results were judged by other non-participating students for creativity and design, and researchers marked the scores on a scale.

In both experiments, the tea drinkers performed better than the water drinkers. The tea drinkers’ results were found to be significantly more innovative than those who drank just plain water.

It would appear that drinking tea boosts creativity. From the study's discussion section, the researchers wrote:

"We observed the same effect of tea in both the spatial cognitive test and the semantic test. It seems that drinking tea has a solid and consistent positive effect on divergent creativity. More importantly, we found that the effect of tea on divergent creativity performance took place at the second half period of the experiment, revealing that the role of tea is to keep the performance of divergent creativity for a relatively long-lasting period of time."

The reason for these finds are not completely clear, although previous studies linking tea drinking to innovation have found that caffeine and theanine, two biological ingredients in tea, boost attention, which could help enhance creativity.

So, before you pop out for your next Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato why not re-think the humble cup of tea?

Surely, we must all agree that it is the best drink ever?

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