Warm beverages to warm the soul

If you have ever ordered a beer in the U.K., you will not be surprised that they enjoy their favorite brews at room temperature. In fact, around the world, people take their beverages warm.

In Asia, people enjoy drinking tea and even water at hot temperatures. They would not think of drinking “iced tea.”

Indeed, in most parts of the world for most of history, it was easier to heat beverages than cool them. In fact, over the centuries, people had to go to great lengths to keep things cool.

They kept icehouses on their farms to keep certain foods cool during the summer. Fisherman cut ice from ponds during the winter and stacked them in warehouses to provide ice to the fishing boats to keep their catches fresh during fishing season.

Dolly Madison was said to send expeditions into the Appalachian Mountains to bring back snow and ice to make ice cream. But until the development of mechanical refrigeration by Willis Carrier during the 20th century, there was no ready means to keep or drink beverages cold. (Since President Trump succeeded in keeping Carrier in Indiana, refrigeration should continue to reap profits in America too.)

By contrast, man “invented” fire about a million years ago, according to archaeological evidence. Since then, humans have had the means to heat foods and beverages. (It also means that human lungs have been exposed to smoke for a million years too.)

Indeed, controlling fire — including to heat foods and beverages — is one of the most important developments in all human history.

Heat warms the body and soul

Having heat is all the more important as the temperature drops. That’s when we really feel the urge to make a hot cup of coffee, cocoa or tea during the day. Or even warm apple cider, buttered rum, or mulled wine in the evening.

In addition to the health benefits of the specific beverages themselves, warmed beverages warm your hands and your GI tract. Plus, it is a basic element of Ayurvedic medicine of India, and of Chinese medicine, that you cannot digest cold foods and beverages as well as warm foods. And poor digestion contributes to virtually every medical condition. (I’ll tell you more about this in the February issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.)

Plus, studies show taking a hot beverage offers another important psychological element. Hot beverages make people feel more comfortable, happier and friendlier toward others.

In fact, in one recent psychology experiment, researchers asked people to evaluate strangers’ friendliness and trustworthiness.

Participants rated strangers holding a cup of warm coffee with more positive attributes. On the other hand, participants rated strangers holding a cold drink with fewer positive attributes.

Then, the study evaluated the effects on the participants themselves. Those holding hot drinks were more likely to behave generously and less likely to display selfish behavior.

Linguistic analysis shows we metaphorically associate words like “warm” with  positive human behaviors, characteristics and personalities. On the other hand, “cold” generally describes undesirable personal attributes.

While Starbucks has made a pretty penny selling warm beverages, I recommend staying away from their overpriced, frothy treats. Drink your coffee black. Or add a little plain cream. And if you must add something sweet to your tea, try some organic honey. It will help you stay warm, and “warm,” this winter.


  1. “Studies show that holding a warm drink makes people rate strangers more highly,” The Manchester Guardian (UK) (www.theguardian.com) 11/27/2016