Why do we like hot tea? Why do we like cold drinks?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Hot tea has several actual and perceived advantages and hence is well liked throughout the world. Hot tea has medicinal benefits, and provides comfort during a runny nose or sore throat. It contains antioxidants. People also drink tea to de-stress and to help them sleep. Tea is also culturally used as a welcoming drink in many countries, especially India. It has also been suggested that a warm drink is perceived as welcoming. A study by the University of Colorado, Boulder suggested that people who held a warm drink perceived a target person as having a warmer personality. 

We also like to consume cold drinks. It is interesting to note that external cooling (through skin) may not be desirable; however, oral cooling is perceived as pleasant.  There is a scientific reason for this preference. Cold drinks satiate thirst and cold food (like ice-cream) provides oral cooling and are thus considered pleasant. The cold receptors in our mouth are not involved in temperature regulation, unlike skin receptors, and hence a cold fluid may cause discomfort when applied to the skin while still being desirable when consumed. 

Please see the reference links for more details.

Hope this helps.

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