• Expand your creative potential with a cup of tea. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The evidence is in: a cup of tea could boost your creativi-tea.
By
Yasmin Noone

11 Feb 2020 - 6:08 PM  UPDATED 11 Feb 2020 - 6:08 PM

There’s more to your standard black tea than meets the eye. In fact, after you consume a steaming cuppa of dark goodness, it’s scientifically likely that you’ll have the ability to reconsider the creative possibilities of your tea drinking experience.

Chinese researchers from Peking University have just published a study in the journal Food Quality and Preference, proving that black tea can boost your creative thinking skills.

The researchers conducted a study, split into two parts, which showed that the beverage improves creative performance with divergent thinking, enhancing our mental ability to explore solutions and generate multiple ideas to pressing problems.

“The results showed that the participants who drank tea performed better in the spatial creativity task assigned in the 10  minutes immediately following tea consumption than did those who drank water."

“This work contributes to understanding the function of tea on creativity and offers a new way to investigate the relationship between food and beverage consumption and the improvement of human cognition,” the study reads.  

Researchers started the experiment by giving 50 participants either a cup of black tea – liquid measuring around 150 millilitres in total, consisting of a Lipton tea bag and hot water – or water served at the drinkable temperature of 42 degrees Celsius.

The tea or water was provided to participants by a receptionist, whose job it was to talk to each person for three minutes after pouring herself a drink and providing each participant with their specific beverage. The receptionist’s role was a tad sneaky – she intended to distract the study participant with small talk and a drink, so the participants weren’t aware of what they were being tested on.

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Post-chit-chat, each participant was lead into a room where they were asked to use blocks to design a toy factory. This task was intended to measure divergent creativity in spatial cognition – how participants determined where things should go in relation to other objects.

“The results showed that the participants who drank tea performed better in the spatial creativity task assigned in the 10  minutes immediately following tea consumption than did those who drank water,” the study reads.

In the second experiment, participants were asked to come up with as many “cool and attractive” names for a new ramen restaurant as possible in 20 minutes, as a way of testing divergent creativity in semantic cognition – how participants used their general knowledge to support their verbal actions.

“The results showed that the participants who drank tea received higher scores in the semantic creativity task compared to those who drank water.”

Women are more likely to be tea-drinkers than men: around 55 per cent drinking of the group who reported drinking at least one cup a week a week were women.

Tea is the second most-consumed drink in the world, next to water. According to Roy Morgan Research from 2016, one-in-two Australians drink at least one cup of tea a week. Women are more likely to be tea-drinkers than men: around 55 per cent drinking of the group who reported drinking at least one cup a week were women. One-in-four Aussies aged 14-17 have a cup of tea in a typical week, while 64 per cent of people aged 65-plus also drink tea.

Research suggests that black tea is a rich dietary source of flavonoids, which is why regular tea consumption may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Drinking tea also offers other health advantages, from reducing your risk of depression to minimising the likelihood of having a stroke. So here's to the body and mind benefits of a black tea brew - bottom's up!

Biscuits to dunk in your cuppa
Chewy oat cookies

You can try endless flavour variations in these moreish cookies. Experiment with dried blueberries, sour cherries, chopped dried apricots or even a handful of nuts.

Ginger biscuits

When you remove the white sugar from these guys the texture changes, but I hope Nanna would still recognise them. If it’s any indication that they’re tasty, my youngest son can’t get enough of them.

Black sesame & yuzu biscuit sandwich

Wagon Wheel alert! Two black sesame biscuits, sandwiching a vanilla marshmallow and a layer of yuzu jam, all covered in black sesame white chocolate... sign us up! #BringBackTheClassics

Jammy biscuits for the win!
It's a grandma classic. But have you tried a jam drop like this?
German jam cookies (spitzbuben)

These jammy, Linzer-like, buttery mouthfuls are a popular inclusion in the German Weihnachtsplätzchen (collection of traditional festive cookies) but are often claimed by the Swiss. Feel free to switch up the type of jam you use – red currant is also very traditional.