Coffee has risen well above tea in the social sipping order in the last 200 years. This is rather in the same way that cigarettes overtook snuff since it used to sit in the great coat pockets of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington as they faced each other in battle.

Modern Chinese biologists, after three years’ intensive analysis, have discovered a great many more subtle flavours in tea leaves.  Tea DNA is far more sophisticated and surprisingful than the two bog standard version of coffee — arabica and robusta.

There may be no more uniquely new status goods on the shelves but there are certainly delicious refinements of old ones to come, especially when freshly plucked tea leaves are composted with truffles for a year or two, enhancing its social status well beyond that of even the best arabica.

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