It's cold outside. What you need is to stay in and have a nice cup of tea. Not builder's tea, mind. Try something a little more refined and sip on some über-cool loose-leaf green, white, red, yellow, puer and oolong teas.
Tea is now the only beverage to be seen drinking. Sales of speciality teas have increased by 50% in the past year, and they're a health freak's dream - caffeine-free, rich in anti-oxidants, and bereft of calories.
Tea drinking has been around in Britain since the late 17th century but, in China, tea consumption has been all the rage for 4,000 years.
According to legend, the first cup of tea was brewed in 2737BC by the emperor Shen Nung. Ensconced beneath a tea tree with a receptacle of boiling water in hand, a leaf fell into Shen's mug. He drank it, and you can probably guess the rest.
More than 400 varieties of tea plant are grown throughout Japan, Taiwan, China, Sri Lanka and India. As with wine, the flavour and character of tea changes depending on soil, altitude and climate. Green teas are made from young leaves and are steamed, rolled and dried. Puer teas are left to age for many years.
Edward Eisler, director of Jing Tea, says that correct serving is just as important as the quality of the tea. Water should be filtered and served at the correct temperature for the tea - around 70¡ will bring out the best in delicate green and white teas.
So if you're sick of your normal cup of char, check out these tea emporia: