New York is seeing an uptick in demand for tea, thanks to recent frigid weather, and what some say is “the Mariah Carey effect.”
New Yorkers and visitors to the city better known for its coffee culture are scrambling to get warm with tea after Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance, in which she demanded a cup of hot tea when on stage as promised.
The Whitby Hotel has seen a spike in its tea sales for the hotel’s $45 per person, British-style afternoon tea service, with clotted cream and finger sandwiches, washed down with pots of English breakfast tea.
More than 1,000 guests turned out for tea in December, and demand shows no signs of slowing. The hotel has a partnership with the Downtown Abbey Exhibition, a block away, and says the brutal cold has also fueled demand for tea.
The Peninsula Hotel is also being inundated with tea drinkers, along with The Pierre, The Plaza and the Taj Hotel.
The Palm Court at the Plaza is renowned for its afternoon high tea. “We’re not sure if we have Mariah to thank for that, but we’ve loved working with her in the past and look forward to welcoming her back for a cup of tea soon,” said The Plaza’s executive chef, Sani Hebaj said.
The Taj has a just-launched “Tiffin Tea,” with homemade sweets and spiced Chai tea. Hebaj says bookings have been strong in January.
The Tea Council of the USA confirmed the uptick in tea-drinking trend and says Carey’s request for hot tea shows even celebrities love to drink tea, the world’s second-most popular beverage, after water.
This month is National Hot Tea Month, and National Hot Tea Day was Friday.
More than 158 million Americans drink tea each day with sales, including supermarket purchases and at cafés, rocketing from $1.8 billion in 1990 to $12 billion in 2016, which are the most recent data.