Agent Triple P does not drink coffee, considering it a barbarians drink which tastes like water from a rusty boiler filtered through burnt mud. Tea, however, is a civilised person's drink. There has been much discussion in the press of late about the medicinal benefits of tea.
Last year a study carried out by the Moffitt Cancer Centre in Tampa, Florida reckoned that for women under 50, drinking three or more cups of tea every day slashes the risk of breast cancer by 37 per cent. Other studies have suggested that plant chemicals in tea called catechins could protect against a range of cancers as they slow the growth of cancer cells.
A week ago, a Dutch study conducted on a sample of 40,000 people over 13 years showed that those who drank more than four cups of coffeee or six cups of tea a day cut their risk of heart disease by a third, according to Professor Yvonne van der Schouw, Professor of Chronic Disease Epidemiology at UMC Utrecht.
Now this is a problem. Six cups of tea a day is quite a lot. Triple P usually has one first thing in the morning then, perhaps one mid morning. One after lunch if he has been out to lunch and then, maybe, another mid afternoon. This makes four, which is what coffee drinkers have to manage. To fit in another two would be quite tricky. That is a lot of tea to manage every day.
Now of course, tea cups vary in size and so we may be alright given our usual tea cup is actually one of these: a souvenir from Triple P's favourite hotel casino in Las Vegas. It holds 0.42 of a litre, or about 15 fluid ounces. Now a normal cup is about eight fluid ounces so maybe we are getting closer than we think! Vague comments about numbers of cups of tea have no place in a scientific report (unless they gave an exact amount of liquid to be consumed a day and the stupid journalists converted it themselves to cups).
However all is not well. Another study out this month, of women aged between 50 and 79, from Georgetown University says that women drinking more than four cups a day have a significantly raised risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Although they don't know what it is in the tea that causes the problem they claim that coffee didn't have this effect.
Oh well, we would say that the problems associated with rheumatoid arthritis, nasty though it is, are not as bad as cancer or heart disease so we will stick to our tea.