There’s been a huge uptick in tea sales in New York City this winter, especially at fancy hotels such as The Pierre, The Plaza and the Taj Hotel.

We can think of a lot of possible reasons for this trend. There’s the insanely cold weather, including frigid, record low temperatures and  a freaking bomb cyclone! There’s a slew of post-holiday tourists wanting to catch New York decked out in its winter best. On top of that’s there’s also a special “Downton Abbey” exhibit just a block away from The Whitby Hotel, so their parlor alone has literally sold thousands of cups of earl grey and finger sandwiches to commemorate the period drama. (Because who doesn’t want to cosplay as British aristocrats?)

But the single best explanation for the recent tea craze? Mariah Carey. That’s who the illustrious folks at the NY Post credit for the trend. During the diva’s fabulous New Year’s Eve performance in Times Square  she demanded a cup of hot tea on stage as promised. “They told me there would be tea,” she uttered with dagger eyes, and hell hath no fury like a Mariah scorned. This moment apparently not only spawned the first meme of the year but a larger demand for warm herbal beverages. Fun fact: The next time your tea kettle whistles, it’s doing its best to emulate Carey’s whistle register.

The Tea Council of the USA are also quick to attribute the increased tea sales nationwide to the “Mariah effect.” Before you doubt one woman’s impact on an entire industry just remember this is a person who believes she invented “linner!” When Mariah eats, the world listens!

From a more realistic perspective, higher teas sales are part of a broader pattern. The beverage is enjoying a boom in popularity over the few years as annual sales surged from  $1.8 billion in 1990 to $12 billion in 2016, according to the most recent data. But that won’t stop us from believing it’s all Mariah’s doing.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Jessica is an Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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