I am a consummate consumer in the literal sense.
Beverages, perhaps more than any other indulgence, have fascinated me from my first sip of Pocari Sweat in Japan. From Brazil to Zimbabwe, each locale has its superstar drink, and some are as defining of the culture as the people themselves. Here are my top 8 beverages in the world:
#8. Paulaner Kellerbier (Munich, Germany)
Paulaner is one of the six main breweries in Bavaria, and their incredible kellerbier is the only beer in the world that I love. I generally hate beer, but this is as pure as snow and as smooth as silk. It's a good thing, too, as bottled water is more expensive than brewskies in Munich.
#7. Tanzanian Peaberry Coffee (Tanzania)
Tanzanian peaberry coffee beans, freshly brewed with a simple Krup machine, are near perfect for curing AM grogginess. The only close competitor for early-morning favorites would be Kenya AA coffee, which ups the caffeine but sacrifices some flavor. The former is more elegant, the latter more brute force.
#6. Portuguese Green Wine (Portugal)
Vinho verde, so named for the ripeness and not the color, is sweet and refreshing, perfect for a hot and humid early evening in Lisbon. If you don't like fruity wines--think Zinfandel--you might be better off trading green wine for a drier Napa Valley Pinot Noir.
#5. Pocari Sweat (Tokyo, Japan)
Not to be confused with the always amusing Calpis Water, Pocari Sweat is the post-exercise darling of Japan. Clear and less sugar-laden than Gatorade, it rehydrates without causing stomach upset and helps you recover from the oppressive heat in a heartbeat.
#4. Acai (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Acai, an Amazonian berry, can be found on any beach in Rio. Generally served with a dash of guarana syrup for caffeine and a guaranteed sugar rush, it looks like purple frozen yogurt and is delicious with a bit of granola or banana on top. Just keep an ear open for "acai, acai, acaiiiiiiii!" and look for tan men carrying coolers on their hips or heads.
#3. Long Jin Cha Green Tea (Hangzhou, China)
The famous "dragon well" tea of the western lake district is well known for good reason. It is one of the top 10 best-regarded teas in China and delivers a beautiful combination of lightness, mild taste, and immediate alertness.
#2. Cold Mugicha Barley Tea (Tokyo, Japan)
Mugicha is the anti-heat weapon of choice for millions of Japanese and Koreans. It has a strong flavor, but the few sessions it takes to acclimate and appreciate this unique drink is well worth it. It improves circulation and, in so doing, helps decrease body temperature more than simple ice water. A delicious but acquired taste.
#1. Yerba Mate (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Consumed from a gourd, and replete with a straw that strains the leaves for you, yerba mate is the food of the gods. It contains three stimulants (caffeine like coffee, theophylline like green tea, and theobromine like cocoa) and provides an extended increase in mental performance without a subsequent crash. I love "Cruz de Malta" brand, and I credit this beverage with producing my first book. Pura vida!
German Riesling or real Thai Red Bull? Mexican horchata or Panamanian passionfruit? What is your favorite liquid Epicurean delight?
Timothy Ferriss is author of the #1 Wall Street Journal and NY Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich