Why do Chinese people love drinking hot water?

April 11, 2021

If you live in China there is one thing you may be very puzzled about: "Why do most Chinese drink hot water? Even in summer?". This is something not very common in other countries - when you drink something hot it would rather be tea, coffee or soup, but not plain water. So why do Chinese prefer simple water?

Well, this throws us back to history: back in the 1930s, when sewage pipes were being developed worldwide, people started drinking tap water because it was easier to access and cleaner, especially in China. Thus, about 80 years ago the Chinese were just drinking cold water like people from other countries. However the government quickly found out that more and more people started getting stomach ache and diarrhea - and this bothered people for a long time until one person discovered the crucial fact: because back in the time sterilization of those sewage pipes was not quite developed compared to other western European countries, and because they didn't have enough resource to support a completely clean pipe system - drinking tap water directly would make people sick. 

So the problem remained as people needed drinkable water. How did they eventually solve this problem? You may start guessing that the solution was just on the surface - to replace cold water with hot - and the answer is yes! Once people started boiling water, it would immediately kill the all germs and bacterias, thus making water safe to drink. This habit is still there - and Chinese people still love drinking hot water, not only to prevent them from getting sick but also because their digestive system is more used to warm water.


Now you will feel less puzzled next time when you are served a glass of hot water in a random restaurant in China.

Written by Francesco Peng for IMCPI