The Best 8 Beverages in the World (Plus: Maui Treehouse and Wild Dog Video)


Pocari Sweat, not to be confused with Calpis

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?

[This post was originally published this morning on the “traveler’s weblog” Gadling . Digg it here!]


Other News and Goodies:

Want to learn how I hit #1 on the Wall Street Journal and #4 on the New York Times with no advertising or offline PR? Here’s a chance to hear what I did, step-by-step…

I’m aiming for #1 on the New York Times business list this month.

I was #2 last month, beaten by “Outrage”, which is political and shouldn’t be on the business list at all. Arghh! Here’s what I’m offering until end of day this Sunday, July 29: If you order 10 or more copies of 4HWW on (NOT Amazon) and send the email receipt to with “BLOG BONUS” in the subject, I’ll send you an exclusive interview I did with Jack Canfield–who co-created “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and has sold more than 150 million books–in which I discuss exactly how I planned and executed my blog launch for the book. This interview cannot be bought, and this offer is only good until end of day this Sunday, July 29. Get your ten or more copies for friends, colleagues, clients and workaholic spouses or children here!

Remember the treehouse and wild dog from Maui I mentioned a week ago? Here’s the video…

Trouble playing the video? Click here.

Posted on: July 26, 2007.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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80 comments on “The Best 8 Beverages in the World (Plus: Maui Treehouse and Wild Dog Video)

  1. Hi Tim,

    Japan certainly has some interestingly named beverages……. And yet they all seem to taste like grapefruit juice.

    A few things, first, I’m a big fan of red bull.. does the recipe really differ from country to country? I’ve heard rumors that Thai Red-Bull is made with ephedrine..?

    Also, I’ve read your book and really identify well with a lot of the things in it (and you actually) but it seems like most of your stuff is geared towards mid-careerers. This I guess is who you wrote the book for, but I, as a University student, would like to know how it applies to me. I don’t have any experience to leverage against employers. I love the idea of starting my own business, but don’t really have an expertise at this point (although I liked your section on how to become an ‘expert’ on something). Basically, what can you recommend for a young man like myself ready to take on the world? I feel like you should be able to help me here, as you seem to be younger than most people you’ve marketed your book to.

    Finally, I have 1 more year of University left… Any chances of convincing you to come and do a talk at my school? I’m in Canada, but I figured another country wouldn’t thwart you.

    I look forward to hearing from you… if you have a lot of detail about the subject I’d really appreciate an email.




  2. I’d definitely agree with you on the Long Jing Cha and the Acai. My favorite green tea is the Monkey Picked Oolong which is no longer picked by monkeys but has a wonderfully bright green hue and is amazing to drink. I’d say it’s a step above Long Jing Cha. Often called the “champagne of teas” it’s definitely up there with champagne in terms of price but I’ve never had anything like it. I like Chinese baiju as well, WuLiangYe. Most laowais hate it, but not me. Brazilian chopps are definitely up there too–Skol and Brahma. Great on a hot day and when you want to have good times with friends. As is Agua de Coco, another all-time favorite.


  3. I chose beer, even though I don’t drink much of it these days. I generally drink tea all the time (and only started drinking tea about a year and a half ago), but I used to brew beer regularly and I chose beer as the one to keep from a safety perspective.

    If I decide to travel the world, then the water may not be safe to drink in places. In those cases, I’d have to settle for beer, whereas tea may still not be safe to drink.

    The brewing process kills off the things that are harmful, which is one of the reasons that invading armies used to bring beer on long voyages with them.


  4. I love the Thai Red Bull that comes in the little square green glass bottle. That’s the one they usually don’t let the Westerners buy. They sell it at 7-11, even, in Bangkok.


  5. Having not sampled all of these, I won’t argue it’s the best — but Thai Red Bull is quite an experience. To start, it’s not carbonated and much richer in flavor. The consistency is noticeably thicker. It’s sold absolutely everywhere in small, glass bottles — at around 30 cents a bottle (USD). Needless to say, red bull and vodka was our drink of choice over a long island weekend.


  6. Two teas! Excellent. I voted for tea, naturally, but wine is a close second. Yes, Dragon Well tea…it doesn’t get much better than that.

    I just wrote on my blog today the top ten reasons tea needs to be drank every day.


  7. Hi All!

    Great recommendations, and I love the observation about beer being safer than water in places. Most true.

    Also, if you choose bottled water in areas with poor water safety (which I’d recommend), do not have ice! It comes from the tap or worse in most cases.

    UnaBonger, if you’re having trouble with the video, please see the link here:

    Anyone else having video issues?

    Keep the recommendations coming ;)



  8. Great choices, Tim. I’ve always liked Paulaner (their hefeweissen is very good too) and Tanzanian Peaberry, and recently my wife picked up some vinho verde, which we loved. And I still remember drinking green tea heated to about two million degrees in a Guangzhou teahouse – we had just driven through tea fields that day. Good times, good sipping.


  9. Funny you should write about Yerba Mate, I was just introduced to it a few days ago. Wonderful stuff.

    Good advice regarding ice in drinks. Most restaurants have automatic ice makers that connect to tap water supplies.

    If I’m traveling to a place where I might be concerned about water safety I usually take a liter Nalgene bottle and a few water purification tablets with. I can pack things in it (razors, combs, toothpaste, etc.) during the flights and have a way to have safe water, especially at 3 AM after drinking all that beer. :-) If you do this remember to purify the threads of the bottle cap (turn it upside down, loosen the cap, let some water run out) so you don’t have any surprises after you put your lips to it.


  10. A quick question for Tim:

    Why do you promote Barnes & Noble for people placing multiple orders of your book? Does it have something to do with how the books are counted for the NYT ranking specifically? Why doesn’t Amazon serve the same function?



  11. Love the video clip…ah, Hana. I know exactly the place you were staying! Next time you’re there you should get out to the true end of the Hana Highway, Kipahulu. If you went to Oheo Gulch you got very close. It’s the best part of the island, IMHO. No nightlife, but real Maui. Hope you enjoyed the Molokini dive!


  12. zico coconut water. perfect post-bikram yoga. more potassium than gatorade with less calories. tastes best really cold. mmm.