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.

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

  1. Re: poll.

    You could have a different wine everyday of your life, 3 times a day, and never have to repeat the same wine. Ever.
    Imagine, a different experience each and every time: Etheral, good, bad, indiferent. That’s how I’d rather live.

    Water? eh. Tasteless. And water sommeliers are just overrated, seriously.


  2. I used to drink Pocari here in the States when I was a kid… loved it. But then, it disappeared.

    I went to Japan when I was 14, and there it was… but they added the ‘sweat’ term. I wondered why, until I went to a kiosk at a train station and asked for a Pocari.

    “Bacardi?” the man said, handing me a bottle of rum.

    Tempting, but no — too thirsty to try to get away with buying Bacardi that day (I’m tall, but shoot — I was only 14).

    If anyone knows how to get a hold of some in the U.S., let us know.


  3. I was in Hauna last summer. There was a black sand beach near there that was probably the most beautiful, serene beach I’ve ever seen in my life! I have a picture from there on my desk that I stare at every day. I want to go back so badly! Tiffany


  4. I think hot sunny climates are the best place to incubate amazing drinks, in South Africa there are quite a few delicious completely natural fruit juices:
    Superjuice (the crack of fruit juices), LiquiFruit, Appletizer, Grapetizer and more (haven’t been back in a while!).

    In colder climates you get amazing chocolate drinks, Pucko from Sweden is ust awesome, as well as it’s Danish siblings!


  5. Tea for sure there are many flavors you can drink it hot or cold there has been proven health benifits.. I love wine don’t get me wrong but i’ll pick something that will keep me sobor.. I couln’t imagine if i could only drink wine!
    i wouldn’t be able to drive or anything!
    i think you should of put more on there!


  6. Tim

    Your innovative thinking has really changed the way I look at my life and career. Have you ever thought about getting a channel on avantgo? I’m sure that it would be very popular.


  7. Hello – how do the NR invest any extra money they may have? Im not sure todays Financial Consultant can appreciate/understand the NR lifestyle. Tim


  8. OK, I know this is gonna sound weird, but for me, THE most refreshing drink in the world is a Diet Cherry Limeade from Sonic. It’s my one addiction. If I see a Sonic, I pretty much have to have one.

    On the healthier end of the spectrum, my two favorites are 1) fresh pineapple juice, and 2) a blend of pear, key lime and ginger fresh juice. Both are pretty thick & rich and best over a lot of ice.


  9. tim -

    cannot find the exhaustive coverage of blogs and how to build buzz with, etc. where is it,please?

    also, good on the rap for christine’s book “rules for renegades”, but the link takes you AWAY from your site instead of opening in a separate window. must_maintain_sticky_website, dear.


  10. I dove molokini a few years back, saw some sharks too! Funny, I thought this place looked identical to a house I stayed at on the Big Island near Captain Cook. We swam with dolphins that trip and I started thinking on the same wavelength as four hour workweek…Tim has only recently started to give words to my thoughts. We were also both born in ’77…rock on Tim!


  11. Mexican Pulque! So much history behind it that it doesn’t matter that it taste like crap. They now have it in cans in some places but they filtered it quite a bit and added some other ingrediants to make the taste and smell a little easier to take down.

    Anything from the Agave plant gets my vote… Pulque, Tequila, Mezcal, Agave Nectar.


  12. I am a obsessed with drinks of all kinds, especially the unusual types. My short list would have to include :

    #3 Malta (malta india) which is a non-alcoholic Malt beverage with a very robust almost molassis flavor.

    #2 fresh fruit ‘Frescas’ preferably Honey Dew, but any ripe fresh fruit will do. Its simply blended up fruit, water, and sweetener ( I prefer the taste of Agave Nectar). a cold ‘fresca’ with chunks of the fruit is Heaven on a hot day.

    #1 Is without a doubt ‘Koko Samoa’ this is popular in samoa and NZ. Its just roasted and smashed coco beans, which harden into a chunk of Koko. The coco bean paste/pulp (koko) is boiled in water for about 30 minutes. What you end up with is a serious wake-up beverage that has lots of roasted coco nibs you get to nibble on as you drink it. I like adding some cream or soy milk to mine and sweeten to taste. WARNING: if you order this online make sure you dont get burnt reject Koko…Ive had this happen….its very sad. Try This Out if you ever get a chance!!!


  13. Hi Tim

    Congrats on the new edition of the book! I just started drinking yerba mate (love the taste) and did some research on it. I came across some information that it might be carcinogenic. Are u aware of this? I really love the stuff and can drink more than 1 litre a day so am now a bit worried. Here’s a link to some info I found:

    I know everything is probably safe in moderation but I really love it and want to continue my mass consumption :) Was wondering if you know more about this aspect of yerba mate.


  14. As to the question of whether mate can be carcinogenic, the substances blamed for the alleged toxicity are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), but are they naturally present in mate or the result of growing it in polluted areas and spraying it with pesticides as nearly all non-organic food growers do? Here’s an excerpt from:

    What are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)?

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas, garbage, or other organic substances like tobacco or charbroiled meat. PAHs are usually found as a mixture containing two or more of these compounds, such as soot.

    Some PAHs are manufactured. These pure PAHs usually exist as colorless, white, or pale yellow-green solids. PAHs are found in coal tar, crude oil, creosote, and roofing tar, but a few are used in medicines or to make dyes, plastics, and pesticides.

    What happens to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) when they enter the environment?

    * PAHs enter the air mostly as releases from volcanoes, forest fires, burning coal, and automobile exhaust.
    * PAHs can occur in air attached to dust particles.
    * Some PAH particles can readily evaporate into the air from soil or surface waters.
    * PAHs can break down by reacting with sunlight and other chemicals in the air, over a period of days to weeks.
    * PAHs enter water through discharges from industrial and wastewater treatment plants.
    * Most PAHs do not dissolve easily in water. They stick to solid particles and settle to the bottoms of lakes or rivers.
    * Microorganisms can break down PAHs in soil or water after a period of weeks to months.
    * In soils, PAHs are most likely to stick tightly to particles; certain PAHs move through soil to contaminate underground water.
    * PAH contents of plants and animals may be much higher than PAH contents of soil or water in which they live.

    Notice that it says they are poorly soluble in water (tea water?) and the main source is air pollution and pesticides.

    This reminds me of a study that supposedly linked high consumption of hot peppers to greatly increased cancer rates. When you look at how the study was done, however, you realize that the peppers the study participants were eating were grown in Mexico and absolutely SATURATED with pesticides – much more than usual. (A lot of herbs grown in 3rd-world countries are that way, unfortunately). Add to that that other studies have actually found that hot peppers can decrease cancer risk and I think you get the point.

    I am VERY skeptical of almost all “studies” until I know a few things about how they were done, who financed them (conflict of interest?), how the results were interpreted, how many other studies found conflicting results, etc.

    I’m going to continue enjoying my organic mate’, but I’ll also be remembering , “All things in moderation… including moderation.”




  15. I’d like to contribute ‘Sobe Rush’, the energy drink sold in Argentina, for consideration for a future top 10 of worldwide beverages.

    Tastes average, but you’ll want to buy it as well after seeing the ad campaign.

    Latinos ‘doing’ Japanese culture – amazing:


  16. Would prefer acai berry and pocari sweat. But I wonder why these types of drinks aren’t so common in other countries. Although, it adds to the exotic feel, when you are in RIO and gulping some cocktails.

    -Ray Wilson


  17. I hate Mugicha (wheat tea) in any form,it has a disgusting taste. You are very right about Pocari Sweat,I used to drink it while in Japan competing in Judo and it replenishes you faster than any beverage I have ever drank.

    In the tea category Long Jing is definitely not at the top of the list flavor wise. I would put Gunpowder tea,Jasmine Tea,any brand of White Tea,Tea Guanyin,Black Tea grown in beds of roses (as they do on tea plantations in Yunnan Province arounf the Stone Forrest,you get the rose aroma when you add the heated water).

    Great list nonetheless,it is all a matter of preference,I am sure quite a few Americanos would put Big Red at the top of the list! Yuck!


  18. Favourite beverage: German Piesporter Goldtropfchen white wine, drinking it while cruising on a Rhine River steamer during a sojourn to the old Roman wine country between Colon & Wiesbaden…on a sunny afternoon. ;->)


  19. Which maté products did they study? Most mainstream maté is dried by using smoke, which one may appreciate is potentially carcinogenic. However, Ché and Kraus brands – as well as select products from Guakaki and others – are dried ‘naturally’, without smoke.
    Aside from the admission in that article that hot water may actually be the cause of increase in cancer, the finding of PAHs in some maté is hardly proof that maté causes cancer. What is the net carcinogenic load when factoring in the antioxidants in maté? Are there cancers which occur less often in maté drinkers? What correlative activities do maté drinkers engage in? Fernet abuse? Alfajore binging? I’m being flippant of course, but that article really isn’t complete enough science.
    Thought provoking though – I do reach for the naturally dried brands now.