It's a headline serious journalists shudder to read, let alone write: "Coffee is way cooler than tea, says coffee company Nespresso". But once we'd finished laughing at the shameful propaganda being poured down our throats – like so many perfectly blended flat whites – we realised there could be a grain of truth further down the press release.
The firm says coffee is the drink of choice for "ambitious high achievers" with the muddy hot stuff "seen as a status symbol and an indication of a person's success". It got this line from a survey of 2,081 UK adults, which found that almost half (45%) of people believe coffee has a higher status than tea, and 70% of high earners prefer coffee over tea. Poor old Tetley.
There's more, too. More than three-quarters of senior managers (77%) choose coffee over tea when meeting important business colleagues or clients, while strong coffees such as an espresso or macchiato are the coffees of choice among Gordon Gecko types.
This is something I had long suspected. At the seemingly endless stream of lunch meetings I attended with investment managers in the early 2000s, nearly all of the besuited, towering, strutting human success stories would order a double espresso after they had polished off their (always rare) slab of lamb or beef. As a younger journalist I would attempt to match them, downing a double espresso before escaping to the loo, a caffeine-induced panic coursing through my system. These days I know my limits and stick firmly to weak filter coffee or tea, even if it marks me out as a lesser achiever.
It's the same on my morning train commute. As I extract a little carton of orange juice from my bag, I try not to notice the businessmen and women watching me fumble with my plastic straw while they clutch cups of steaming hot coffee. As they take power gulps of their success-syrup, I take emasculated sips of weak-juice, fully aware I am somehow not keeping up with my peers (it could be worse, there's a commuter older than me who wears Star Wars-branded trainers every day).
Perhaps the problem is that tea takes too long and high achievers are all go-go-go. If you order a take-away espresso there's a noisy bit of steaming and it's in your hands quicker than you can say "low-hanging fruit" or some other important business speak. With tea, there's the whole issue of pouring the hot water, dunking the tea bag, letting it steep, pouring in exactly the right amount of milk and stirring to achieve your desired colour – it's the hot drink equivalent of wading through War and Peace versus coffee's "Management in 10 Words".
High achievers are also the type to get up at the crack of dawn in desperate need of a caffeine hit to kick-start their day. Underachievers, by comparison, have plenty of time to slowly roll out of their messy beds, sleepwalk to the kitchen and absent-mindedly boil a kettle for tea.
But I love tea and want to reclaim it as a drink of choice for successful people. I want power-meetings chaired by directors proudly holding dainty china cups, I want Mad Men-types asking for a peppermint tea while their eyes twinkle mischievously, and I want chief executives drilling into their staff that "the leaf is better than the bean".
Do you agree? Is coffee the drink of choice for the high fliers in your office, or can a nice cup of tea cut it in the boardroom?
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2012