It is fascinating to reflect that tea, the world's most widely consumed beverage next to water, began in Chinese antiquity not as a beverage but as a medicine. Several millennia later, modern scientific research is confirming that such ancient intuition has relevance to contemporary health concerns including cancer, heart disease, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The timeliness of this message as the 20th century concludes could not be better. The importance of a balanced diet has been recognized and studied throughout this century. The concept that we are what we eat has become a part of popular culture. If tea's health message, which future scientific research will continue to articulate, is creatively presented and embraces the romantic image that tea affords the industry, there is every reason to expect a rebirth and reinvigoration of this ancient beverage as a new millennium commences.