We say: I'm gasping for a cup of tea...
We mean: I'm hot and thirsty.
What it says about us: Very hot, bitter flavoured water quenches my thirst on a swelteringly hot day by raising my temperature to that of a boiling radiator, so that when I finish the drink the relief is such that I obviously feel cooler... relatively speaking. (I'm British, you see. Ice cold water just doesn't cut it).