Let’s face it: coffee and college life go hand-in-hand, both literally and figuratively. Whether it’s to stay up for a late night studying, to stay awake during the exam because of that late night studying, or to have something to drink during coffee shop dates and meetings, coffee is a fixture in at least four out of five college students’ lives.
However, I must confess that I am the one out of five who never picks up a latte en route to my morning classes. Though I am undoubtedly not a morning person, coffee has an incredibly awful effect on my health: my anxiety spikes, I become jittery, and I eventually get an upset stomach. Plus, I just really can’t stand the taste. Eventually, I just resigned myself to accepting that coffee and I would never be on good terms.
With that said, I am not advocating that anyone quit his or her coffee addiction. At least three-fourths of my friends would be appalled at the very notion. However, I do suggest trying out an alternative hot beverage that comes in multiple flavors and can also be found in coffee shops: tea.
Admittedly, not all tea varieties have caffeine, and the ones that do certainly don’t have nearly as much caffeine as coffee. However, if you’re seeking to wean yourself from a coffee addiction or just want more information before branching out into tea consumption, here is a list of the five basic types of tea you'll want to try:
The rarest of all tea types, white teas are subtle, with a slightly sweet, complex flavor. They are brewed at a low temperature and also have a short steeping time. Consequently, they have a low level of caffeine per cup of tea, roughly 6-25 mg.
Making up ten percent of the world’s tea, this tea is a green-yellow color and has a subtle, herbal taste with many undertones. Green tea can prevent cavities and gum disease as well as increase the body’s antioxidant activity. The ingredients in green tea are also believed to help increase metabolism and burn fat.
Green teas are often brewed at lower temperatures as well as for less time, though not as low or for as little time as white teas. In terms of caffeine, green teas have roughly 10-30% the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.
Oolong is often seen as one of the finest and, therefore, one of the most expensive teas available. It’s usually a pale yellow with a floral, fruity quality and a smoky undertone. Its flavor is not as subtle as green teas, but it still possesses a rather fragrant tone. With more caffeine than green tea but less than black tea, it contains around 12-55 mg of caffeine per cup.
Unlike the other teas that I’ve mentioned so far, black teas undergo full oxidation and thus have one of the strongest and most pronounced flavors of all types of tea. One of the most common types of teas available, black tea is typically a reddish-brown color. Black teas have a much higher caffeine content than other teas, around 50-65% of the caffeine of a cup of coffee and around roughly 23-110 mg of caffeine per cup.
Tisane is the formal name for what you probably know as "herbal tea." Tisane teas can be made with the berries, flowers, and seeds of many different kinds of plants. Some common ingredients are chamomile, peppermint leaf, and ginger root.
Tisane teas are often used for their soothing or rejuvenating qualities. Unlike the other teas that I have mentioned, herbal teas do not contain caffeine whatsoever so they are a great choice for those who prefer to avoid caffeine.
What do you think?
Do you enjoy drinking tea? Are you a devoted coffee drinker? Or do you have no preference? What is your favorite kind of tea? What do you like to put in it (e.g. honey, sugar, etc.)? Where do you usually go to get your tea fix? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!