“You don't really hear people say, 'I'm going to go relax with a cup of coffee,'' says Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. "I am not sure if science will back this up directly, but it's often the ritual of drinking tea. It soothes stress. It helps you relax."
Gans declines to say tea is better than coffee. It's often a personal preference, and each has its own benefits — but tea’s list is long, if you haven't ever taken a peek. Gans notes its ridiculous antioxidant profile, and says tea has been linked to lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and your risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as fighting cancer and Alzheimer's. "And there was a recent study that, overall, shows tea-drinkers have a healthier lifestyle than coffee-drinkers," she says. Make what you want of that. Maybe it's tea's link to stress reduction, but the research is there.
I know what many of you are thinking, though: Tea? Really? Ew.
Been there, guys. I vividly remember my uncle handing me a cup of tea when I was probably 10. I took a sip, made a face like he'd just given me a lemon to suck on and handed him the cup right back. And you don't want to start adding a bunch of junk to your tea, either. As Gans notes, "It's a healthy beverage option, but start adding a lot of honey and sugar? Now it's a lot of calories." Kind of like how a chai tea latte isn't really tea — it's a legit dessert.
It's important to learn to enjoy the flavor of the tea if you can, without all the sugary additives. But, I do get it if you're not into the bitter taste of some classics — like Earl Grey, for example. (Yes, some teas really do have flavor!) I loathed teas for years and years, until I started trying out a new one every now and again instead of coffee. I like a hot beverage on a fading fall day, but I could never tolerate the caffeine content in an afternoon cup of joe. So, enter tea... but only those with actual taste.
Harney & Sons hot cinnamon spice tea is a delicious black tea, and tops my list of all-time favorites. The mixture of orange peel, cloves and three different kinds of cinnamon give it a natural sweetness. I can literally drink bottomless cups of this during the fall and winter months.
Great for digestion with the ginger and soothing chamomile, you also get a kick of flavor from the citrus in Tazo organic spicy ginger tea. And since it's herbal? It's caffeine-free, which means you can drink it anytime, anywhere.
If you're more into teas that taste like dessert in a cup, opt for Republic of Tea caramel apple red tea, which has a super-autumnal, caramel-apple flavor. With African rooibos tea as the perfect base, you're really getting a triple-punch of sweet flavor. Yum.
Peach tea is really just ho-hum, slightly flavored water in my opinion... until you add caramel and coconut flavors to your cup, along with chicory, chamomile and rooibos. Think of Davidson's caramel peach with coconut dessert tea as an easy 'n' smooth beginner's herbal tea.
Harney & Sons dragon pearl jasmine tea is the closest thing to a classic I’m going to include on this list... because it's the most soothing, relaxing thing I've ever consumed. It tastes decadent, but not in a dessert-y way. It smells beautiful and floral, but never too strong. It is jasmine tea, and it's unlike anything else. Once you've done the other four flavors on the list, graduate to this. It will become a fast favorite.
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