Hi, I’m Aubrey. I wanted to take a moment to step out from behind the curtain of Good Life Tea, and talk about tea from the perspective of my own personal experiences. I’m a college student, and going into my sophomore year. I’m also one of those people who just really wants to do all of the things, and do them well, all at the same time. My semesters are busy, and I can’t afford to fall asleep while writing an important paper, or miss a class because I’m sick. In high school, I maintained this feverish pace with coffee and energy drinks. Unfortunately, coffee and energy drinks will gradually make you sicker and sicker, until you end up having to take time off to recover. That’s why I’ve switched over almost exclusively to tea. This post is meant to be a somewhat extensive explanation of how I use tea in my own life to handle the challenges facing your modern collegiate overachiever, though it applies just as much to the experiences of anyone who tends to push themselves a little too hard.
Why you should be drinking loose tea:
As far as tea in general goes, the best kind of tea for you is whichever tea you will actually drink. All black, green, white and oolong teas are made from the same plant, camellia sinensis. All of these teas have a little caffeine, unless they are decaffeinated, and are good for you in a variety of ways which you can read about here. Right now, we’re going to focus on just one of those great things that are in tea: an amino acid called L-Theanine. L-Theanine causes a relaxed state without inducing drowsiness, and will also help you focus. If you don’t believe me,
Here is a report from the NIH about it. If you’d like to read about it in more plain-English, here’s the Huffington Post talking about it as well. What this means is that, if you are studying for a long period of time, and you want to keep on-task and focused, you should be drinking tea. If you are pulling an all-nighter, you should not be drinking coffee. You should be drinking tea. While tea has about ⅓ of the caffeine of coffee, it is going to keep you focused, and not trying to explain your plans to drop out and launch a startup to your friends.
The other most important reason why you should be using tea and not coffee in general, but particularly for cramming late into the night, is the difference in their caffeine profiles.
Coffee will get you very excited about what you are doing for somewhere between 3-6 hours, before leaving you with a terrible, headache-inducing crash. The caffeine crash from tea is significantly more gentle. Instead of relying purely of caffeine, tea contains other chemicals which are similar, but work slightly differently. Caffeine is a xanthine. Tea also contains other xanthines, such as theine and theobromine. How to pronounce these substances isn’t the important part. The important part is that these other xanthines which are like caffeine tend to have less of a crash than caffeine does, and instead leave your system slowly. This means that at about two in the morning, you’ll still be feeling that combination of alert and calm that comes from L-Theanine, caffeine, and these other xanthines, instead of grumbly about your headache and wanting desperately to go to bed.
The third reason why any person in a high-stress environment should switch from coffee to tea is acid. High levels of stress can cause an upset stomach. The high levels of acid found in coffee are only going to make that upset stomach worse, especially if you’re replacing breakfast with coffee because you’re bad at taking care of yourself. Because all three of these things tend to happen together, they can cause you a lot of
unnecessary pain and suffering. If you’re going to have a day which is so stressful that you’re skipping breakfast and getting a terrible stomach ache, pouring acidic coffee into your body is the last thing you want to do. Tea still has caffeine, but is significantly less acidic than coffee. Take five minutes in the morning, brew yourself some tea in one of these to-go tumblers, and stop feeling awful.
Okay, so what teas should I get?
Now that we’ve determined that you are going to take better care of yourself this semester, here are the teas that I think are going to be most useful to you. They’re the teas that I’m taking back to school with me myself, and if you buy them and leave them out somewhere, you’ll hopefully feel compelled to actually brew them, too. Here are my best tea recommendations for you college students.
Most tea has about ⅓ of the caffeine of coffee. Mate has about as much caffeine as coffee. The taste is somewhere between tea and coffee, as well, but the caffeine profile and acid levels are those of a tea. Mate does not, however, contain L-Theanine. This is because Mate comes from a different plant entirely than tea. It’s a great alternative to coffee, but a tea which is actually made from camellia sinensis will do a better job of keeping you focused.
Ginger is incredibly helpful for an upset stomach. If you’ve ever chewed those ginger candies, or eaten gingersnaps to handle that stress stomach, brewing a tea with ginger in it is an excellent no-calorie alternative. We don’t recommend brewing it alone, because the taste of pure ginger root is rather powerful (unless you have a head cold), but it can be mixed into other teas remarkably well. Ginger’s Island is as excellent caffeine-free fruit blend, which tempers the ginger flavor with lemongrass, rosehips, pineapple, coconut, apples and hibiscus.
Lemongrass and Rosehips
They’re both incredibly high in vitamin-C. Mix them into another tea, and hopefully you’ll still manage to make it to class when your entire hall has the flu. Rosehips have
a sort of fruity flavor, while lemongrass is much more, well, lemony, so which you should choose to mix into your tea depends on what tea you plan on mixing them into, and your own personal tastes.
This is the tea you should drink when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed about the concept of graduating, and having to find a job and decide what it is that you’re actually going to do with the rest of your life. Rooibos contains no caffeine, because it is from a South African plant which is similar to but not quite your traditional tea. Mothers of the Khoisan tribe used it to calm colicky infants. The caramel flavor makes it a little sweeter, so that you can use it to calm yourself as you panic completely about absolutely everything. Joking aside, it is a remarkably relaxing tea. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, and should therefore help with headaches, and combined with lemongrass, makes an excellent tea for when you're sick. Furthermore, if you decided that you don't like it, we carry 8 different flavors of rooibos, so you're bound to find something you like.
The most important thing about tea is that it brewing a new pot gives you an opportunity to get up from your desk, and take a five-minute break. Tea and coffee have entirely different philosophies behind them. While coffee tends to be about speed, and about getting more things done faster, tea has had centuries to develop elaborate rituals ranging from the Japanese tea ceremony to the English high tea. The point of these rituals is that you are taking a few moments to stop and appreciate the thing that you are drinking, not for its ability to help you do more things faster, and maybe get a good job someday, but to appreciate the moment that you are in, slow down, and enjoy. And if you’re the sort of person who tends to push yourself just a little too hard, that might actually be the thing you need the most.
If you’ve taken the time to read this entire post, we would like to thank you. You’re probably thinking about whether or not you want to actually go through with buying these teas. If you’re like me, you’re going to stress about it for the next few weeks. That simply isn’t helpful to anyone.
Now, go have a great college semester
--Aubrey at Good Life Tea
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