Ditch Your Morning Coffee for These Healthy Tea Alternatives
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Getting going in the morning can be rough. It’s cold, we’re sleepy, and the most tempting thing to do is get back in bed. For at least half an hour we can feel like zombies moving aimlessly through our routine grunting and yawning as we go. In fact, the first thing many of us do is brew coffee. We learned the habit as children watching our parents put on a fresh pot and guzzling a cup in between getting us ready for school and getting themselves ready for work. Drinking coffee has been ingrained in our upbringing. For many of us, the smell of coffee alone wakes us right up. Yet perhaps there’s a better way to put some pep in your step to start your day. You can indulge in another hot or iced beverage to brighten your spirit. Allow me to welcome you to the wide world of tea that will give you the kick you want in the a.m. without shocking your system.
Since I was a kid I have been a tea drinker and started my journey with iced tea on hot summer days. To the bewilderment of my mother, I began requesting a cup of hot tea with a proper teacup and saucer at breakfast and after dinner. No doubt I must have picked up the habit after watching a British period drama. I definitely thought I was fancy. To this day, I have a solid tea time ritual in the morning. From earl grey to a matcha latte, I thoroughly enjoy a nice cup of tea any time and all the time.
Types of Tea
Tea comes in many different varieties and of course flavors. Let’s identify some you may already be familiar with. There’s black tea and green tea, which I’m sure you’ve indulged in a time or two. Think of your typical morning tea like Irish breakfast. Along with white tea and oolong, these round out your traditional or “true” teas.
Next, there are herbal infusions and grain teas. You can make tea out of roots like ginger and turmeric or even mushrooms which fall under the herbal category. I even enjoy tea made from dried flowers like hibiscus with rosehip. Don’t forget about fermented or aged teas like pu-erh and kombucha. Each tea goes through a different process of maturing and drying the leaf for drinking purposes or preparing the herbs.
Health Benefits of Tea
If there’s a magical elixir for warming your body, rich with antioxidants, and promoting calm and mindfulness, tea is totally it. With tea, I never get the morning jitters. It’s got a third less caffeine than coffee and even that varies depending on the type of tea. With each type of tea, whether black, green, herbal, or all of the aforementioned your body will reap the benefits. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Dandelion root tea: A great coffee substitute. It gives you the look of coffee and the prebiotic properties support gut health. It also may help with detoxing.
Tulsi or holy basil tea: Used in Ayurveda for centuries, this herb possesses antibacterial and antiseptic properties. This tea may also aid in relaxation since the flavonoids in it may help reduce cortisol levels, also known as the stress hormone.
Reishi tea: This mushroom tea supports your immune system, may help against fatigue, and has potential cancer-fighting properties.
Peppermint tea: Cooling and warming at the same time, peppermint is packed with menthol. If you’re feeling congested, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in the menthol can help open up your nasal cavity and bring relief from the stuffiness.
Matcha: Oh, this one gets me excited every time. Matcha is a powdered green tea, but did you know that it is full of chlorophyll? Yes! Because it’s grown in the shade, matcha has a high concentration of chlorophyll. Ceremonial grade matcha has six times the amount of chlorophyll than regular green tea. And what else has this much chlorophyll? Spinach, peas, various greens, and spirulina. You’re basically drinking your greens, detoxing, improving gut health, and giving yourself a boost of energy when you have matcha.
Ways to Prepare Your Tea
Loose leaf or in a teabag. Brewed in hot water or at room temperature overnight. On ice? Add milk. There are so many different ways to prepare tea.
Because your tea is mostly water, make the quality of your water a top priority. Use filtered or spring water when at all possible. Also, water temperature and steeping time will vary for each tea. Pay close attention to the directions that accompany your leaves or herbs. You don’t want to steep a green tea for more than three minutes in my opinion and avoid scalding hot or boiling water. The same goes for yerba mate.
When it comes to loose leaf vs. a teabag, do what feels best for you. A tea infuser is my favorite. You can opt for a glass infuser for multiple cups of tea or a pour-over style for a single cup.
When you’re on the go, teabags may be more convenient.
Although most tea purists will tell you to keep it simple, I say why not have fun with your tea? Add honey to help soothe your sore throat on a cold day. Make your tea a latte by adding steamed and frothy milk or a dairy-free alternative.
Matcha lattes are a staple for me as are golden turmeric lattes.
Lately, I’ve been making a reishi and cacao latte with coconut milk as an alternative to mocha. Or you can brew your tea at double strength then pour over ice. You can even try your luck at creating your own tea infusions. Have fun with it.
Isn’t tea quite amazing?! I know it may be hard to say goodbye to your morning cup of Joe. Just think about the variety, versatility, and health benefits of tea to help you kick the habit.