Sunday, 3 November 2013

Teas to Drink When You're Tired

     Long work days, sleepless nights, college exams, high school stress; whatever the case, we all have an excuse to be tired. Whoever says that they never have a morning where they just can't seem to wiggle out from under the covers is a filthy liar. Everybody needs a quick stimulator once and a while. And of you're like me, someone who is turned off by the harsh taste of coffee or the jittery effects of energy drinks, tea is always a safe alternative.
     The question to ask however, is which tea to drink? Not all teas are caffeinated, and the ones that are might not have enough to do the trick. And if you are someone who is trying to cut down on their caffeine intake, it can be hard to find something that can still energise you on those few sluggish days. 
     I'm going to be straight with you, there is no simple answer when it comes to caffeine in teas. There are so many different factors involved in this particular subject, and half of those are based on the actual growth of the plant in which the leaves are taken from. Things such as the amount of sunlight, the richness of the soil, and the time of harvest can affect the percentage of caffeine in the leaves, which is tough for production companies to have control over. Steeping times and preservation methods can also influence this ratio. But there are some general standards, that you can use when selecting which tea to put in your morning travel mug.
      In the four main tea categories, typically, black tea contains the most caffeine, followed by oolong tea, which has more than green tea, with white tea containing the least concentrated amount. Nonetheless, these are just guidelines and can vary significantly. For instance, loose leaf black tea can consist of anywhere from 15-110mg of caffeine per 8oz cup of tea; with oolong ranging from 10-50mg, green 5-40mg, and white 5-25mg. 
      Herbal tisanes are almost always entirely caffeine-free; with the exception of Yerba Mate. This Argentinian tisane, Yerba Mate (also known as simply 'Mate') is famous for its incredibly high caffeine content, anywhere from 85-150mg per cup. Some Mate teas can even have more caffeine in it than certain brands of coffee. Along with the caffeine benefits, this drink is also a great source of antioxidants, so on top of keeping you awake, it just makes you feel better. 
        Matcha is also a great picker-upper. Jam-packed with antioxidants and vitamins, this heroic green tea can do wonders for morning moral. It as well has a substantial caffeine amount, around 70mg per cup,  which is around 75% of the amount in an average cup of coffee. 
        Now if you are not looking for anything containing a lot of caffeine, I would suggest a white tea or some rooibos. Both contain great amounts of vitamins and nutrients which can help to keep you perky throughout the day. If you are feeling drained of energy, try and find something with walnuts, pecans or any other tasty nuts for that extra burst of protein. A cool minty flavour also has magical uplifting qualities so a nice peppermint herbal tea might help. And if none of these suggestions are doing the trick exactly, try putting them over ice! Cooler temperatures are very effective in stimulating and essentially waking up the brain. 
        Play around with these different options and find a tea that works for you. Most morning I go for a simple cup of Earl Grey, but sometimes I like to branch out with a tropical mate or spicy oolong, it just depends on the days I suppose. What do you use to get you through the day? 


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