Awhile back I wrote about how I prepare coffee at home. Now, I love coffee, and it's hard to admit this, but I think it's been contributing to what has become a constant dull roar of anxiety in my life.
Last week, I decided to try something different. I boxed up all my coffee gear, and resolved to make coffee a special treat for when I'm out at cafes, and to make tea at home instead—especially first thing in the morning when usually I'd down a cup of Aeropress on an empty stomach.
So far, the results have been overwhelmingly positive. I've noticed that I'm more present during my 7:30am workouts, and can drink green tea on an empty stomach without getting those horrid "coffee gurgles." I've also noticed that I crave carbohydrates much less often, which has a compounding positive effect on my mood since I'm not constantly spiking my blood sugar levels.
Because of my newfound appreciation for tea, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite varieties.
Sencha is the most popular tea in Japan, comprising about 80 percent of the tea produced there. It has a somewhat grassy taste and a cloudy, green-gold color. I love sencha for the fact I can drink seemingly unlimited quantities of it and not get jittery or anxious. That's because sencha, like all green teas, contains theanine, an amino acid analogue that counteracts some of the negative effects of caffeine. It also contains significantly less caffeine than a cup of coffee, meaning it can be consumed in much higher quantities than coffee. Additionally, green tea isn't acidic like coffee, having a pH between 7 and 10, with coffee having a pH of around 5.
Literally translating to "coarse tea leaves from the Upright Mountains", lapsang souchong is a variety of black tea which is smoke-dried over pinewood fires, giving it a distinct smoky taste that I think is reminiscent of a fine scotch.
Because of the smoky flavor and higher caffeine content when compared to sencha, I've been drinking lapsang souchong in the mornings. Its smoky flavor is a delight for a reforming coffee drinker, since it gives the impression that you're still imbibing something, erm, rugged.
Cinnamon spice rooibos
And finally, for those glorious hours before bedtime, I love to relax with a cup of my favorite herbal blended tea variety. If you're in the Portland area, both Townshends Tea Company and Tea Chai Te have similar blends: Rooibos Cinnamon Spice and Rooibos Market Spice, respectively.
I love these teas because they taste like, well, Christmas. They're incredibly warming, naturally sweet, and you can drink as many cups as you have time for. I like to think it's a great non-alcoholic substitute for mulled wine in the autumn and winter months.