Nothing says cozy like a cup of tea. Since making the snowy streets of Boston my new stomping grounds, I now enjoy more tea than ever before. Sure, I love tea… but you should love it too! Not only is unsweetened tea a fun alternative to water or coffee, but drinking tea is also associated with several health benefits, most notably, a decreased risk of cancer.
Black, green, white, and oolong teas all derive from the leaves of the Camellia plant, and contain the same beneficial polyphenols (health promoting, antioxidant compounds). They differ only in the various levels of processing undertaken. On the other hand, herbal teas and Red Rooibos teas are not derived from the Camilla plant, and so scientific studies touting the benefits of tea cannot be applied to these beverages. Also note that decaffeinated teas contain lower levels of flavonols, and therefore don’t offer the same antioxidant punch as their full strength counterparts. Because most teas contain less that half of the amount of caffeine than coffee, full strength tea is recommended. Nonetheless, decaffeinated, herbal and Rooibos teas are still healthy, plant-based beverages that contain varying levels of antioxidants and are a healthy alternative to sweetened beverages. To learn more about tea, I highly recommend this article.
Although I almost always have a large supply of no-frills green tea on hand, I also really enjoy flavored teas. Flavored teas are also a great way for non tea drinkers to ease their way into the wonderful world of tea, and are a tasty, calorie free alternative to other beverages. Here are my top picks:
Ginger Peach Black Tea (The Republic of Tea)
White Ayurvedic Chai Tea (Teavana)
Vanilla Rooibos (Tazo)
And for any tea lovers that find themselves in the Austin, Texas area, I highly recommend the following places:
The Tea Embassy
Enjoy a leisurely cup of tea in the charming Campbell-Miller house in downtown Austin. You can buy a variety of unique teas, as well as teapots and other tea accessories. Enjoy your tea at the bar, or on period furniture near the fireplace in this adorable, historic home. (P.S. Juliana- thanks for taking me here!)
The Steeping Room
This restaurant and tea lounge has a brunch that can’t be missed, as well as an excellent variety of teas. The menu is pleasing to both omnivores and vegans alike, and also boasts a large selection of attractive gluten free options.