A tea-licious alternative for energy

(Graphic by Wade Thompson)

(Graphic by Wade Thompson)

Everyone notices when someone is holding a cup of coffee from Starbucks. But the little tea bag labels that have been popping out of the travel mugs have become increasingly more noticeable. Tea culture has been evolving, creating a lifestyle culture that’s been increasing within the student body.

“More and more people are realizing the expense and health concerns related to drinking too much coffee. People are now turning towards tea while trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle,” said Annie Bender, the associate manager of DAVIDsTEA in Uptown Waterloo.

Aside from the many social rituals that tea is used for, the health benefits are too promising to ignore.

Unlike coffee and lattes, tea leaves contain minimal calories and are filled with flavonoid antioxidants which are known to fight free radicals: a chemical known to cause damage and inflammation to the body.

“The amazing thing about tea is that people forget how diverse it is. There are non-traditional teas and for any ailment you have, you can usually find a tea that would be of benefit,” Bender noted. It’s much easier to have a cup of tea and measure the amount of caffeine intake as oppose to when going for a cup of coffee, even if it’s just a small cup.

The variety of teas can be categorized as to whether or not they are derived from the camellia plant, such as white, green, black and oolong tea. These tea leaves are filled with antioxidants and are often fermented. This means that the longer the leaves are fermented, the higher the caffeine content.

Teas from the camellia plant are excellent cups to have as a breakfast beverage or an afternoon pick-me-up without the jittery side effects experienced when drinking coffee.

Not all teas are caffeinated. Herbal and rooibos teas do not contain camellia plant leaves but are instead are infused with fruits and flowers.

Specialty stores such as DAVIDsTEA supply more than just a plethora of flavours for tea fanatics. The availability of accessories further enhance the tea experience, making it easier for people to try out different types of tea.

“There are travel mugs that keep your mug warm all day with a press in it which allows you to brew your own tea when you put the leaves at the bottom,” Bender explained. The possibilities of tea are endless, from being able to ice tea as a cold beverage, to incorporating tea leaves into cocktails and gourmet cooking.

“People also appreciate the culture of sitting down and having a cup of tea—it’s a nice companion. It may be an ancient ritual, but it has become an integral part of human society,” Bender added.

While holding those little teal green cups may seem like a new trend that many students on campus have bought into, the results and acts of drinking tea shows that it is complementary to our health.

Next time you spend an all-nighter writing a paper, think about a breakfast tea or a flavoured green tea as a nice pick-me-up the next morning. I’m sure Tim Horton’s would understand.

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