A completely unbiased ranking of excellent teas this winter

Now that the snow has fallen and the bitter wind is eminent, hot tea becomes a necessity

elise-kim-tea

Tazo Chai Tea packs some of the biggest punches in terms of tea flavor.

Elise Kim | Cavalier Daily

With January beckoning in formidable morning chills and frosty air, there is nothing more satisfying than gazing at the falling snowflakes from your place next to the crackling fireplace with a freshly brewed cup of tea in hand.

Sounds nice, right? I wish this was our reality as well. But as University students, if classes are still on even when the roads are slippery enough to be hazardous to pedestrians, you can catch us all begrudgingly making our way to class.

As the cold inevitably penetrates through your jacket, there is no better solution to warm you right back up than feeling the warmth of a hot cup of tea flooding through your body. As a self-acclaimed tea fanatic, I have collected and ranked my top three favorite teas — perfectly reminiscent of the aforementioned fireplace scene — in the hopes that these teas will make your wintery journeys around Grounds more bearable. 

First, I want to give a shout-out to peppermint tea. Perfect for those mornings when you are drearily stumbling around to get ready, this tea’s sharp accents are sure to wake you up with a burst of freshly-brewed minty authenticity. For a particularly strong peppermint taste, I would recommend steeping some of Celestial Seasonings Peppermint Herbal Tea bags. If you prefer a more subtle note of peppermint, I would go for Stash’s Peppermint Herbal tea instead.

I could not compile such a list without including one of my personal favorites — chai tea. The warm spices hit your nose first, already filling you with a flooding warmth of chai in all its goodness. I personally take to Tazo Chai Tea bags. Even though they are naturally decaffeinated, the cinnamon and cardamom are more than enough to boost your energy for the day. In my opinion, Tazo packs some of the biggest punches in terms of its teas’ strong flavor, and this bag is no different. Each component — cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and spice — is equally discernible in this little tea bag.

For this last spot on my list, I must give it up to a more obscure option but notably refreshing all the while. Not many people are aware of the existence of Korean barley tea, pronounced with romanization as “boricha.” Like some of the best herbal teas, it is composed of simple ingredients. In this case, roasted barley and water is all you need for this mild cup of tea.

You can find this tea at any Asian mart in the tea section, order it on Amazon for convenience purposes or simply brew it yourself from scratch. Though it would take a little while longer — upwards of 15 minutes to make it DIY-style — Korean Barley Tea is definitely an option I would recommend for both tea drinkers and non-tea drinkers alike this winter season. Its mild, nutty and slightly sweet flavor is both commendable and unique. This tea is most definitely one of my favorites.

Like most teas, the health benefits for this tea are notable as well. Not only is it used by some Koreans for ease of digestion, particularly after meals, but it is also used to help with weight loss. Its iconic and calm earthy smell soothes the mind, bringing with it hints of a warm and homey atmosphere — perfect for those days where you find yourself simply missing home.

Opinions may vary, but if this wasn’t exactly your cup of tea — pun entirely intended — I still recommend you give a couple of these a try this month. Prepare to be enlightened in the best way possible.

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