The guide to your best cup of tea

A cup for any occasion

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Tea is an alternative to coffee that is delicious, hot or iced, with or without additional flavors.

Sadie Goodman | Cavalier Daily

As the leaves begin to change and the temperature starts to drop, there's nothing like a warm drink to sip on the way to class. Coffee is great but expensive, and too much of it can give you the jitters. A great substitute that is cost-effective, delicious and low-calorie is tea. I’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to your perfect cup of tea and included a few of my favorite types and suggestions.

Brewing 

The traditional kettle on the stove method is foolproof, and always results in a flavorful, well-steeped cup. The whistle of the boiling water is so satisfying. The only problem is very few college students have access to a kettle. This method also takes quite a while when accounting for boiling, steeping and cooling time so it is less than optimal for those in a rush. 

Another easy alternative is the microwave. Just pour the desired amount of water in a microwave safe mug and pop it in without the tea bag for 30-60 seconds. But be careful, the mug may be quite hot when the microwave is done, so I’d advise leaving the cup in place with the door open while you steep your tea. 

The last and most convenient method, if you have access to it, is brewing the water in a Keurig. Just add your desired amount of water — leaving the K-Cup holder empty — and hot, ready to drink water is minutes away. The Keurig method is convenient and has a much lower risk for mouth and hand burns than the kettle or microwave method.

Favorite Teas

Tea can work as a substitute for coffee, a calming relaxant, mealtime drink or a stand-in for bored snacking. My favorite tea for energizing is Yogi Tea’s Green Tea Energy. This delicious and fresh tasting green tea comes with 16 tea bags per box and provides a nice, anxiety-free energy boost in the morning. I love this tea because it can help keep your energy levels up if you have a cup in the evening without keeping you awake all night. I enjoy this tea with a little squeeze of lemon. This tea is also nice with some honey to soothe a sore throat. 

Celestial Seasonings Chamomile tea is the perfect drink to sip as you unwind from a stressful day. This caffeine free tea is floral and delicately sweet. The Celestial Seasonings box comes with 20 bags and no strings or tags in order to eliminate unnecessary waste.

Ginger and mint teas are great digestive aids. Yogi Tea Lemon Ginger tea is full of zest and robust ginger flavor. This tea goes well with sweet foods as it leaves a quite rich ginger taste in your mouth. Organic Traditional Medicinals Fresh Spearmint Tea is helpful to the digestive system and promotes clear, healthy skin. This tea is mild, crisp and leaves little aftertaste, and it goes well with fresh meals like pesto pasta or a green salad.  

I’m a habitual bored snacker — I have to be eating or drinking something when I’m studying, or I get nothing done. I love a bright, citrusy, flavorful tea for a studying pick me up. My two favorites are Tazo Tea Wild Sweet Orange and Bigelow I Love Lemon herbal teas. These teas contain no caffeine and have a fresh, sweet flavor. I always pop a few bags in my backpack and bring them to the library. The coffee vending machine on floor two of Clemons dispenses free cups of hot water so you can make your tea in the library whenever you desire. 

Add-ons

Tea is delicious when left alone, but a little extra flavor can help customize your cup. I love adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or a packet of True Lemon crystallized lemon. True Lemon is a convenient pack of natural crystallized lemon flavor that you can take with you on the go. I also add this to water to make it a little more interesting. One packet is equivalent to one normal sized lemon wedge.

I also love adding honey to my tea when I have a sore throat or stuffy nose. The honey is incredibly soothing especially with a green or camomile tea. Tea also helps hydrate you so it is a much better drink than coffee when you’re feeling sick. 

Milk is a great addition to Chai teas or black teas like English Breakfast. I add a splash of cold milk to my teas in order to cool them to drinking temperature immediately. Milk can be a great addition to some teas, but be cautious when adding milk to fruity herbal teas, especially hibiscus tea, because they are quite acidic and can curdle the milk.

Tea is a great, refreshing drink that has so many benefits. It is also somewhat cheaper than coffee and ridiculously easy to make. It is delicious, hot or iced, with or without additional flavors and one box will last you weeks. 

Sadie Goodman is a Food Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com

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