The Drink List: Personal Favorites to Help You Get Through The Semester

“One last push. You’re almost there,” are familiar words we hear now that we have passed the halfway mark. But, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. At this particular moment in the semester, burnout and exhaustion are common. Finding free time can feel like a rarity, which makes it difficult to re-energize yourself. I think that looking at little things can give us the boost we need, and can be as simple as the drinks we have in our porcelain cups each day. If we find our eyes drooping during class, stressed by just looking at our documents, or excited about what the day is going to bring there is always some drink that can reinforce that mood or even make our day better. As we approach the final stages of the semester, here is a compilation of drinks I enjoy and hope you will taste to sweeten everything up. 

two cups of hot chocolate on table being held Photo by Jonathan J. Castellon from Unsplash

1. Coffee 

I have only been drinking coffee for a couple of years. Before I was one of those people who didn’t like it and thought that I would never drink it, but thanks to Tim Horton’s French Vanilla I realized that coffee could be sweet too, which changed my perspective on it. For the entire semester, to get me through my Zoom meetings and my afternoon (early morning where I am) classes I always need to have a cup of coffee beside me. So far, my favorite coffee drink is a basic three-in-one coffee that has this sweet vanilla flavor, as well as the bitter and sweet Vietnamese coffee, taking it either hot or cold. When I am sleepy, this is definitely what keeps me going so that I can participate, listen, and know what is happening in class. So, if you need caffeine in your system, take a mug and pour some coffee to help you get through it. 

2. Teh Tarik 

If coffee is not your cup of tea or you want something that is lower in caffeine. A good alternative is tea. Teh Tarik is from Singapore or Malaysia, it has this light brown color and sweet flavor. In my freshman year, one of my friends gave me this thin green packet and told me to try Teh Tarik. One day, I opened the packet and poured it into my ceramic black mug, I poured hot water from my Keurig machine and mixed it together. I took a sip from the steaming hot cup, and thought, “this is so good!” After that, I kept on thinking about how delicious it was and how that cup of tea felt so comforting due to how delicious it is. I wanted more, although I didn't buy the packet. However, there are still days when I think about drinking it. On top of this, that was a ready-to-make packet, imagine how delicious it would taste if it was made fresh. If you are interested in trying it, there are a lot of brands of this Southeast Asian tea on Amazon

3. English Breakfast Tea

Another great tea drink is a classic black tea called English Breakfast Tea. You can have this with milk, sugar, or the alternative to sugar, honey. With the milk, it makes the tea feel a little bit thick, but not too thick that it tastes foamy, which makes it feel rich and amazing. Although it does have caffeine, unlike taking coffee, sometimes it makes me feel less guilty for drinking too much of it and doesn’t make me too hyper or anxious. I think that the first time that I had this tea was when we were on the train to Scotland from London, I poured English Breakfast Tea and drank it. This made me obsessed with not only this type of tea but with tea in general. This is one of my favorite types of teas and I will drink any brand of English Breakfast Tea, whether it be Stash, Twinings, or another brand that I have yet to try. For this type of tea, I only drink it hot, and when I don’t feel like I need a coffee break yet but I need something to boost up my energy, this is definitely my go-to. 

4. Milk Tea

If you are looking for something fun and exciting to drink, then the type of tea for you is Milk Tea, otherwise known as Bubble or Boba Tea. This Taiwanese drink has various flavors, such as Brown Sugar, Thai, Taro, Matcha, Wintermelon, and the classic Black tea. Depending on whether you want it or not, milk tea comes with chewy, delicious, and sweet tapioca pearls. I prefer this drink cold and can quickly finish this drink, even in cold weather (which I have done before). However, a fun fact that I learned from a friend, and did try once, is that you can have your milk tea hot — it is still delicious and great during Winter if you need something to warm you up. If you get this as a cold drink, it can be refreshing and can put you in a feel-good mood, especially on a stressful day. They can even be addicting. If you want one, Amazon sells various Milk Tea kits where you can make it yourself, or you can head down to the nearest milk tea shop and order one. 

5. Matcha Latte

Not everyone is a coffee or tea lover, so another alternative that I enjoy is Japan’s Matcha Latte. I don’t remember how I was introduced to this drink, but after drinking this, like most of the drinks on the list, it was something that I enjoyed and loved. This green, creamy, and milky drink can go either hot or cold, depending on how you like it, and can range anywhere from sweet to bitter, depending on how much Matcha is put inside. I think this can make a difference because if you put too much, it can be something that can taste strong and powerful. Personally, if you are getting a Matcha Latte (the packet they sell or even the drink) in a shop such as Starbucks, it is definitely on the sweeter side and isn’t as strong. With this drink, sometimes I do need sugar. However, most of the time, I don’t need sugar as it is already perfect the way it is. 

6. Green Tea 

On the other hand, if you are looking for something that is more on the relaxing side a great drink to have by your side is Green Tea. Surprisingly, this tea still has caffeine but it can definitely put you in a zen mood, especially if you are anxious and worried about something. For me, what I find to be relaxing about Green Tea is that the scent hits you with this light, floral, yet mild scent first, somewhat similar to Jasmine Tea, and so when I drink it, it feels so relaxing. The taste might not be as sweet as the other teas I have mentioned, but it just has this soothing effect on me. If you are looking for something to wind down, or are having a hard time sleeping, I would say that this is the perfect tea for you. Although, even if this is caffeinated you can even have them decaffeinated. One of my personal favorite green teas, which happens to also be decaf, is Tazo’s Decaf Lotus Blossom Green Tea, which I would drink if I ever wanted something that can lighten my spirits, and if it happened to be in the dining hall. 

7. Hot Chocolate 

Not everyone is a fan of Matcha since it can taste too strong for them. Another option that you might like to try is a classic, a childhood favorite, and a Christmas favorite: Hot Chocolate. I loved this as a child and my favorite brand was Swiss Miss. When the winds at home were so strong that they made the air chilly, I always wanted a cup of hot chocolate which was very comforting. At the same time, I am a huge chocolate lover, so I would give any excuse just to eat or drink chocolate. The best part about hot chocolate is that it is accessible. You can either melt chocolate in milk in a pot over a stove, grab a chocolate bar and put in a microwave with warm milk and mix it together, or buy a K-cup or a pack of hot chocolate powder or even a hot chocolate spoon. If you want some goodness in a cup but don’t want the caffeine as well, taking a nice warm sip of hot chocolate can ease up your day. If you have a strong memory of drinking hot chocolate, maybe it might even evoke those images in your head that can bring you back to those good times. 

8. Fruit Smoothies 

If you are someone who tends to live on the healthier side, don’t worry. I got your back. For me, a Fruit Smoothie is the way to go. For this, you just need a few ingredients such as milk, sugar, fruits, and an extra ingredient of your choice, if you want. However, if the fruit is already ripe and you want to put something extra such as peanut butter, chocolate, or even another fruit then you don’t really need sugar. You can have this any time of day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert and it can put you in a great mood. I am currently on a diet and sometimes I crave something sweet or food with refined sugars, which I am not supposed to eat. When I have a Banana Peanut Butter (it’s organic) Smoothie, which I have been drinking recently, it satisfies my cravings and makes me feel great when I drink it because I know that I am not disobeying my diet. Truly a great alternative and whenever I think about it it makes me really excited. If you have one this will definitely make you feel refreshed and healthy (if you do opt to make it one). Put in the blender, blend it, and after a few minutes, you will have a fun and tasty smoothie. Jumpstart your day with one today. 

9. Milk 

Another childhood classic and something that you can have either hot or cold is milk. As adults, we might have outgrown milk, but from time to time it is always nice to have something that reminds you of childhood and feeling like a little kid again with the milk mustache. By drinking milk, we get nutrients, such as calcium, that we need which can make our bones healthy and strong, a line that we were told repeatedly as a child. Back on campus, when I can, I would have chocolate milk and loved drinking it, even if I wasn’t supposed to—sometimes you have to break the rules to satisfy your cravings. Besides this, I also heard that drinking warm milk can help you fall asleep, so if you are having trouble sleeping try it and see if it works. However, if you are lactose intolerant, like me, that doesn’t mean that you have to stop drinking milk altogether, nowadays there are so many options: Oat Milk (I love this and highly recommend), Almond Milk, Rice Milk, Soy Milk, and the good old fashioned Lactose-Free Milk. As always, take your milk as you like it and enjoy your day. 

10. Water 

Lastly, we need eight glasses of this every day, and if you are anything like me you might be bad at it and need to put more effort into it. If you guessed water then you’re right! From all the drinks on this list, I do believe that this is the most important item. It may be the last but it is most certainly not the least. Even if we take a few glasses a day, it will keep us hydrated throughout the day, whether we are fatigued, stressed, or exhausted. Don’t ever forget to take a glass of water, if all the drinks on this list at one point still make you thirsty, drink water. It’s time to rehydrate and don’t ignore it. It provides us with the minerals that we need, and during this time it can help boost up our immune system to fight anything that comes our way. Before I go to sleep, I always have a glass or two of water, depending on how thirsty I am. It is the simplest drink on the list but it is the mightiest. 

No matter what you are doing, where you are, or how you are feeling, set the mood of your day and treat yourself with a drink.