A Guide to the Perfect Tea for Every Time of Day

Whether you’re trying to cut back on that coffee addiction or you just want to expand your tea horizons, I’ve got the perfect tea for every occasion. Tea isn’t just for going to bed - it’s fast, easy (you only need water and a tea steeper), and you can find the perfect type for any time of the day.

  1. 1. Morning

    It’s difficult to wake up for that morning class, especially on cold mornings, so start your day off with something strong, dark, and caffeinated. The perfect choice: spiced mate. Mate, or friendship tea, is a traditional tea from Argentina. In some South American countries, this tea is shared as a symbol of friendship with everyone drinking from the same cup — but it’s just as delicious enjoyed alone on the way to class. The cinnamon and nutmeg taste of this brew will be sure to satisfy those PSL cravings, and it has just as much caffeine as coffee. You can even add cream to make it a latte, but sugar is unnecessary. 

    However, not everyone is a fan of mate - it’s strong and leans toward an earthy flavor if your blend doesn’t have a lot of extra spices. If this is the case, choose a classic Earl Grey. Earl Grey is sweet, fruity, and complex. If you’re in a rush and can’t steep loose leaf tea, which tends to be higher quality, find tea bags that are labeled “double bergamot;” otherwise you may be drinking a bland version of English Breakfast disguised as Earl Grey. If you have extra time in the morning, get fancy and make a London fog latte: Earl Grey tea brewed strong mixed with hot milk infused with lavender. 

  2. 2. During Class

    Though you should drink water throughout the day, iced tea can be a nice treat to drink during class. My favorite teas served cold are herbal teas filled with bits of fruit and flowers. You should find one that speaks to you and your tastes, but one of my personal favorites is a tropical hibiscus punch. The hibiscus gives the tea a lovely pink color while also making it slightly acidic, so there’s no need to add extra lemon. Speaking of beautifully colored tea, another one of my favorite iced teas is a raspberry herbal tea with princess pea flowers - it’s naturally blue! And when you add extra acid like lemon juice, it turns from blue to purple to pink. Having an iced tea maker or even ice isn’t always feasible in college, but neither of those are necessary to make iced tea. All you need is a little planning. You can cold brew your tea the night before in your fridge; just be sure to add more tea leaves than usual to avoid weak tea. You can even buy a water bottle with a steeper just for that purpose.

  3. 3. Early Afternoon/Post-Class

    After a full day of classes, it’s time for something energizing with just a hint of caffeine - mint green tea. Green tea is full of antioxidants, and it also has just the right amount of caffeine to kickstart your brain for homework without keeping you up all night. The mint is also sure to make you feel fresh and revitalized.

    Need something a little stronger to stave off those coffee withdrawals? Brew a cup of fruit infused black tea. The fruit will add natural sweetness and leave your palate feeling fresh, and black tea is the tea type (out of options such as white, herbal, green, etc.) most similar to coffee.

  4. 4. Evening

    When faced with the pressure and stress of college, I find myself constantly craving something sweet. Instead of stuffing my face with cookies (though I still do that sometimes!), I brew myself a cup of flavored black tea, specifically chocolate black tea. It tastes sweet and indulgent without any added sugar, perfect for crushing those sweet cravings. Sensitive to caffeine at night? Try my favorite cocoa tea, made from cocoa bean husks. It’s intensely chocolatey without any caffeine; it’s like hot chocolate, but in tea form!

  5. 5. Before Bed

    Most of the teas I've recommended have been energizing, but before going to bed, it's time to pick a tea to help you unwind and destress. The classic nighttime tea is chamomile. Mild, slightly minty (great when you’re about to brush your teeth), and herbal, without any caffeine. Some even claim that chamomile helps with anxiety. Double up on those sleepy time vibes by finding a blend that includes lavender. Who wouldn’t want to end their day with the taste and aroma of lavender and daisies?

Tea is the perfect drink for whatever your mood is. Whether it’s time to hit the books or time to hit the hay, a steamy cup is sure to be the perfect accompaniment. Every cup of tea will be a good one; just be sure to set a timer while you’re steeping! No one wants to shamefully pour out that cold, forgotten cup of tea.