Tea Recommendations from One Beginner to Another

As we all hope and carefully monitor our weather apps for the first sign of a chill in the temperatures, we start looking at recipes or new hot beverages to try. One beverage I’ve always wanted to find just one drink that I like is tea. There are so many different varieties and ways to prepare them that there’s bound to be at least one for everyone, right? 

I've begun my tea journey this summer. Here’s my advice for other’s who want to try tea but don’t know where to start, along with some of my favorite teas I’ve had so far.

Your tea preference really depends on if you’re coming from being a coffee drinker or a hot cocoa drinker, bitter or sweet preference. I have always been a hot cocoa person, so I was very skeptical on some teas. If you’re someone who likes slightly bitter drinks like coffee more than super sweet drinks like hot chocolate, then I would recommend starting off with a black tea. 

Black tea contains a higher amount of caffeine than other teas, so you’ll still get that caffeine satisfaction and. If it’s drunk black, or with a bit of sugar, it retains a bit of a bite to it that is reminiscent of the bitterness of coffee but not quite as intense, depending on how long it’s steeped. When trying black tea for the first time, I recommend adding just a dash of milk or creamer to the tea to give a little more of a rich, creamy texture. When it’s drunk with no additions, it can taste a lot like tea flavored water, which can take a bit of getting used to and be off-putting on the first try.

Lemon tea (just lemon, not lemon & ginger) has the bite and sourness of the lemon, so it tastes similar to lemonade that needs some more sugar added. This is great if you need something to keep you awake but you don’t want another drink with caffeine. My personal preference for lemon tea is to drink it plain, but if you can add a bit of sugar to it if needed.

Hibiscus tea is pretty interesting: the flavor can be very soothing for the throat, especially with cold/flu season coming around.  It’s also a cool flavor profile, as the beginning is sweetish and ends with a slight tang (reminiscent of a black tea tang but a little sweeter, almost metallic). When I drink hibiscus tea, I usually add some sugar since I have a giant sweet tooth.

The last tea that I recommend is peppermint tea. It reacts well with milk or cream, and they have a minty flavor that’s perfect to try at any time of the day (even after brushing your teeth.) Peppermint tea actually has a small portion of fluoride in it, which is really good for the health of your teeth. You’re not only enjoying the tea, but getting some benefit out of it health-wise.

Some last-minute advice: With lemon and hibiscus teas, I would warn against adding any milk or creamer. Some teas have a bit of an acidity to them, which reacts with the milk or creamer. One of the first times I had lemon tea I added milk as that was how I’d been having all my teas, and the milk curdled in my cup! While this is really gross, there isn’t any harm in drinking the tea still aside from the flavor souring slightly. Black and green teas are usually fine to add some kind of dairy product to, but if you want to be on the safe side, try doing a test cup.

Happy tea drinking, everyone!

[ photos courtesy of FitnessSpell and NutritionAdvance ]