I came to college with four different types of tea, three mugs, and an adorable manaTEA shaped strainer. Don’t get me wrong, coffee is great, but nothing beats the relaxation of a nice hot cup of tea. As temperatures fall and finals loom ahead, use these tips to brew up a hot cup of calm.

There are seven main types of tea that come from all around the world. Green tea, white tea, oolong tea, and black tea have their origins in Asia, specifically China. They’re actually all the same plant, just used differently. Roobios, which is naturally caffeine-free, comes from South Africa. Lastly, and my personal favorite, yerba mate comes from South America.

Green Tea

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Dyan Khor

Green tea has a fresh, grassy taste. Lower temperatures are important for keeping this tea from being nasty and bitter. Rinsing the leaves is also suggested to reduce bitterness, but if you’re using bagged tea, isn’t that helpful. My personal favorite solution is a big spoonful of honey.

Green tea should be brewed at 175ºF, which is a little below boiling. If you just have a microwave, try heating your water for 90 seconds, although you might have to play around with it for a while to get the right temperature. This tea only needs to brew for 45 seconds to a minute. Matcha is a type of dried green tea.

White Tea

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Meredith Simmons

White tea has a very mild, slightly sweet taste, and is often paired with fruit flavors for this reason. It also has the lowest caffeine content of the traditional teas, at 15 mg. White tea should also be brewed at 175ºF, but unlike green tea it should be brewed for four to five minutes. No matter how long you let it steep, it will never get the bitterness that green tea can sometimes have. 

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is made by slightly fermenting tea leaves, though not to the point you can get a buzz. There is a wide range in flavor but they’re usually sweet, fragrant, and strong. They should be brewed at 195ºF (about two minutes in the microwave) and steeped for three minutes. Oolong comes from the term wu lung, meaning black dragon, so you meet your morning with a cup of badass.

Black Tea

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Caitlin Wolper

Black tea is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of tea. Black tea is strong and earthy. If you’re a coffee drinker, this is probably the closest you’re going to get flavor-wise to a cup of joe. Like oolong tea, it should be brewed for three to four minutes at 195ºF. American iced tea (not the rapper) is usually some form of black tea.

Roobios Tea

Roobios is sweet, smoky, and mild flavored. It should be steeped in boiling water (this one should be pretty easy to figure out in the microwave) for five to six minutes. It’s also an unusual bright reddish orange color from the plant it comes from, so it makes a visually satisfying substitute for the blood of your enemies.

Yerba mate

It’s flavor by itself is light, bitter, and slightly astringent so it’s often blended with other teas or served with sweetener for the new drinker. I have a mate chai that I absolutely love. This one has the highest caffeine content of all the teas at 70 mg, so maybe don’t drink it before bed. It should be brewed at boiling for five to six minutes. If you don’t have a yerba mate gourd with a bombilla, or filtered drinking straw, a mug works well.

Herbal Tea

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Alex Weiner

Herbal teas come in too many flavors to actually discuss, but some of my favorites are chamomile or cranberry apple. They should also be brewed at boiling for five to six minutes, but steep times may vary from tea to tea. Most of them are also caffeine-free, and have purported health benefits.

I’m no expert on tea blends or tea as a health choice, but I can say that I always feel calmer with a warm, comforting cup of tea in front of me. Hopefully you can now explore the wide range of hot deliciousness there is to offer, or at least know which bag to reach for when you pull an all-nighter.