I often find myself on a rainy day sitting in my room, listening to Spotify's "my life is a movie" playlist, and burning my favorite Capri scented candle. I will sit and enjoy the moment, but then soon after realize that something is missing. That something always happens to be a mug filled with some freshly-brewed tea to warm my hands. I drink around six cups of various types of tea everyday. I will often begin the day with an earl grey tea in the morning, then a green tea for the afternoon, and end the night with chai. My days feel incomplete without a single cup of tea. My first cup of tea helps me get out of bed in the morning and my last cup of tea is what helps me wind down right before I go to sleep.

With the rain briefly returning back to Berkeley, I thought this would be the ideal time to recommend some of my all time favorite teas to drink that help set the mood for any time of the day. Whether that be watching a movie during the weekend, helping you get through midterm season, or needing some motivation to turn in that last minute assignment, you can never go wrong with a cup of tea. 

1. English Breakfast 

Casey Dai

It might be because "breakfast" is in its name, but I find that a fresh cup of English breakfast tea is a great choice for the morning. It provides just the right amount of caffeine to get my brain stimulated and ready to take on my first task of the day. It is a black tea that tastes rich, soothing, slightly nutty, completed with a hint of citrus. For the caffeine to have the greatest kick, drink it plain. But, if you are yearning for a trip to England, add some cream and sugar and pair it with a type of bread, or buttery scone.

#SpoonTip: If you want to make some homemade, quick, and easy chai, add some freshly ground cardamom pods, a teaspoon of granulated sugar, and a splash of steamed milk. 

2. Earl Grey

Casey Dai

Another morning favorite to sip while getting ready for the day, earl grey is like English breakfast with more character. Similarly, it is a black tea infused with bergamot which gives it that citrus, floral, earthy flavor. I find that unlike other types of teas, earl grey can easily be enjoyed at all times of the day. It does the job and provides that caffeine boost needed for the day. But, the floral, fruity flavors also do a great job at helping you focus while you work on various tasks. The scent and flavor is calming, reassuring, and a great motivator to maintain concentration. I find that I am the most focused on my assignments while enjoying earl grey and it has become my everyday companion especially during midterm season. 

3. Chai 

Casey Dai

I fell in love with the flavors of chai over eight years ago as a popular fan of Starbuck's chai latte, and I have been nearly as obsessed with it ever since. Playing along with the trend of various types of black teas, chai is another member of this family. Chai originated in India and its flavors are the most diverse out of the three, being enhanced with flavors of licorice from star anise and cardamom, warm cinnamon, cloves, and a hint of spice from fresh ginger. It is traditionally enjoyed with steamed milk and sugar to taste. Chai is aromatic, has full-bodied flavor, and feels like a warm hug. I prefer to enjoy chai without any additions so that I can get the most out of its variety of flavors. My favorite time to drink chai is while winding down for bed since every sip makes you feel like you are sitting by a warm fire in the midst of a snowstorm. 

#SpoonTip: Try my favorite tea of all time, Bigelow's Vanilla Chai to give that feeling of burning your favorite candle. 

4. Green 

Casey Dai

My family has been big fans of green tea for as long as I can remember. Ever since they read about all of its health benefits, they began to drink it so often that we even have a hot water dispenser in our kitchen. The nutty, warm, subtle, floral, light flavors of green tea are an ideal cup of tea to make while searching for a pick-me-up while needing to get through watching the rest of your lectures. Green tea is perfect since its flavors and caffeine content are not nearly as strong as black tea, while providing just the energy boost that chamomile or peppermint cannot offer, making it ideal for mid-day enjoyment.

#SpoonTip: If you enjoy the flavors of green tea, opt for matcha, which is a type of powder made from finely ground green tea leaves, that provide just as much caffeine as coffee does without giving you the jitters.

5. Peppermint

Casey Dai

The first type of tea that I had ever drank was peppermint and it soon incorporated itself occasionally into my daily routine. It tastes exactly the way it sounds—minty, fresh, and light. If you prefer non-caffeinated beverages, peppermint is a great choice with full-bodied flavor while offering a robust alternative to chamomile to help keep you alert and calm in the evening. Peppermint is known to help enhance concentration and is also a good tea to drink to soothe an upset stomach. Peppermint can be enjoyed with a late-night chocolate snack with the flavors of both complementing each other well as seen in Thin Mints and Andes Chocolate Mints.

6. Chamomile

Casey Dai

Earlier this semester, I decided to take a break from caffeine and deviated from my normal nightly chai to chamomile, discovering it to be a refreshing substitute. Chamomile is the mildest out of the different types of teas and for that reason is the best type of tea to help you drift asleep. Its subtle, light sweetness, floral flavors can help ease any anxiety and provide a refreshed mindset for the following day. Each sip of chamomile provides warmth, is the most hydrating out of the teas due to its lack of caffeine, and is just what is needed while reading a book before bed with the sound of the rain falling on your window. What makes chamomile such a popular nightly tea is that it can be enjoyed practically 'til midnight and will still help you fall asleep as soon as your head hits your pillow. 

Tea is my favorite choice of beverage due to the endless varieties of tea to enjoy. Some of my favorite memories are associated with tea, such as green tea during the morning on camping trips, peppermint with dessert at friends' houses, and varieties of black tea brewed with hotel Keurigs. There is a tea for every occasion and mood felt throughout the day. People often resort to snacks for pick-me-ups, but I opt for a cup of tea. The next time that you are feeling unmotivated or listening to the Berkeley rain, grab your favorite mug, heat up a kettle, and choose from the endless options of teas.