While studying abroad in Ireland, I fell in love with drinking tea. I don't know whether it was because my living accommodation lacked a coffee maker or because the infamous damp weather of Ireland—all I know is that I was hooked. Since returning home, the habit has remained and I easily sip five cups of tea a day. 

coffee, sushi
Lindsay Peckham

Now, I have to admit, I wasn't an expert at first. I was laughed at for drinking black tea without milk or sugar, I would leave the tea bag in the entire time I drank the cup, and I was clueless that the water temperature varied among different teas. A year later, I have come a long way and have some useful information to share for new tea drinkers and perhaps even coffee drinkers looking to try something new. 

One of the best things about tea is that it's perfect for every possible mood or occasion. From needing some stress relief, to rehydrating after a night out, to a hot beverage to warm you up on a cold, winter's day—tea has your back. Now, all you have to do is decide what type of tea will be your savior. 

Black Tea 

tea, beer, coffee
Emma Weinberg

Water Temperature: Boiling (212°F)

Steep Time: 3-5 minutes

Flavor: Varies depending on how long it is oxidized, strong and rich, more bitter than green tea.

Health Benefits: Since black tea is fermented and oxidized, it helps cure digestive disorders and is an effective remedy for intestinal disorders as well. Black tea is rich in antioxidants, reduces bad cholesterol levels, and decreases risk of cardiovascular disease. (High caffeine level)

My Suggestion: Irish Breakfast Tea or English Breakfast Tea 

Dandy Blend Tea 

mocha, cream, milk, espresso, cappuccino, coffee
Emma Weinberg

Water Temperature: Can be hot or cold

Serving Size: 1 tsp/8 oz for tea-like beverage, 1 rounded tsp/8oz for full bodied coffee, 1 tbsp/8oz for espresso strength

Flavor: Rich, full-bodied flavor of coffee.

Health Benefits: Made of water-soluble extracts of roasted roots of dandelion, chicory and beets, and the grains of barley and rye, contains over 50 trace minerals in each cup, naturally sweet and gluten free, no headaches or other withdrawal symptoms when switching from coffee to Dandy Blend. (Caffeine-free)

My Suggestion: Dandy Blend Instant Herbal Beverage 

Herbal Tea 

tea, coffee, milk
Emma Weinberg

Water Temperature: Boiling (212°F)

Steep Time: 5-7 minutes 

Flavor: Varies depending on herbal blend. Flavors can include mint, hibiscus, chamomile, licorice, ginger, and dandelion. 

Health Benefits: Also varies depending on herbal blend, benefits and/or cures indigestion, allergies, and insomnia. (Caffeine-free)

My Suggestion: Lemon Ginger

Matcha Green Tea Powder

coffee, milk
Emma Weinberg

Water Temperature: 175°F   

Serving Size: 1/2 teaspoon

Flavor: Earthy, deep vegetal taste with a slightly sweet aftertaste.

Health Benefits: With 137x the antioxidants than brewed green tea, Matcha is an ultimate "superfood." Matcha boosts memory and concentration, increases energy levels and endurance, burns calories and high fiber content detoxifies body, fortifies the immune system, improves cholesterol levels and aids in cancer prevention. (High caffeine level)

My Suggestion: Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder 

Oolong Tea 

milk, chocolate, sweet, candy
Emma Weinberg

Water Temperature: 190°F   

Steep Time: 3-5 minutes 

Flavor: Strongly varies with oxidation and roasting, range from sweet and fruity to roasted and woody.

Health Benefits: A half fermented tea high in antioxidants that remove free radicals from your body, aids in weight management, promotes healthy skin and bones, and helps with stress management. (Medium caffeine level)

My Suggestion: Chinese Oolong Tea 

Rooibos Tea

coffee, tea
Emma Weinberg

Water Temperature: Boiling (212°F)  

Steep Time: 4-6 minutes 

Flavor: Earthy vanilla and slightly nutty.

Health Benefits: Anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, relieves stress, rich in calcium, boosts immune system and blood circulation, helps ease stomach cramps, and is ideal for kidney stone patients. (Caffeine-free)

My Suggestion: Organic Rooibos Herbal Teasan

White Tea

milk, sweet, coffee, chocolate
Emma Weinberg

Water Temperature: 185°F   

Steep Time:  3-5 minutes 

Flavor: Very light and sweet with a slight floral/fruity taste, almost tasteless.

Health Benefits: Beneficial in weight loss, protects skins again effects of ultraviolet light, contains antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-aging properties, maintains healthy and youthful skin, helps prevent cancer, and reduces risk of cavities. (Low caffeine level)

My Suggestion: Organic White Tea