Tea is central to traditions around the globe: think afternoon tea and biscuits in England and Cha Dao tea time in China. After water, it’s the most widely consumed beverage in the world. And it’s really no wonder: tea has the ability to calm us, stimulate our minds, curb cravings, and so much more.
With all the tea options out there, it can be overwhelming to know which to buy, and which to drink for your desired effect. We spoke with Claire Forgan, founder of subscription tea box service Tea by C, about tea types and the best teas for each point during your day. “Coffee can make you jittery if you drink a lot of it, but that doesn’t really happen with tea,” Forgan says. “That’s because of this amino acid, L- theanine, that’s naturally present in tea leaves.” The compound is known to reduce anxiety and calm, while still allowing you to stay alert. For this reason, tea’s a great drink both for waking up and lulling you to sleep, depending on the specific type’s caffeine content and the effects of any added herbs or florals.
Here are the Best Teas to Drink Throughout your Day
8am: The Energy Booster
Try a sweet black tea like Golden Honey. “It packs a good caffeine punch and is sweeter and creamier than most black teas, so it goes well with breakfast foods,” Forgan says. Basically, it’s your caramel macchiato of black teas.
Matcha Tea, a Japanese green tea, is another option if you’re looking for an immediate caffeine kick. “It’s really high in caffeine content because you’re not infusing the leaves, you’re actually grinding them up and drinking the leaf,” Forgan says. “You’re literally drinking everything that’s in the leaf—nothing is left behind.” This tea is typically bought in powder form, making it an easy addition to a morning smoothie as well.
11am: Mid-Morning Snack
It’s not lunch yet, but you’ve been up for a while and are starting to get those midday cravings. Forgan suggests trying Dragon Well tea, a Chinese green tea that’s rich and smooth, and has lower caffeine content so you don’t go overboard after the matcha.
3pm: The Creative Kicker
“White tea is a great afternoon tea,” Forgan says. “It’s often called the ‘Intellectuals Tea’, because it has a high L-theanine content and low caffeine level so you can drink a bunch of it.” Try Bai Mu Dan, a Chinese white tea that feels cerebral and will get those brain juices flowing.
7pm: The Palette Cleanser
You’ve finished dinner and want an aperitif to help settle your stomach and promote digestion. Try an herbal tea like Peppermint, which relaxes the smooth muscles in your gut and prevents them from spasming. The menthol and menthone in peppermint naturally reduce inflammation, alleviating pain caused by bloating or excess gas.
To kickstart your metabolism, try Baby Chrysanthemum tea—the “superfood of teas”, according to Forgan. Like peppermint, it reduces inflammation and also aids in cleansing the liver and bladder.
10pm: The Sleep-Inducer
Aromatic teas will put you in the right state of mind for dreaming. Sip on a Lavender or Rosebud tea to soothe all your senses before climbing in bed. It’s partially the type of tea that does the trick here, but the ritual itself—of practicing self-care and making yourself a cup of tea at the end of the day—is a good routine for ending your day on a positive note.