I know many people who can't get through their day without a cup (or two or three) of coffee. I, however, am not one of them. Maybe I will join the dark side one day, but for now I am glad that I don't depend on a daily jolt of caffeine to keep me awake. I have fallen in love with tea over the last couple years, though. I am still figuring out exactly what I like and don't like, but I have found a few kinds that just make me smile. I worked for a few months at a tea shop, which really opened my eyes to the vast variety of teas available.
Working at a tea shop also afforded me the opportunity to try many different kinds of tea I probably wouldn't have been adventurous enough to buy on my own. I tend to stay with simple or more traditional flavors (think chai, mint) when buying tea, since I'm still a bit hesitant about purchasing things when I don't know if I will like them. But I am slowly branching out and trying new things. One of the last teas I bought actually had popcorn in it!
Of course, there are bagged teas and loose-leaf teas. My preference is for loose-leaf tea, as the tea leaves have more room to expand in the water, giving the tea a richer flavor. Loose-leaf tea, in my experience, is also often of high quality, providing more health benefits. I do, however, also like to use tea bags. They don't require as delicate of a touch when brewing in terms of carefully monitoring the water temperature and steep time, as loose-leaf teas do, and don't need special tea steepers. Either way, I make sure I look at the ingredients so I know exactly what I'm drinking.
I like the various health benefits tied to tea, too. It has been said that tea can help aid in digestion, help with cardiovascular health, boost antioxidant levels, tame free radicals, and provide caffeine that the body processes in a way that doesn't cause you to crash later, among other things.
Some of my favorite teas are chais, because I love the combinations of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and other spices that create a soothing, earthy taste. I also like floral and fruity teas, especially ones with raspberry or peach, since they are brighter and remind me of spring. I like green and white teas that have some citrus or fruit added to them, and black and oolong teas that are earthier, generally speaking. I also like rooibos teas, as they are naturally caffeine-free, so I can drink them at any time of day. Herbal teas made without actual tea leaves are another favorite for the same reason.
Do you have a favorite tea?