Delicious Dishes

Tea for everything

I stopped drinking coffee about 10 years ago. (Urban Mommy Elisa here, I don’t think Michelle would consider giving up caffeine). It was a baaaaaad habit. I was never without a full mug of black coffee all day long. I was super-caffeinated at all times. It was not healthy. One day I gave it up cold turkey.

It sucked.

It was weeks of feeling off, missing coffee, craving a jumpstart, fighting headaches.

You know what I found worked to replace the craving?

But tea wasn’t as easy as “Large black coffee please.” It wasn’t even as easy as “Grande skinny low-foam extra-hot one-sweet two shots of sugar-free vanilla bean latte.”

At first it was “What kind of tea do you have?” Then I learned that if I really didn’t want the unwanted caffeine I would have to ask if it had caffeine. Tea is sneaky like that,  it’s hard to figure out which teas have caffeine.

I finally realized that tea wasn’t just a hot drink to fill my empty coffee mug. I started to enjoy discovering tea because of the flavours, but as I started looking deeper into teas, I discovered some real wellness properties.

Here are my faves:

Licorice tea: I love the flavour of licorice tea, plus this one is great for digestion and acid reflux. I had never experienced acid reflux before being pregnant, but since having these two I’ve discovered the misery of it. Licorice tea really does help.
Note, anise and fennel taste very similar and provide similar properties, but are not the same plant.

Ginger tea: MMMMMM!!!!! I love ginger tea. Not particularly fond of it otherwise, but the tea! You can mix this one with a bunch of other flavours and it gives you a whole new treat in a mug. (Yes, admittedly, I’m a nerd.) They say ginger tea can help fight a cold, it’s probably because it’s an anti-oxidant, it’s got lots of vitamin C, and it helps with congestion. It’s also known for helping with nausea and offers some calming effects. Sometimes I want the strong burn of ginger, sometimes I add lemon, honey, peppermint, matcha or even a bag of apple blossom to the mix. It goes with just about anything, especially if that strong ginger flavour isn’t for you. I will boil raw ginger, but I keep store-bought sachets of ginger tea at the office.

Orange pekoe: I’ve always thought of orange pekoe as ‘tea’ – like the OG of teas. It’s one version of black tea, so it pretty much is. They serve it everywhere and it’s got this nice, mild and unassuming flavour that isn’t offensive to anyone. Of course I buy the decaf version. Anti-oxidants. This one, like most teas, is full of them.

Lemon zinger: I think I see a pattern in my tea drinking – I like strong and sharp flavours. Lemongrass is the base of lemon zinger tea. It’s a traditional after-a-meal tea because it helps with digestion. I just like the flavour. For less zing, there’s also lemon tea, made from dried lemon and often mixed with other herbals for a soothing flavour. Or you can stop laughing at granny’s habit of ordering hot water with lemon – also a digestive, lemon is supposed to help with weight loss. It also gives a good dose of vitamin C and has anti-oxidants that do the body good.

Peppermint tea: I just love mint. I like it fresh from the garden when my husband grows it, but I’m just as happy with prepackaged mint tea bags. It’s refreshing. It’s also soothing too, and is supposed to help with relaxation. This one is also a digestion aid. They say it helps with weight loss too. Really, what ISN’T mint tea good for?

Green tea: This is a super-tea. I like the flavour well enough, and it’s supposed to be so so so good for you. Lots of anti-oxidants, loads of nutrients. It promotes wellness throughout your body – from blood to organs to brain function – I’ve been told drinking green tea can make you smarter. I’ll try anything… Green tea has caffeine in it – much less than coffee, but still… So I go for the decaf version. It doesn’t have as many benefits as whole green tea, but is still better than a diet caffeine-free cola!

Matcha tea: Matcha is like Green tea on steroids. It’s got similar properties but is the super-charged version, because it’s powdered, so you’re actually ingesting the whole plant. It’s the super-tea of super-teas. It boosts the immune system, boosts energy, boosts your mood – and boosts metabolism to aid with weight loss. It’s worth reading up on this one because it has so many healthy and helpful properties. I find it’s a good one to mix with other teas. It goes with almost everything, you just need to find what you like. I mix it with ginger, peppermint and even a plain old orange pekoe. Because it is made from the whole leaf, it has quite a bit of caffeine – about half that of coffee. I have bought decaffeinated matcha but if I’m mixing it in smaller amounts with other flavours I don’t worry about it.

Jasmine tea: I’m not one for floral or fruity teas, but I love jasmine tea. It’s got a soft scent and isn’t distinctly floral-ish like, say rose-hip. I can’t stand rose-hip tea. Hate it. Hate the fancy and oh-so-trendy rooibos tea.  Sorry-not-sorry. But jasmine is a combo of jasmine petals and black tea – or green or white tea, depending on what brand you pick. Black tea has less caffeine than green tea, so there’s that – and yes, there’s decaf which I buy.

So take that coffee!

Though I should admit, after years of avoiding coffee altogether because I couldn’t resist the real stuff, I finally turned to decaf. But most brewed decaf just isn’t as good as a fresh cup of real coffee. Besides, it’s usually burnt or old pot of decaf coffee because it doesn’t sell fast, and that just tastes gross.

Though a fresh grande decaf latte has become one of my dirty little secrets as of late.

Yup… decaf lattes. I really walk on the wild side, don’t I?

*Please note – not all herbal teas are safe during pregnancy. During my pregnancies I had to consult with my doctors regarding which were safe. Since this is about my cutting out the coffee and not health tips for pregnancy I don’t feel comfortable recommending or warning against any of these since it would be best you check yourself if you’re pregnant.