The best teas to drink in the morning
After water, tea is the second most consumed beverage globally and is grown worldwide due to the large demand it has.
You may not know it, but all teas (except herbal ones) are prepared from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The way in which the leaves are processed determines the taste and colour of the tea.
After the leaves of the plant are plucked, they are dried in the sun and this begins the process of oxidization. The longer the leaves are allowed to oxidize, the darker the tea will be.
If you are like me, you want to feel alert as soon as you wake up. I generally tend to start the day off with a large glass of cold plain or coconut water. This helps hydrate my body and replace any liquid I have lost through the night.
I then have a cup of black coffee or tea with breakfast. If you are not a fan of coffee, tea is a milder option that also does the job of waking you up really well, without giving you that jittery sensation.
Caffeine in both tea and coffee is what gets you on your toes, however coffee contains almost double the amount of caffeine that tea does.
There are a number of factors that determine how much caffeine the tea that you drink has. These include the type of tea, how long it is brewed for, the temperature of the water and whether a teabag or loose leaves are used.
Here are 5 of the best teas you can drink in the morning.
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Probably the most well known type, green tea is a great option when you wake up. It originated in China and is now produced by a number of Asian countries. The leaves of the tea plant are harvested and then quickly heated and dried to prevent excessive oxidation.
There are many different types of green tea and they are differentiated by factors such as how the tea plant is grown, when the leaves are harvested and how the leaves are processed. Some popular types of green tea include Matcha (IMO the best, with my favorite being matcha capsules), Gunpowder, Sencha, Gyokuro and Dragonwell. Green tea contains around 25 – 40 mg of caffeine per cup.
Apart from helping you feel awake, there are various health benefits that drinking green tea brings:
- It can help lower your risk of cancer. Green tea is a fantastic source of antioxidants that could help fight off cancer. For example this study found that women who drank a lot of green tea reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by up to 22% and this study found that men who drank 5 or more cups reduced their risk of prostrate cancer by 48%.
- It might lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Green tea can improve insulin sensitivity, thereby preventing diabetes.
- It contains compounds that improve brain function, helping to make you smarter and also lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- It burns fat, could help you lose weight and improves physical performance.
Oolong tea is semi oxidized (between 10 and 80%) and is the most diverse of all tea types. Like green tea, there are different varieties of oolong tea including Ti Kuan Yin, Dan Cong, Da Hong Pao and Si Ji Chun, all of which have different flavours and aromas.
Oolong tea contains around 25 – 50 mg caffeine per cup, depending on how long it is brewed for. Since teas are made from the same plant, they tend to have similar benefits. Some interesting benefits shown by studies carried out on oolong tea include:
- Its ability to help treat certain types of eczema. This study carried out on 118 patients found that drinking 1 liter of oolong tea resulted in noticeable improvement in 74 of the patients.
- Its ability to boost metabolism as shown in this study carried out in men and this study carried out in Japanese women.
- It’s ability to help manage type 2 diabetes as shown in this study carried out in Taiwan.
Black tea is fully oxidized and is the most popular type in the UK and US. The tea leaves are either oxidized whole (the orthodox method) or torn and crushed up into fine pieces (non orthodox). During oxidation, oxygen reacts with cells in the tea leaves, turning them black. Black tea tends to contain the most amount of caffeine, ranging from 40 – 60 mg per cup.
Black tea is produced in various countries including China, India, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Kenya, again leading to differing varieties such as Darjeeling, Keemun and Ceylon.
Some black tea based studies show:
- It can reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol by 7.5%
- It reduces the risk of ovarian cancer. This study carried out on 414 women showed that consuming 2 or more cups daily led to a 30% decline in risk.
- It could prevent the onset of a stroke as shown in this study.
White tea is the least processed out of all the teas. It is mainly harvested in the Fujian province of China and made from the new growth buds and young leaves of the tea plant. White tea contains the least caffeine per cup, at 10 – 15 mg and is also quite tasteless when you first drink it. Varieties include Baihao Yinzhen, Bai Mudan and Gong Mei.
Studies have shown that:
This type of tea is aged and fermented. When stored properly it has a better flavour the older it gets. It is produced in the Yunnan province in China and contains 30 – 70 mg caffeine per cup. It comes in fully oxidized (shou) and green (sheng) varieties including Tuocha and Tea Cake. An in depth review of this tea can be found here.
Not many human based studies on this tea have been carried out but one study did show that it helped reduce cholesterol levels in rats. It is likely that this tea has many of the benefits mentioned above, but more studies would need to be carried out.
There are 5 main different types of tea you can drink in the morning, each with hundreds of varieties of their own. Tea in general brings with it many different health benefits. The tea you choose will depend on the the amount of caffeine you want to consume as well as the taste you prefer.
Personally I would recommend a green or oolong tea to start the day off. You can then experiment with others to see which one works best for you!