How To Choose The Right Kind Of Tea

Let's Talk About Tea!

If you feel like you’re drinking too much coffee and you’re interested in migrating over to tea, but you don’t know which kind of tea to drink, this article’s for you.

Some of you have been asking me what the difference is between white tea and black tea, when it’s better to have green tea, what matcha is... I’ve gotten ALL KINDS of questions, so I wanted to cover all the different types of tea and when I incorporate them into my daily routine.

Black Tea

Let’s start with black tea. Like most of the teas listed here, there are so many different black teas you can get. There’s Persian black tea, Earl gray, English breakfast… the list goes on!

Black tea tends to have the highest caffeine of any kind of tea. It’s still good for you and it does have antioxidants, but when you compare a black tea to something more like a green tea, a green tea’s going to have more antioxidants.

This all comes down to how they’re harvesting the tea leaves. Black tea goes through a fermentation process, which means a lot of the antioxidants get oxidized. When it’s oxidized, it doesn’t have as many antioxidants.

This doesn’t mean black tea isn’t good for you. I still drink a LOT of black tea. I tend to find that it really settles my stomach, though I’m a huge believer in the placebo effect and this could simply be a byproduct of growing up for me.

Even still, I LOVE to drink black tea when it’s really cold out, when it’s time to get cozy (a little chai tea is great for that), and it settles my stomach.

 

Green Tea

I love to have green tea in the mornings. I have this thing where I really love green tea with citrus. I just think they taste SO good together. So, for breakfast sometimes, I’ll have some oranges, pineapples, or blueberries with some green tea. The combination’s amazing.. Just try it :)

Green tea is not fermented, so it’s not oxidized, and the antioxidants are SO high. It fights cancer, it’s heart healthy, it can help you with healthy weight loss, it’s great for your skin… I can’t say enough great things about green tea. I absolutely LOVE it.

 

Matcha Tea

There has been a new trend lately with matcha, and while some things that come up and are trends can be fads, matcha is not one of them. I love matcha. I probably drink more matcha than green tea (for the time being).

So, matcha is a type of green tea, but it’s a little bit different - still the same leaves, but when it’s grown, the leaves are actually blocked from direct sunlight, so you get a little higher antioxidant activity.

The other difference is you’ll notice that matcha comes in powder form, and all of it dissolves in the water you drink. This is the tea leaves in powder form, and because you’re getting all of it dissolved into water, you’re getting a higher amount of tea. Which means higher antioxidants AND higher caffeine.

When choosing between matcha and green tea, just use your best judgement. If you need a little extra caffeine boost and you still want something healthy, maybe go for the matcha. If it’s later on in the afternoon, however, and you want a nice cup of green tea (but you don’t want to be up all night), maybe just a regular green tea would be better.

Matcha does tend to have a little bit more of a bitter taste. I like to add some coconut milk. I’ve also REALLY been liking oat milk in my matcha lately.

 

White Tea

I love white tea and I feel like this is something a lot of people don’t even really know about yet. I discovered it in a coffee shop one day and started researching it.

White tea, I would say, of all of them, is the least processed. There hasn’t been that much research on it, at least not as much as all these other types, so there’s not definitive data on certain facts, BUT, it is thought that it has lower caffeine, higher antioxidants, and a lighter taste.

I think you should experiment with white tea, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine and you still want some of the antioxidants. It’s definitely something to look into!

If you think about it, white tea is kind of the winner of them all because it has the least caffeine AND the highest antioxidants. It’s not 100% but I like it. It has a really light, gentle taste, so if you can incorporate some white tea into your diet I would try that too.

 

Herbal Tea

The last tea I’d like to discuss is herbal tea. I can’t even go over all the different kinds of herbal teas because there are SO MANY. There’s a huge range. It can go on forever.

There are so many different benefits to them, though. I do want to warn you that herbals can still be pretty strong. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it’s not potent!

But, as long as you look into what the benefits and risks are, for the most part, any kind of herbal tea you’re buying - whether at a health food store or at Whole Foods - will be completely fine. The benefits can range from relaxation to lower blood pressure, better skin, better circulation, and even less bloating. Herbal teas are kind of limitless there.

The other cool thing about herbal tea is it’s naturally caffeine-free. I have so many different kinds of herbal tea in my cupboard and each night I just pick a different one.

I also want to make sure you understand the following: when you get tea that says “sleepy time tea,” if it’s camomile tea, it’s not making you sleepy. It just doesn’t have caffeine. So, you don’t have to worry about drinking it during the day and having it make you feel sleepy.

The only kind of tea I can think of off the top of my head that would make you feel sleepy is kava because kava is an herb they would use years ago for anxiety and relaxation, so for the most part, something like camomile won’t make you sleepy during the day.

 

In Order of Most Caffeine:

  • Black tea (highest)
  • Matcha tea
  • Green tea
  • White tea
  • Herbal tea (lowest)

When trying out different teas, feel free to pick and choose. Have fun with it! This is actually one of the reasons I stopped drinking coffee so much. There’s SO much good tea out there and I like experimenting and trying different kind!. It gives me a chance to really enjoy it and get all the benefits of different herbal teas. I used to love coffee, but now I probably only have one a week. Trying to get more tea into your diet can be a really nice, relaxing thing you can do at home or on your own to wake up in the morning. I invite you to try it and let me know what you think!

 

Dr. Mona Vand