Tea 101: what to drink and how to drink it

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Tea 101: what to drink and how to drink it


People love coffee. While coffee inspires somewhat of a fast and frantic lifestyle, sometimes it’s nice to just slow down and relax with a cup of tea. Below I’ll walk you through some different kinds of tea, how they should be prepared, and why they’re good for you.

Understanding Tea

Tea contains L-theanine, which in combination with caffeine creates a sense of mindful awareness. Studies have shown that consumption of tea boosts alpha wave activity in the brain, which corresponds to a relaxed-but-alert mental state. Alpha wave activity is said to be closely linked with selective attention, the ability to choose to pay attention to one thing and ignore other distractions). This “mindful awareness” is different than the energy boost given by coffee, and also saves you from dealing with the afternoon coffee crash.

What Kind of Tea?

You should know that there are several different kinds of tea, each with different tastes and amounts of caffeine. Below are different types of tea, in increasing caffeine levels. Herbal infusions have no caffeine, and so make them good for bed time. The others all have at least some caffeine. If you’re looking for that, try Oolong or Black teas. If you’re really in need of an energy boost, try some matcha teas. These are powdered, and you are actually consuming the leaves, so the health and energy benefits are greater.

  • Herbal Infusions
  • White Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Oolong Tea
  • Black Tea / Flavored Tea / Pu-erh Tea



I’ll be honest. I hate teabags and think they’re a travesty to tea making. If you want the real deal, it’s time to step up and buy yourself a strainer and some good tea leaves. Loose tea can be steeped multiple times. Some of the darker teas can be steeped as many as 20 times, each time slowly extracting more of the unique flavors out. Save money, drink more tea.



There’s two key components to steeping: water temperature and steep time. Darker teas tend to require slightly hotter water, but there’s really no exact science as to how to produce the perfect cup. Everyone has different preferences and it takes some playing around with to settle on your own favorite cup of tea. If you make a cup and find it too bitter, reduce the temperature of the water. If you find your tea too weak, increase the amount of leaves or steeping time.

Tea Water
1st Steep 2nd Steep 3rd Steep 4th Steep
White 150-160ºF 1 min 1 min 1.5 min 1.75 min
Green 170-180ºF 1 min 1 min 1.5 min 1.75 min
Oolong 190-195ºF 30 sec 30 sec 45 sec 45 sec
Black 212ºF 1 min 1 min 1.5 min 1.5 min
Pu-erh 212ºF 30 sec 30 sec 45 sec 1 min

Here are some rough guidelines for your steeping. The temperatures don’t need to be exact. 212 degrees: boiling. Anything else: take it off the stove for a minute, then pour.


There are tons of resources out on the web. Google. Sit down, steep a cup, read and enjoy. Cheers.

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