It’s three o’clock in the afternoon and you’re starting to drag. You need your daily Diet Coke to revive you. Full of artificial sweeteners, caffeine and chemicals, it gives you that energy boost you need to finish the rest of the day. It is a mid-afternoon necessity that you have come to rely on.
Maybe you drink soda to curb your hunger or sugar cravings, or because of the caffeine jolt it brings. Whatever the reason, a soda addiction can be a hard one to kick. The good news is you can get all the perks of pop (and more) by switching to tea. Tea is a healthy alternative to soda that packs a punch of caffeine and a variety of other health benefits.
You may be thinking, “Well that sounds great, but tea isn’t nearly as sweet or refreshing as a Diet Coke.” Think again. Check out these six ways to make your tea taste even better.
1. Think outside the leaf. Look for teas that include ingredients that tend to be naturally sweeter like dried apple, coconut, pineapple and cocoa or antioxidant-rich cacao nibs to help curb your sugar craving.
2. Create a tea mocktail. Tea can be added to a variety of mocktail recipes that are full of other fun, fresh ingredients. During the summer, you can make a ginger peach tea punch with chilled chai black tea, fresh ginger and ginger syrup, and fresh peaches. Pour it over ice and you have an instantly refreshing, hydrating seasonal sipper. Also consider adding sparking water to your tea mocktails to curb that hankering for carbonation.
3. Drink whole leaf tea vs. broken leaf tea. Tea made from whole leaves contains more amino acids, and also offers a sweeter, fuller-bodied flavor for a more satisfying experience.
4. Do some research on your tea + how to steep it correctly. Know your supplier and where the tea comes from. Use purified or filtered water, mind the recommended steep time and temperature. All of these factors play a role in brewing the perfect cup of tea. Some teas may require a longer steep time to pull the maximum sweetness from the leaves, while other teas may require only 60 seconds.
5. If you need to add a sweetener, find one that is minimally processed. If drinking tea on its own still does not curb your sweet tooth, we recommend trying a natural sweetening source, such as coconut sugar, date sugar, whole stevia leaves or local raw honey found at your farmer’s market.
6. Try it cold brewed (or as an iced tea). Tea can be just as delicious cold as it is hot. To cold brew your chosen tea, place the tea leaves in a sealed container with filtered water. Put into your fridge and let sit for 8-12 hours. Remove the leaves from the water. What you are left with is a full, round cold brew tea without the excess tannins that can be found when you steep your tea hot. (Tannins are what can create that sense of astringency and the drying effect in the mouth, often found in great wines, coffee, chocolate and, of course, tea.)
Steve’s favorite tea: “My favorite tea of the moment is Fukamushi, a high-quality sencha I discovered on a recent sourcing trip in Japan. I like it cold brewed for 30 minutes after a long workout.”
What’s your favorite tea? Share in the comments below!