For some reason, I haven’t been able to drink coffee neither straight nor constantly as I used to. It’s almost as if I’ve gotten so immune to the drink that I can barely have it, let alone enjoy it with my never-ending study sessions the way I once did. I still had it over last summer, but I had to load it with a pitiful amount of cream and sugar, which made the apparently slowly dying coffee puritan within me cry with shame.

But I can easily do what I used to do with coffee with tea instead, ironically enough. At least that I don’t have to load it with anything to just enjoy as is. I just make it hot enough so that I can watch the tendrils of steam curl up as I study, and I’m happy and at peace with the world. It’s the little things.

I never had a problem with tea before this, so the irony isn’t in the above, but that it took getting this far away from my love of coffee to realize everything I’ve since missed out about it until now. Granted, I had no problem going on the occasional “I’ve been eating like crap all week; time to binge the Green Tea” streak, but now it’s gotten to the point I need even more than that level in variety.

You might not tell just from looking at me, but I’m what somebody might call a wannabe health-nut. Tea. Water. That stuff. At least two hours a week at the gym just to feel like I did something there. You know, that person who thinks all that stuff makes them the healthiest person on the planet when they can probably barely run half a mile without panting like they’re about to die.

While, of course, tea is one of those drinks that’s better for you than, say, juice or soda or energy drinks so any tea you can drink is the best, there are still some that are better for you to go to. Black, green, white, and oolong teas all come from the same plant, camellia sinensis. Unless they are decaffeinated, they all have a little caffeine. But one thing these teas all do have in common is an amino acid called L-Theanine. Yeah, sorry, there’s a bit of science in this one. But at least it’s not math, right?

Anyway, according to the blog on GoodLifeTea.com, it causes a relaxed state but without the side-effect of drowsiness. Considering I’m sure we’ll all be pulling a few all-nighters this semester even when we try to avoid them, if you’re going to be pulling one you should definitely be switching to tea for these especially. The L-Theanine in tea will help you focus while also causing a relaxed state, and tea has only 1/3rd the caffeine of coffee.

Speaking of, the differences in how you react to the caffeine in coffee and tea should be reason enough. Coffee will leave you super hyper about whatever you’re trying to get done for anywhere between three to six hours, and then leave you with a headache-inducing crash I’m sure we all know well by now. Tea doesn’t do this at any rate; the chemicals it contains, while being similar, work slightly differently. Caffeine, by the way, is a xanthine, but unlike in coffee, it isn’t the only xanthine in tea. Tea has other xanthines such as theine and theobromine.  These other xanthines are like caffeine but tend to have less of a crash than caffeine does. They’ll also leave your system slowly, which means you can work much more longer than if you had simply just had a coffee and given up all hope because it crashed on you before you could get in those last few words of that paper you just crunched out last minute. It means you can still be up at two in the morning working on what you need to get done while still maintaining that feeling of alertness and calmness from all the above, but without the grumpiness and caffeine crash coffee otherwise gives.

A third reason you should be switching from coffee to tea is for something much bigger than all-nighters and never-ending study sessions: the way it’s made.

With coffee you can set it up to go and get it in ten minutes while you wait for it to brew, depending on what you have. Or, you can take the time that it takes to make tea to take a study break and relax just for a little bit. The point of making and drinking tea is to appreciate it before getting on to the next part of your day, not about speed like coffee is. 

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