I first began drinking caffeinated drinks for productivity in college.
At the time, I indulged in sugary frappuccinos.
However, I was never able to finish them - in fact, I still can’t finish a cup of coffee in one sitting because I get what some may know as the “jitters”.
For anyone that’s had jitters, you’ll know that it provides too much energy to the point that you may experience anxiety and other unwanted side-effects.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love coffee and still have it at least once a week, but when you add up all of the side-effects caused by drinking too much coffee such as caffeine withdrawal, stomach pain, and worse of all, the afternoon crash...
It’s just not worth drinking on a daily basis.
But we live in a world powered by caffeine, and so for most people hooked on the substance like myself, there are few quality alternatives.
This meant dealing with jitters and stomach pain daily due to over-consumption resulting in a general feeling of unease knowing that I wasn’t at my healthiest.
Luckily, I found a healthy alternative.
Not just any tea, but single origin, loose leaf tea.
Single origin refers to tea that comes from a specific region of the world.
In contrast, tea blends are those that are comprised of tea from multiple sources that is usually infused with some sort of flavoring. It may be synthetic flavorings, dried fruit or flowers. This typically requires additional processing to infuse the tea with other flavors, thus compromising the naturally occurring compounds in tea.
To summarize, blends often are sold to increase profits while sacrificing quality. It’s similar to how companies that sell ‘olive oil’ will often mix real olive oil with canola oil to save money.
Additionally, tea often gets it’s flavor from the ‘terroir’ or the environment that it is grown from. Because blends combine several teas together, you never truly get to enjoy or experience the terroir which is one of the best parts about drinking tea.
This matters because how a tea is grown greatly impacts the quality of the tea and its’ effects.
That’s right - it does more than just provide you with energy.
When you drink quality tea grown and processed correctly, you’ll find higher caffeine, antioxidants, amino acids and polyphenol content where some will provide you with more energy than others, some increase focus, and some may provide relaxing, soothing effects.
For example, green tea and white tea have higher caffeine content but also contains high levels of L-Theanine, a compound known to increase focus. And some Oolong teas contain a compound called GABA, which is known for its calming effects.
This is the advantage of selecting single origin tea as your drink of choice. There is a variety of natural flavors you can choose from AND you can choose the right tea for the right occasion. I personally love having Honey Orchid Oolongs weekday mornings before work because it gives incredible mental clarity and consistent energy all day without the crash in the afternoon. Whereas in the weekends, I may opt for some black tea or even coffee, if I don’t mind the pending crash later in the afternoon.
Now, onto loose leaf.
Loose leaf tea, too, is far superior to tea you’ll find in tea bags.
This is because tea bag manufacturers are not incentivized to put high quality teas into a tea bag. Most of us will not look inside one (except for me).
When tea is processed and crushed into the tea bags, they tend to overbrew and get “burnt” as my Chinese tea drinking friends would say. The bag also keeps the tea leaves confined into a small space, not allowing the leaves to expand or brew evenly. You lose an important part of their taste and effect because the essential oils in the tea are destroyed. So there is little reason for a tea bag manufacturer to put high quality teas into tea bags.
Since making the switch to single origin loose leaf tea, I’ve found that I’m much more productive for longer periods of time because there is no crash.
Additionally, I no longer have to deal with the anxiety often associated with drinking coffee daily, and my stomach which used to hurt constantly.
My favorites include premium (Ancient Iron Goddess) oolong tea for the buttery flavor and sense of mental clarity provided and an oolong tea grown off of a cliff in Fujian, China for the light roast flavor and calmness (likely from the GABA).
Because I’ve had such amazing experiences with premium single-origin tea not found in stores, we’ve decided to make them available online to make them easier to access.
If you’re interested in trying a few, you’ll be able to find them through Amico Tea.