9

votes

What kinds of teas are great/good/ok/not to recommend on a daily basis?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 15, 2010 at 3:15 AM

Hi all,

I recently kicked the diet soda habit (yeah!) and now drink water and a variety of teas. Always thinking that tea must be great for health, I looked on some nutrition labels and I realized that there are lots of flavors and they also state 'contains soy'. What gives?

Now that I drink a lot of tea during the day, I'm now wondering what teas are really great and what should be avoided? Can tea be my main hydration contributor or are there concerns?

Thank you!

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 02, 2011
at 03:59 PM

I first learned about Hibiscus tea when I was in Poland. I filled my suitcase with it when I came back! LOL Now thanks to amazon.com, I can order it whenever I please.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:25 PM

I was thinking it was something about sinuses. Thanks for the clarification! 8)

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:16 PM

Great question! I used to drink tea a lot, but it seemed to be causing "brain fog." Maybe the kind I was drinking had weird contaminants like soy.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 17, 2010
at 04:50 AM

excellent, thanks

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on November 16, 2010
at 03:19 PM

@Paul - pu'er is the least accessible of Chinese teas. Finding good stuff is hard, and brewing it is hard (I actually also like it brewed in a mug as described above, but that's considered heretical). If you live somewhere with a serious tea house, see if you can get a demo. @ others - Lapsang is great. If you like strong red tea try Qimen (Keemun). Also a general tip, the stronger / blacker a tea is, the more difficult it is to drink it on an empty stomach. Even darker oolongs like Wuyi make me sick / headachey if I have them for breakfast. Definitely not recommended for fast days!

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on November 16, 2010
at 02:13 PM

Haven't drunk lapsang souchong for some time, but it is nice - unusual, but nice.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on November 16, 2010
at 01:35 PM

Superior earl grey from apollo teas is what I drink 'cause it is great and cheap, but to just try look for Numi's aged earl grey which also has real birgmot orange in it and can often be found in independent coffee shops and grocery stores looking to impress.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:46 AM

Thanks everybody for your comments so far, it is very valuable information! Sometimes we just don't know what there is outside of grocery stores. Worth checking out!

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:45 AM

Super, thank you

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:43 AM

I'm definitely going to checkout local tea shops now :-)

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:42 AM

I also know many people in Europe drinking plain hibiscus tea

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:41 AM

Thanks :-) I knew it must be something like that

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:40 AM

Vrimj, what's the brand of the tea you are so excited about?

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:39 AM

great comments, thank you

C0f63d7d327baa1cc2a3cda9bd267e3d

(90)

on November 16, 2010
at 01:02 AM

Wow. Learned a lot here. I just gave up coffee and have been drinking a lot of tea. I have had a similar hypoglycemic response, thought I was just imagining things. Thanks!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:11 PM

@Alex. That's interesting. I only tried one kind of Pu'er, and only once. So I just kind of wrote it off. I think I'll look for some samplers to try some different kinds.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:10 PM

Aha, that's interesting. I only tried one kind, and once. So then I just kind of wrote it off. Maybe I'll look for some samplers to try some different kinds.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:07 PM

I used to think I hated Earl Grey, but then I tried some with real Birgmont instead of just the oil, it was a revelation for me and now I am a big fan. Still can't stand the oil flavored kind though. Birgmont is a citrus flavor, something I totally missed until I tried some with bits of the actual fruit in it.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:06 PM

I love Pu'er too, somehow it hit that soothing note for me. I also like really strong favors in general like the super smoky lapsang shoslaong and an Assam is my daily drinker. I do have to stop after about five now and then I have switched over to mints and chamomile which I get pure and in bulk from my local herb shop.

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:01 PM

Pu'er encompasses a very broad range of tastes but I do like the pretty gamy ones. I pretty much like fermented anything though.

9d741bcbe702044635f2ce3078043054

(1435)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:15 PM

Ditto on the theanine. I've been seeing a neurologist for migraines, and he recommended I switch from coffee to green tea for my caffeine because the l-theanine has a mitigating/calming effect. I buy green tea bags from Stash Tea in Portland (via Amazon). Good stuff.

1a641bbff1a7b0a70f08410376bbdf6b

(1587)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:02 PM

Everything about China with a focus on language ;)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 05:08 PM

One shouldn't assume that everything in a teabag is bad. (Although a lot of it is, like Lipton.) What you get in a teabag is i. cut tea and often ii. a blend, both of which have long traditions in tea production: cut tea (rather than whole leaf) offers a different experience, even if overall inferior, not without its own advantages; and blending can balance teas that are not *really* meant to be drunk alone. In fact tea people have a term for teas from estates that can be drunk by themselves: "self drinkers." This implies its opposite. Though greens and oolongs should always be drunk alone.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 05:03 PM

You can often find tins of looseleaf tea from Twinings even in grocery stores. But if you want fancier stuff you'll have to order online. But even something like Tazo, which they sell at Starbucks, makes a decent black tea, and I think you can find it in a grocery store.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 04:50 PM

Wow, pu'er. That's one of those tastes that people either hate or love. I don't like the taste at all, and think it's really strange that people like it ... but they obviously do ...

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 15, 2010
at 03:23 PM

What is Sinology?

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 15, 2010
at 03:21 PM

What brands can you recommend? I can't seem to find these kinds in grocery stores

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 15, 2010
at 03:20 PM

Thank you, valuable information

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:39 AM

And of course the findings about green tea and insulin sensitivity are about long-term effects. My thoughts about my own reactions to green tea were just speculation and "riffing".

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:36 AM

Also see this paleohacks thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/10478/fluoride-in-tea

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12 Answers

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5
47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:30 AM

It's possible that those teas you are looking at are funky herbal concoctions with various "artificial flavors" and things added as well. There's a lot of weird stuff out there.

First thing: Tea properly speaking is made from the tea plant, camellia sinensis, and comes in three basic varieties: black, oolong, and green (with white thrown in there as three and a half). These are all from the same plant, picked in pretty much the same way; they differ in what happens to the leaves after they've been gathered. Basically, the difference is in the degree to which the leaves are oxidized, with black treated the most, green the least, and oolong in between. (And white tea is not really altered at all.) Tisanes are the herbal concoctions: peppermint tea, chamomile, tilleul (linden tree flowers; common in France I gather), lemon, etc. These are loosely referred to as "teas," but the industry calls them tisanes, just to be clear (or snooty).

In general I think you will more often run into weird stuff added to herbal teas than to real tea, but it still happens in the latter case. In scented or flavored black teas, for example. But you can find good, clean sources for herbal teas just as you can for tea. The company that has pretty much become the gold standard for tea in the United States is Harney & Sons. It's a little pricey, but you can get big 50-count boxes of teabags for a decent price, and I assure you that you will not be disappointed. And if you want herbals, they have those as well. You can get a looseleaf chamomile for instance: it will be a tin filled with chamomile flowers. As easy as that, no other ingredients, and delicious. They also have organic teas, if that's your thing.

We've probably heard of those claims that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity (here for example). And we also think as paleos that "oxidation = bad" and so green tea is surely better than black tea. (Although of course there are no lipids in there.) But I never reacted well to green tea. One of the things I read back when I was spending a lot of time thinking about tea was that although there is technically less caffeine in green tea, the caffeine that is there is more "available" to the body, and so ends up having a greater effect on one than black tea does. There could be something to this. But I also found, as the research findings about green tea improving the action of insulin might support, that green tea just makes me hypoglycemic. I don't know why, but it does. (Well, black tea and coffee do also, if I'm not having them with food, but green tea is worse.)

People react different ways to different things of course. But this should give you some things to think about if you are engaging in some regular tea drinking.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:39 AM

And of course the findings about green tea and insulin sensitivity are about long-term effects. My thoughts about my own reactions to green tea were just speculation and "riffing".

C0f63d7d327baa1cc2a3cda9bd267e3d

(90)

on November 16, 2010
at 01:02 AM

Wow. Learned a lot here. I just gave up coffee and have been drinking a lot of tea. I have had a similar hypoglycemic response, thought I was just imagining things. Thanks!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:36 AM

Also see this paleohacks thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/10478/fluoride-in-tea

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 15, 2010
at 03:20 PM

Thank you, valuable information

3
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:21 PM

Look at what you like to drink now. Get stuff like that.

If you are a soda drinker you are probably looking for something sweeter. Tea (black green or oolong) is not sweet on its own. I suggest you look into herbal infusions/teas/tisnanes. If you are shopping at the supermarket look for stash teas. It sounds like you are looking at Celestal Seasonings which, other then peppermint, typically have additives.

Some of the most exciting things you can brew might not be on the tea isle. If you have a bulk herb section at your food gathering spot check here. Open things up and smell them. If they smell good they will probably taste good if you put them in a muslin bag and pour hot water over them. Dried fruits can also make a lovely drink. I like fresh ginger and hot water too but that might be a little too spicy for some.

I hope you come to enjoy tea, it is a really lovely drink. Try black, green and oolong just plain from time to time. You can go hardcore with it and do bulk orders of obscure teas like I do from time to time from herelink text. On the other hand, like a lot of things, you can get a great experience without getting in to the nuances that make enthusiasts get all purple with their prose. Bagged tea is a fine start, I like Tazo and Twinings.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:45 AM

Super, thank you

3
5da0583a0fa86cc08f5a49510b6468f4

on November 15, 2010
at 07:16 PM

I really like hibiscus tea. In Mexico it is served cold and called 'agua de jamaica'. Instead of sweetening the cold version with sugar, add some lime juice. Really delicious.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:42 AM

I also know many people in Europe drinking plain hibiscus tea

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 02, 2011
at 03:59 PM

I first learned about Hibiscus tea when I was in Poland. I filled my suitcase with it when I came back! LOL Now thanks to amazon.com, I can order it whenever I please.

2
81f0fb141fef1cd2a59d614d654d8f28

on June 27, 2011
at 05:34 PM

I buy organic loose leaf tea from my local co-op store. The brand I drink is Rishi. You can buy them online, too. They have so many teas. My favorite is the Jade Cloud Green Tea. Here is a link: http://www.rishi-tea.com/store/jade-cloud-organic-fair-trade-green-tea.html

A lot of people seem to be intimadated by loose leaf teas. Don't worry! The quality and nutritional benefits are the highest with loose leaf teas. And it's easier than you think to make them vs. bagged tea.

If i'm on the go, I use this: http://www.teasetc.com/details.asp?prodid=19003&cat=19

If i'm at home, I use this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004RIZ7/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0006SYA34&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0Z8VCNKCX1HBAKREQXMK

Hope this helps!

2
587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on November 15, 2010
at 02:29 PM

Yes tea! I am a sinologist too and I drink gallons of it. Probably more than I should. I have a little electric kettle, a gaiwan and probably 20 kinds of tea in my office, and many more at home. Mostly I'm into pu'er and weird oolong, and I love matcha too, but lately I've been drinking a lot of medium-grade Chinese green tea. I get a big mug, put half an inch or a little more of leaf in the bottom, fill it up with not-boiling water, wait for the leaves to sink, and drink it. When the water is like half gone I put in more boiling water. If you make green tea this way it'll last for hours. It's also good training for gongfu cha because you'll start to notice how the taste changes throughout the process.

You can get reasonably good green tea at any reasonably good grocery store. My recommendation is to get small samples of five or ten different kinds (Japanese and Chinese) and find out what you like to drink, then drill down. So if you decide you like longjing, get samples of five kinds of longjing. Don't buy in bulk until you're in love with something.

As for tea being your main source of hydration, I would say that I can function on tea and soup alone but if you only drink tea you're going to dry yourself out a bit.

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on November 16, 2010
at 02:13 PM

Haven't drunk lapsang souchong for some time, but it is nice - unusual, but nice.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:06 PM

I love Pu'er too, somehow it hit that soothing note for me. I also like really strong favors in general like the super smoky lapsang shoslaong and an Assam is my daily drinker. I do have to stop after about five now and then I have switched over to mints and chamomile which I get pure and in bulk from my local herb shop.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:11 PM

@Alex. That's interesting. I only tried one kind of Pu'er, and only once. So I just kind of wrote it off. I think I'll look for some samplers to try some different kinds.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 04:50 PM

Wow, pu'er. That's one of those tastes that people either hate or love. I don't like the taste at all, and think it's really strange that people like it ... but they obviously do ...

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:10 PM

Aha, that's interesting. I only tried one kind, and once. So then I just kind of wrote it off. Maybe I'll look for some samplers to try some different kinds.

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:01 PM

Pu'er encompasses a very broad range of tastes but I do like the pretty gamy ones. I pretty much like fermented anything though.

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on November 16, 2010
at 03:19 PM

@Paul - pu'er is the least accessible of Chinese teas. Finding good stuff is hard, and brewing it is hard (I actually also like it brewed in a mug as described above, but that's considered heretical). If you live somewhere with a serious tea house, see if you can get a demo. @ others - Lapsang is great. If you like strong red tea try Qimen (Keemun). Also a general tip, the stronger / blacker a tea is, the more difficult it is to drink it on an empty stomach. Even darker oolongs like Wuyi make me sick / headachey if I have them for breakfast. Definitely not recommended for fast days!

2
A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

on November 15, 2010
at 04:20 AM

Stay with unflavored, genuine leaf or flower teas which are the least processed. There is a whole variety to choose from depending on your taste.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 15, 2010
at 03:21 PM

What brands can you recommend? I can't seem to find these kinds in grocery stores

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 05:03 PM

You can often find tins of looseleaf tea from Twinings even in grocery stores. But if you want fancier stuff you'll have to order online. But even something like Tazo, which they sell at Starbucks, makes a decent black tea, and I think you can find it in a grocery store.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:39 AM

great comments, thank you

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 15, 2010
at 05:08 PM

One shouldn't assume that everything in a teabag is bad. (Although a lot of it is, like Lipton.) What you get in a teabag is i. cut tea and often ii. a blend, both of which have long traditions in tea production: cut tea (rather than whole leaf) offers a different experience, even if overall inferior, not without its own advantages; and blending can balance teas that are not *really* meant to be drunk alone. In fact tea people have a term for teas from estates that can be drunk by themselves: "self drinkers." This implies its opposite. Though greens and oolongs should always be drunk alone.

1
22135c61982c547331a883494349eb95

on June 15, 2011
at 07:12 AM

I drink this tea all day every day: Rooibos (Redbush). I know that it gets exported from South Africa, but cannot vouch for availability in your area. Obviously, I skip any sugar / honey.

Copy and pasted from Wiki - am too lazy to summarize!

Rooibos is grown only in a small area in the region of the Western Cape province of South Africa.[2] Generally, the leaves are oxidized, a process often, and inaccurately, referred to as fermentation by analogy with tea-processing terminology. This process produces the distinctive reddish-brown colour of rooibos and enhances the flavour. Unoxidized "green" rooibos is also produced, but the more demanding production process for green rooibos (similar to the method by which green tea is produced) makes it more expensive than traditional rooibos. It carries a malty and slightly grassy flavour somewhat different from its red counterpart. [edit] Use

In South Africa it is common to drink rooibos tea without milk, but instead with a slice of lemon and sugar or honey to sweeten. The flavour of rooibos tea is often described as being naturally sweet (without sugar added) and slightly nutty. Rooibos can be prepared in the same manner as black tea, and this is the most common method.

Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries, particularly among health-conscious consumers, due to its high level of antioxidants such as aspalathin[3] and nothofagin, its lack of caffeine, and its low tannin levels compared to fully oxidized black tea or unoxidized green tea leaves.[4] Rooibos also contains a number of phenolic compounds, including flavanols, flavones, flavanones, and dihydrochalcones.[5]

Rooibos is purported to assist with nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems.[6]

Traditional medicinal uses of rooibos in South Africa include alleviating infantile colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological problems.

1
95601768ec9cb75cc3a9cbcd2271ed14

(2206)

on November 15, 2010
at 09:38 PM

I don't drink very much tea, but when I do it is usually an infusion of mint and pineapple sage from the plants on my windowsill and/or rose hips and red clover that I've gathered around town. I've also purchased some blends (custom and premade) from the tea shop in my city (here) because the woman that runs it is very nice and knowledgeable about all things herbal and her shop is like the farmers market of tea.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:43 AM

I'm definitely going to checkout local tea shops now :-)

1
0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on November 15, 2010
at 01:12 PM

I've always loved to drink black tea, especially from Ceylon oder Darjeeling, and never drink any (artificially) flavoured tea. Then I like white tea, for example Lin Yun white downy or Formosa Oolong.

In the evening i prefer to drink herbal teas, for example my own blend of nana mint, verbena, elderberry-, orange-, mauve- and lime-blossom.

And I avoid using teas in teabags.

1
1a641bbff1a7b0a70f08410376bbdf6b

(1587)

on November 15, 2010
at 12:55 PM

As a student of Sinology I'm a huge green tea lover. Personally, I'd never use bags, the loose leaves are so much better. I would also NEVER EVER drink the flavoured stuff (like mango flavoured green tea,...). My favourite is Japanese powdered green tea called matcha, it's like the espresso of tea and quite strong (i can't drink it on an empty stomach, I have no problems with coffee though...). More over, the good quality ones are really expensive.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:41 AM

Thanks :-) I knew it must be something like that

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 15, 2010
at 03:23 PM

What is Sinology?

1a641bbff1a7b0a70f08410376bbdf6b

(1587)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:02 PM

Everything about China with a focus on language ;)

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 15, 2011
at 01:25 PM

I was thinking it was something about sinuses. Thanks for the clarification! 8)

1
1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on November 15, 2010
at 11:04 AM

My favourites are green tea, because it's refreshing (hot or ice cold with nothing else added) or Earl Grey. Early Grey is a black tea intended to be drunk without milk, so fine for non-dairy paleos or anyone fasting who doesn't want to ingest any calories at all.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on November 16, 2010
at 01:35 PM

Superior earl grey from apollo teas is what I drink 'cause it is great and cheap, but to just try look for Numi's aged earl grey which also has real birgmot orange in it and can often be found in independent coffee shops and grocery stores looking to impress.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 16, 2010
at 06:40 AM

Vrimj, what's the brand of the tea you are so excited about?

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on November 15, 2010
at 10:07 PM

I used to think I hated Earl Grey, but then I tried some with real Birgmont instead of just the oil, it was a revelation for me and now I am a big fan. Still can't stand the oil flavored kind though. Birgmont is a citrus flavor, something I totally missed until I tried some with bits of the actual fruit in it.

4ff24fb9a7d48305681487dfb8040a5e

(383)

on November 17, 2010
at 04:50 AM

excellent, thanks

0
2afe070b43de645b908b3cb1f4723811

on November 15, 2010
at 01:55 PM

I concur with ChenZhen on Matcha - it's ground into a powder and you get a real blast of minerals/antioxidants. Where I might differ, is having the opposite reaction re drinking it vs. coffee on an empty stomach - there is a fair amount of theanine with green tea - alleviating the side effects of caffeine alone, certainly works for me.

9d741bcbe702044635f2ce3078043054

(1435)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:15 PM

Ditto on the theanine. I've been seeing a neurologist for migraines, and he recommended I switch from coffee to green tea for my caffeine because the l-theanine has a mitigating/calming effect. I buy green tea bags from Stash Tea in Portland (via Amazon). Good stuff.

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