It's the middle of the work day, and you can start to feel the energy draining out of your keyboard-clacking fingertips. Suddenly, you feel yourself fading at an alarming rate -- and you know you need to do something about it. So you go for the instant energy cure you already know so well: a steaming mug of your favorite beverage. While that afternoon slump may seem like the perfect opportunity to sip a cup of coffee, you might want to think twice about a mid-day brew -- or you may trade in a calm focus for a anxiety-filled, jittery next few hours.
Opting for an energy boosting tea, instead, could be the savior that picks up your afternoon without the crash.
Why Tea > Coffee for Energy
Drinking certain tea can reduce stress while still providing you with a good kick of energy. While some teas, like herbal tea varieties, are caffeine free, most tea contains caffeine, though in lower amounts than coffee. Because different kinds of tea have different amounts of caffeine, you can easily cater your tea choice to your energy needs on any given day.
Tea has become the most widely consumed beverage next to water — and with good reason. Unlike its cup of coffee counterpart, tea is known for a variety of flavors and functions. In fact, research shows that drinking tea can lower cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Moreover, even the ritual of preparing tea may have a calming effect during an episode of anxiety.
If you’re looking for the best teas for energy, here are some options to consider:
Rooibos is one of 1,000 varieties of tea. This originally grew in the mountains of Cederberg, South Africa, and was first enjoyed by the Khoisan people. European settlers in the region noticed how the tribe would scour the mountains to look for the bushy, low-growing Aspalathus linearis plant. The settlers would then start drinking Rooibos tea as a more inexpensive alternative to black tea imported from the East.
Although rooibos tea doesn’t contain any caffeine, it still boosts energy by replenishing critical antioxidants in your body. Aspalathin and nothofagin are flavonoids with immense antioxidant properties found in this type of tea for energy.
Another benefit of rooibos tea is that it has low tannin levels, which doesn’t interfere with the body’s absorption of nutrients like iron. Additionally, it doesn’t contain oxalic acid, which is dangerous in high levels for people with kidney problems. It’s an ideal option if you have kidney stones or other related diseases.
Rooibos tea has a sweet, nutty flavor and is often likened to hibiscus tea. It has a reddish-brown hue and can be consumed hot or cold, depending on your preference.
Matcha is another popular choice if you're looking for a tea for energy. This high-grade green tea's history goes back as early as the seventh to tenth centuries. The Tang Dynasty steamed matcha tea leaves and formed them into bricks to make their harvests easy to transport and trade. These bricks were then roasted and pulverized into a bright green tea powder, which was then mixed with water and salt to make matcha tea.
When talking about matcha, though, most people immediately associate it with Japan. This is because the Japanese have perfected the matcha cultivation process, and the tea has a significant role in the Japanese tea ceremony or “chado.”
Matcha came to Japan in 1191 when Myoan Eisai, a Japanese Buddhist monk, brought green tea seeds with him when he returned home after studying Buddhism in China. At first, matcha was only produced in limited quantities. Fortunately, Zen Buddhists found a new way to cultivate the plant. They grew it under shaded conditions, which contributes to maximizing the health benefits of the tea. The lack of sun exposure boosts chlorophyll levels in this green tea leaf and reduces the plant's photosynthesis process. This means that naturally occurring l-theanine, antioxidants, and caffeine remain in high concentration in these special green tea leaves upon harvest and consumption.
Matcha green tea is your best bet if you’re looking for high caffeine in tea. Dissolving four teaspoons of matcha powder in one cup or 237 ml of water can produce 280 mg of caffeine. This amount is significantly higher than caffeine in traditional green tea, with only 35 mg. The presence of l-theanine in matcha can also give you a longer and more stable energy boost than the intense buzz and crash you get from a cup of coffee.
The caffeine content in matcha depends largely on how much powder you put into your drink. Most people also don’t drink a full cup. Rather, they opt to drink two to four ounces (59 to 118 ml).
Matcha tea — just like its other green tea counterparts — is high in antioxidants. It’s also one of the best teas for focus since it reportedly helps boost brain function, such as attention, reaction time, and memory.
3. Yerba Mate
Now, let’s go to South America, where yerba mate has been consumed for centuries. It was originally enjoyed by the Guarani people. Initially, the tribe consumed it by chewing on the leaves of I. paraguariensis. Other times, they would put the chewed-up leaves in a gourd and drink the infusion through a small cane straw.
When Jesuit priests arrived in the area, they initially forbade the consumption of yerba mate. But once they saw the health benefits that the plant provided, they promoted it and even found a method to germinate the seeds and boost their supply.
Yerba mate is also considered one of the best teas for energy and focus. It offers 85 mg of caffeine, which is more than the caffeine in green tea. Regular drinkers of this tea have also reported that it boosts mental alertness like coffee, without making them feel jittery.
An additional benefit of yerba mate tea is that it may protect you against infections. One study showed that a high dose of its extract deactivated E. coli. E. coli is a common bacterium that causes food poisoning symptoms, like loose bowel and stomach cramps.
Ginger originally grew in Southeast Asia and was one of the first spices to have been exported throughout the Austronesian region thousands of years ago. The plant has already gained a reputation for bolstering the immune system, which made it sought-after.
While ginger makes a caffeine free tea, it has been shown to aid in energy and focus levels. Ginger tea is rich in antioxidants, proven to boost energy levels without the crash that you’d normally feel after consuming coffee. It’s also one of the best teas for focus since has been proven to improve cognitive function -- even improving memory impairment and aiding in degenerative neurological diseases.
Additionally, ginger tea has anti-inflammatory properties, aids in digestion and boosts your immune system to ward off potential disease. If you are looking for a tea with ginger's many benefits but an extra energy kick, you can consider opting for a masala chai tea, which does contain caffeine as it is a black tea base.
5. Black Tea
Black tea is one of the major categories of tea, and one of the best teas for energy. It was originally crafted in China when people started to ferment tea leaves to extend their storage life. The process of fermentation resulted in a darker version of the leaves and a stronger flavor.
Black tea contains approximately 45 mg of caffeine in every cup. Depending on how long you steep it, though, the amount of caffeine can reach as high as 90 mg. This could account for the increased energy levels experienced by black tea drinkers. While this may be a higher caffeine level for someone who typically drinks herbal teas, for example, the presence of the amino acid l-theanine in black tea counterbalances the effect of caffeine. This powerful compound provides more stable energy compared to coffee. L-theanine has also been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Black tea has become a favorite beverage for people around the world because of the health benefits it offers. Drinking black tea may help improve your heart health by lowering bad or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which transports cholesterol to cells. Too much bad cholesterol can lead to plaques or build-ups on the arteries, which are a cause of heart failure or stroke.
Moreover, polyphenols found in black tea may help you maintain a healthy gut biome by facilitating the growth of good bacteria. This drink also has anti-microbial properties to inhibit the spread of bad bacteria.
6. Pu erh
Pu erh tea is a variation of black tea. The major difference between the two is that the former is post-fermented. This means that its leaves undergo microbial fermentation after the initial fermentation process of drying and rolling. This method allows the leaves to stay fresh for up to 50 years.
Pu erh tea's history goes back to the Eastern Han Dynasty and became famous during the Ming Dynasty. It became popular among traders because of how long it lasted, even when traveling for a prolonged period. Plus, the taste improved the longer it was stored.
A cup of pu erh tea can contain as much as 100 mg of caffeine — nearly the same as caffeine in black tea. This tea can provide nearly the same energy boost as a small cup of coffee, making it one of the best teas for energy.
This type of tea also promotes a healthy heart and cleanses your body from toxins and free radicals. Hence, it can help prevent chronic illnesses and even cancer.
Drinking tea is a great alternative to coffee, especially if you don’t like the jittery feeling that a cup of coffee causes. This beverage can give you a more stable energy and focus boost to keep you alert for longer. In this article, we went over some of the best teas for energy: rooibos, matcha green tea, yerba mate, ginger, black, and pu erh tea. These teas offer several health benefits as well, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antioxidant properties.
Try out the different types of teas for energy to find out what works best for you. Use your Mosi infuser to test out various teas easily and bring them on the go.