As much as I love relaxing teas, sometimes things need to be done regardless of how badly I want to close my eyes and get some sleep. When that happens I have a few select teas in my collection (it’s so embarrassingly big I might as well call it a collection) to help me keep my eyes open and my brain cells awake and functional.
I know what you’re thinking: why not have a cup of coffee instead? Well, let’s just say that coffee deeply disagrees with me. Heart palpitations, dizziness, you name it. I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way and now I rarely touch the stuff. Also, I’ve found that no matter how many cups of stimulating teas I have before eventually going to bed I’ll have no trouble falling asleep. At most, I’ll require a cup of bedtime tea to help me come down, while when I drank coffee I’d be awake and miserable for hours.
As a rule I tend to prefer green teas over black teas when it comes to staying awake. I’ve asked for recommendations at local shops several times, and just about everyone agrees that green teas are the way to go. In my experience they really do the trick. That doesn’t mean there aren’t relaxing green teas, but that’s a story for a future entry.
A green tea I love when I need that touch of stimulation is Milagritos‘ Guinda Japonesa (Japanese Cherry), made of Japanese sencha green tea and cherries.
In my opinion sencha tea has more of a pop than regular green tea, and the added cherries here make it even better. The cherry flavour, in this tasty tea come mostly from cherry stems, as you can see in the photograph – I certainly appreciate the natural ingredients. It all adds up to a delicious tea, with an intense yet light perfume that wakes you up before you even have a sip. Once you drink some you’ll find it leaves a refreshing and tart taste, like the first cherries of summer.
Moroccan Mint Tea is another great option – that is, gunpowder green tea and spearmint. It’s a fairly common blend, one which you can find from most tea shops, even if the names might change. The one I’m drinking at the moment comes from Milagritos and it didn’t disappoint, but to be honest I’ve never had a bad batch of this tea, regardless of which brand I’m buying at the moment. Green tea can be quite stimulating on its own and the mint leaves makes it extra refreshing, giving me that wake up call when I’m starting to nod off.
Yet another favourite green tea is Sencha Rose, from La Tetería, which blends Japanese green sencha tea, rose petals and rosehips.
As I mentioned earlier, I find sencha teas very stimulating, but what really does the trick here are the dried rosehips, which pack quite a punch in terms of energy and wake me up powers. The rose petals round up the flavour, making it slightly astringent but very pleasant all the same. This tea also has a very bold perfume, in the best possible way. A mild cup of tea it isn’t.
While I prefer green teas to help me stay awake and focused, sometimes I’m more in the mood for a black tea – it’s too cold, I’ve already had cups of every green tea in my collection – and thankfully I have plenty of options if that’s the case.
Chai blends of any kind are my favourite for those cold winter nights when things need to be done. I don’t add milk to my teas as a rule, not even to my chais, though I know that’s not the traditional way to have them. This allows me to keep all the power in the delicious ingredients and my eyes wide open.
The blend I’m currently enjoying, from La Tetería, has black tea, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger.
Sometimes a chai isn’t what would serve me best. In this case I prefer regular black tea with ginger. Ginger is very energizing and stimulating, and works beautifully with a good black tea. This particular blend comes from La Tetería and it has kept my brain alive and functional during many long, sad nights of law school studying.
All the blends mentioned here have been put through arduous and rigorous testing, namely, many late nights as a university student reading the most boring subjects known to humankind. I can vouch for their delicious wake me up and keep me awake superpowers with no unpleasant side effects.
As always, the teas I mention are only suggestions based on personal experience and what’s available to me. If you have a tea that works for you let us know! We always want to learn more about teas.