Now that the first day of class at SJSU and local high schools has come and gone, keeping the energy up for studying regains its important position in life for local students. Many choose to drink coffee and energy drinks to stay awake, but these beverages can upset the digestive system as well as sleep patterns, so a pot of tea makes a really good alternative, being gentler on the body, while still providing a caffeine boost. However, different kinds of tea are better for studying with than others.
One common tea myth states that black tea has the most caffeine, and green and white tea have the least amounts of caffeine. That’s incorrect; each type of tea – black, oolong, green and white – falls within a range of caffeine content, and the range for each type of tea overlaps with at least one other type. For example, it is possible to find a white tea that contains more caffeine than a particular black tea! However, white teas are so delicate in flavor and aroma that they should really be appreciated when you have nothing more serious to do than relax.
For studying, or any prolonged intellectual work, like reading, or manual work where you need a steady hand, like working on your car, a black, oolong, or green tea will provide enough flavor to keep your taste buds satisfied, but not make you jumpy like coffee can. If you prefer black tea, choose a tea from India, especially Assam, as that variety has been bred over the years to have a higher caffeine content, and it is especially good if you add milk and/or sugar. A dark or amber oolong – which has a more robust and less floral flavor – is nice study companion, and a good-quality Chinese green tea can also be a great choice. You can get flavored and unflavored black, oolong and green teas at local tea shops like Satori Tea Bar in San Pedro Square, and even some coffee shops, like Peet’s Coffee & Tea.
If you aren’t used to the taste of tea, or if you are a coffee-drinker trying to cut down on coffee, then masala chai – Indian tea with milk, sugar and spices – is a good choice for both flavor and caffeine content. You can get chai from Starbucks and Peet’s, and find chai concentrate and powdered chai mix at most Safeway, Lucky, Nob Hill, and Save Mart grocery stores if you don’t want to (or can’t) make it from scratch. Pull some packaged cookies or some chocolate from the tea party pantry to munch, and you’ll be set for a productive study session. However you drink it, tea is a great beverage to study with, keeping you alert, but not jumpy, providing great flavor and hydration, plus keeping San Jose’s students warm during these cool, windy autumn days.
Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.
For more information:
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Chocolate and tea: the perfect match?”
“Can you really de-caffeinate your tea in 30 seconds?”
“The top 10 tea myths: don’t be fooled by any of them!”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Ease the first-day-of-school jitters with a tea party”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“Enjoy San Jose’s harvest moon with some hot tea”
“What is chai and where can I get it in San Jose?”
“How to make masala chai at home”
“How to make ‘instant’ chai”
“Chinese oolong tea in San Jose”
“Stay up late with tea on New Year’s Eve”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Going back to school in San Jose? Ease into it with a tea picnic on the beach”
“Study with tea instead of coffee!”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area destinations: Peet’s Coffee & Tea downtown San Jose”