It’s easy for some people to write off herbal tea as a wimpy alternative to the caffeinated stuff. Of course, even caffeinated tea has been called a weak replacement for coffee, though we know that’s not at all the case. My point is: Herbal tea can be vitalizing in its own way.
I’m an anxious person in general, and have become even more so throughout the pandemic. While my morning caffeine is nonnegotiable, when I try to throw in an afternoon cup, my body reacts swiftly and unfavorably. Once I began incorporating herbal teas into my routine, I found that they gave me the boost I’d been looking for, albeit not a caffeinated one. I make a pot of smoothing chamomile tea with oat milk and honey as a sub for an afternoon cup of jitter-inducing coffee (the pastry on the side is, of course, nonnegotiable). A cup of peppermint tea after a meal has a similar invigorating quality as an espresso (without, of course, the caffeine hit), plus it has some amaro-like vibes, thanks to its vegetal notes woven with menthol and a bit of bitterness. Smoky-sweet rooibos tea is even being used by some nonalcoholic drink creators, like the Digesteaf cocktail in Julia Bainbridge’s Good Drinks, which features an “amaro” concentrate from Steven Smith Teamaker, a blend of dried roots, flowers, and rooibos tea leaves. “With almost every sip, it morphs from bitter to sweet and then back again,” writes Bainbridge of the brew.