Kaitlin’s Column: The tea

Kaitlin Ryan, Arts & Life Editor

Are you a coffee person or a tea person? It is a polarizing debate. This week, Kaitlin discusses her recent switch from coffee to tea to avoid caffeine jitters. (Kaitlin)

I never thought the day would come, but I admit, with shame: I am becoming a tea person.

No, I am not becoming someone who is obsessed with gossip, even if my ears do perk up when someone tells me, “Okay, you can not tell anybody this but…”

As someone who once centered their personality around loving coffee — going to the extent of owning a mug that said “But first, coffee” — this is a big change for me. I went from craving the buzz and accepting the jitters to trudging through weeks of caffeine withdrawal headaches and exhaustion. 

Now that I am out on the other side, I can say my day-to-day is much more peaceful. It is calmer and honestly, a bit more boring to be a tea person. 

Tea is garbage water.”

— Ted Lasso

The coffee life was, aesthetically more fast-paced, driven and even powerful. There is much more of an allure to a coffee addiction; it is a founding feature of the American dream, after all. Step one: start your day with three jolting cups of pure caffeine. Step two: acquire a white picket fence home.

The same association is just not there when it comes to tea.

As Jason Sudeikis’s Ted Lasso once said, “Tea is garbage water.” I used to wholeheartedly agree. When I was a kid, unless the tea came with a yellow and red striped straw and contained three days of the recommended daily sugar intake, I wanted nothing to do with it. 

Growing up, my mother drank coffee every morning. The sound of the pot perking and the hearty smell woke me up each day. 

Coffee would become something we bonded over. Drinking our cups in the morning while watching the news and grabbing an iced coffee after school were times of bonding for my mom and me.

I started drinking coffee religiously my freshman year of high school. Dunkin used to offer 99 cent small iced coffees on Tuesdays and that was the most important weekly transaction. 

But as I got older and life gave me more reasons to be stressed — particularly this year — drinking coffee made me way too anxious.

For a while, I bargained with the loss of this infatuation, this addiction. I tried decaf — just sad. I tried to avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach— even though Healthline.com claims that coffee spikes your cortisol levels regardless of stomach filled status. 

Nothing worked, so I accepted that coffee and I needed to take a break. 

To fill the 8oz. void in my heart, I made tea collecting and drinking a mini-hobby. For a while, I was searching high and low (Whole Foods and Aldi) for the perfect stress relief tea. My favorite is Tazo’s Calm Chamomile, for the record.

I still get a bit of energy from tea, because some flavors contain caffeine. Even if it contains less caffeine than a cup of coffee, Yogi’s Sweet Tangerine Positive Energy tea gives me a boost. It may be a placebo, but I feel like it puts me in a positive mood, too. 

For the time being, I will start my day with tea. I will finish my day with chamomile and try out any new flavors that catch my attention. 

I often think about the day I will drink oat milk lattes on the regular again. Because coffee and I always find each other again. Put that on a T-Shirt. 

So, are you a coffee drinker or a tea drinker?