Lots of coffee drinkers are hearing the call of tea for a variety of reasons. One of the things that impedes them, though, is not quite knowing which tea to switch to. Here’s a bit of the whys and wherefores to help you along.

A spiced chai is a great substitute for coffee, especially if you like milk in your coffee. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A spiced chai is a great substitute for coffee, especially if you like milk in your coffee. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Cutting Down on Caffeine

Some coffee drinkers want to reduce their caffeine intake but not eliminate it altogether. On average, teas have about half or even less the amount of caffeine as an average cup of coffee. Go for one of the breakfast blend teas. There are different versions, including English Breakfast, Scottish Breakfast, and Irish Breakfast – often very proprietary blends that are based on black tea from Assam, Kenya, or Sri Lanka, and livened with Keemun black tea or others.

Great Flavors and No Boredom

Drinking coffee day after day can get a bit monotonous. It’s a less-often named reason for switching than the caffeine one. And many think that tea is also boring. But the variety of teas seems endless, falling into these groups: white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erhs. Plus there are lots of teas with flavorings added, so your choices are virtually endless. No chance for boredom. You will find yourself trying various ones and then gravitating to those you like best. Many say Earl Grey is mild-flavored with a delicate aroma but quite distinctive, not boring – a great place to start for many.

Matching Tea Flavors to Coffee Flavors

Even if you’re bored with coffee, you might find tea rather too different to take all at once. But if you select teas with similar flavors, the transition will be smoother. A nice spiced tea (often called “chais” here in the U.S.) is a great option. They’re especially good if you like flavored coffees. Several options are out there, with hazelnut, vanilla, pumpkin, and other flavors similar to those coffee creamers. The flavor transition will be a close one. Lapsang Souchong is recommended by some due to its strong smoky taste that also goes well with milk and sweetener, the same way that many people drink their coffee. Others say that Genmaicha reminds them of Guatemalan coffees, and they’re a good option if you don’t take milk in your tea.

Coffee to tea pairings:

  • Kenyan, Zimbabwe, Ethiopian Harrar – Earl Grey
  • Brazilian, Kona – China Rose Petal
  • Sumatran – Jasmine, Ti Kwan Yin
  • Guatemalan, Sulawesi – Keemun
  • Tanzania Peaberry, Ethiopian Sidamo – Assam (Goldentip, or extra fancy)
  • Puerto Rican Yauco Selecto, Papua New Guinea – Formosa Oolong, China Gui Hua (black tea with pieces of dried kwei flowers)
  • Espresso – Imperial Gunpowder, Lapsang Souchong

Time to Switch?

Well, now you see some teas to get you started. And you certainly don’t have to go “cold turkey” on the coffee. Start with a tea or two, or better yet buy a sampler pack so you can try several and start to get a feel for what satisfies you. Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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