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Why Tea Is The Better Caffeine Choice For Runners

instagram.com/harneyteas

As a self-professed coffee addict—I even own an espresso machine and burr grinder that I use daily—I find myself feeling jittery after an afternoon cup of coffee. After having issues falling asleep, I started limiting screen-time before bed and, well, my caffeine intake.

I don’t just love the boost from coffee; the taste of a cup of cappuccino is a party for my tastebuds and the smell immediately helps me perk up. However, I started feeling the affects of coffee—on both my sleep and stomach—and decided to cut down on cups per day. How do I survive, you ask?

With tea—and I use the Cup O’Coffee Mask from Lush.

Before making the switch to one cup of coffee before 11 a.m. and tea should I need any extra caffeine boost—I have completely cut soda out of my diet—I wanted to find out if there were any additional benefits I would be giving my body.

Emeric Harney of Harney & Sons—he is the market manager and grandson of founder John Harney—explained that the caffeine in tea ranges from 40-60mg, which is definitely enough to get an energy boost.

“Tea is a nice steady boost, as it also has an amino acid in it, L-Theanine,” he notes. “This stimulates your bodies production of dopamine and serotonin, which mellow the caffeine boost into something a bit more pleasant.”

This means, no crazy spikes or caffeine crashes. Additionally, because tea is sugar-free—I find I don’t have to add sugar to many of the flavors from Harney & Sons to elevate the taste—you just get to enjoy the nutrients and antioxidants in a cup.

Of course, coffee addicts often get the gadgets to prepare the perfect cup at home or turn to the experts, so knowing how to make a proper cup of tea is important when making the switch. When it comes to tea, preparing it can depend on what type you are using, but Harney explains that some things are standard.

“You want to use one level teaspoon (the kind you bake with) for 6-8 ounces water. The water quality is also important; in ideal situations you might use spring water, but as long as it’s filtered you should be okay,” he explains. “From there, with white and green tea you’ll want to use 175ºF water and infuse for 1-3 minutes. Black tea will require boiling water (212ºF) and 4-5 minutes. If you find a tea is too strong or heavy, it’s best to play with the amount of tea you are using, and leave temperature and time alone.”

Yes, as Harney mentions, there are many different types of teas. I prefer white teas usually with a fruity flavor (such as their White Peach Tea) but since making the switch, have found I enjoy English Breakfast Tea with a splash of almond milk and dash of stevia. I have found that high-quality teas can make all of the difference—just as with coffee—and with most of Harney & Sons teas giving me 50 sachets for $20, don’t mind paying a little extra for excellent taste.

If you are looking at getting into tea, Harney suggests that those who have health in mind try Matcha tea. He explains it is different than most tea because you don’t infuse it in the same way, getting more benefits.

“Because Matcha is a powdered tea you are completely ingesting it,” he adds. “Some people also gravitate to herbal teas as the lack of caffeine makes them more hydrating—and many of them can certainly calm and relax you and help you prepare for a good night’s rest.”

Ashley Lauretta

Ashley Lauretta

Ashley Lauretta is the freelance web editor for Women's Running. A freelance journalist, she is the assistant editor at LAVA Magazine and has written for espnW, ELLE, Men's Journal, VICE Sports, Health and more. Find her online at ashleylauretta.com and on Twitter at @ashley_lauretta.