What’s the one thing you always do right after you get up in the morning?
If you’re anything like me, probably one of two things:
- Drink coffee.
- Drink tea.
And you and I are not alone. More than half of Americans drink tea, and more than three quarters drink coffee.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking coffee or tea. I believe both can be quite healthy, in fact…
Coffee has been shown time and again to boost metabolism.
Many teas are rich in antioxidants, among other things.
Plus, both drinks just taste so good…
What I am going to tell you is how to make your coffee or tea better. Much better.
You see, thanks to some unfortunate industry practices, there are currently some serious pitfalls to both of these beverages…
And you’re about to find out how to get around these pitfalls… in the most delicious way possible.
Let’s start with coffee.
(NOTE: If you only drink tea, you can scroll straight down to the tea section below.)
With coffee being one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, one question has come up time and again:
Is it healthy?
And a sky-high pile of research answers this question with a resounding “YES.”
Studies published in medical journals like Neuropsychobiology and Psychopharmacology have shown coffee to increase energy and improve cognitive function.
Studies such as one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in January of 2004 have shown coffee to increase fat metabolism.
So, the consensus is in: if you love coffee…keep enjoying it!
But there is one big danger with mass-produced coffee: what you put IN it.
For example, just 3 spoonfuls of Coffee Mate French Vanilla liquid creamer — one of the most popular on the market — adds over 100 calories to your mug of coffee in the morning…
And ALL of those calories come from refined sugar and trans fat — generally considered the most unhealthy fat in existence.
So, if you’re going to cream your coffee, real cream is a better option — organic if possible. And if you must sweeten it, try real maple syrup or raw sugar.
But the better option is just to drink better coffee and skip the fattening additions… or at least make it so you don’t have to add as much of them!
Did you know the coffee you get in stores has often been sitting in bags for weeks or sometimes months? Not only that… It’s often poorly roasted (read: burnt to a crisp).
And the resulting brew is a bitter, harsh beverage that needs additions like sugar and cream to be drinkable… and like I said before, THAT’S where you run into serious trouble.
Coffee is supposed to taste sweet on its own, and it does… if you get truly fresh, high-quality coffee.
And it’s actually pretty easy (and inexpensive) to get it. You have a couple of options:
- Get your coffee from a local coffee shop run by people that get their beans in fresh and roast them in-house… and know what they’re doing.
- Order your coffee online from a company of passionate coffee experts that specialize in fresh, precisely roasted coffee.
The first option can be fun adventure. Get some friends together, and go explore the coffee shops in the area!
As for the second option, I can certainly help you there…
In my quest for the perfect cup of coffee, these are some of the best online companies I’ve found:
Coffee Fool is my personal favorite. Reasonably priced, super-skilled roasters… Plus, every Friday, they do storewide sales!
Blue Bottle, one of the fastest-rising coffee companies in the country. Found in many gourmet restaurants, they’re a bit pricier than Coffee Fool, but absolutely outstanding.
Olympia Coffee. Meticulous about every aspect of coffee-making, pretty much anything Olympia rolls out is delicious. That’s why it’s the priciest of the bunch.
There are plenty more, such as Stumptown, Intelligentsia, and PT’s Coffee… so if you want to taste the good stuff, it’s definitely available to you.
And no… I’m not affiliated with any of these coffee companies. They don’t even know who I am!
I just enjoy their coffee, and I wanted to show you some of the options out there that blow store-bought coffee out of the water!
Now let’s talk about tea for a minute…
Some of the problems with tea, unfortunately, are more dangerous than with coffee.
Two main factors can make certain teas a minefield for your health:
- Tea is often heavily sprayed with pesticides.
- Most of the time, tea leaves aren’t washed before they’re put in tea bags.
The resulting pesticide residue leaches straight out into your hot water when you brew these teas and drink them.
And we’re not just talking about trace amounts here…
Several independent studies have found pesticide levels in mass-produced teas to be in excess of both U.S. and European Union safety limits.
Two such tea studies were recently done by Greenpeace in cooperation with an international DAkks-certified testing laboratory. One of the studies was in India, and the other in China.
The India Study found pesticides on 94% of the teas tested… 60% of them having levels OVER the European Union safety limit.
The China study, meanwhile, not only found pesticides on ALL the teas tested…
66% percent of the teas contained at least one of three globally banned pesticides: methomyl, fenvalerate, and endosulfan… all considered unfit for human consumption.
India and China are the two biggest producers of tea on Earth, folks. They’re where we get most of our tea!
And yes, much of that heavily sprayed tea makes it over here.
Celestial Seasonings, one of the biggest tea brands in the U.S., was recently independently tested by consumer watchdog groups.
When the results came back, 91% of their teas were found to have pesticide levels over the U.S. limits!
In fact, Celestial Seasonings has reportedly already received two warning letters from the FDA about quality control.
And what about higher-end teas?
Well, Teavana teas were also tested by the same groups, and 100% of their teas contained pesticides.
Not only that… 77% of their teas had pesticide levels in excess of European Union safety limits… and 62% contained endosulfate — one of those 3 globally banned pesticides I mentioned earlier.
The sad fact is… many of the popular brands of tea you see at the store have been similarly called out for pesticide content.
That’s why most of them are also loaded with added flavoring to cover up the inferior quality of the tea.
So, given the shocking state of the tea industry, if there were ever something I’d advise you to go organic on, tea is it.
After all, organic standards take the guesswork out by prohibiting the use of pesticides altogether.
Personally, when I found out the startling truth about tea, I scoured the market for organic brands I could trust.
Here are the three I’ve found that I trust the most:
Numi Tea, my personal favorite. CEO Ahmed Rahim is very outspokenly critical of the state of the tea industry. Numi is all-organic, with strict quality standards across the board. Plus, their Aged Earl Grey is the best I’ve ever tasted, hands down. I could drink it all day!
Rishi Tea, another outstanding, all-organic company. They’re very open about where they source each tea from. Plus, their traditional Masala Chai Tea Blend probably my favorite chai. And I’ve tried alot of them.
Traditional Medicinals. Focused in green and herbal teas, this all-organic brand is zeroed in on medicinal qualities of tea, such as clearing sinuses, aiding digestion, and just plain relaxation. On that note, their chamomile lavender tea is outstanding.
Same as with the coffees, I am NOT even remotely affiliated with any of these tea companies.
I just happen to like them… and I wanted to share with you a few brands I personally trust after doing quite a bit of research.
All these teas, by the way, are readily available for order on their company websites and on Amazon if you don’t see them at your local store.
Not to mention, if you order them online, they’re generally not much more expensive than regular teas are at the store!
And as to taste…
These organic teas are nuanced, beautiful, and delicious.
So…whether you’re drinking fresh, perfectly roasted coffee or beautifully aromatic organic tea… your mornings hopefully just got a whole lot better!
As always, I hope you’ve found this enlightening.
Dr. Amy Lee