I appear to cycle between drinks for my warm morning beverage. For a time, I was all about the coffee. Roasted my own beans. Was starting to experiment with my own blends. Etc.

Though I still loved coffee, coffee stopped loving me. My body was not happy with my favorite beverage.

So I switched to teas. While I have some teas that I can pick up, mostly, I make my own tea blends. This is because most tea blends contain “natural flavors.” There’s generally about a 50-50 chance that I’ll react badly to a natural flavor.

I was happy with my tea choices for a long while, but I was still looking for that ultimate coffee substitute.

Unfortunately, nothing but coffee tastes like coffee.

I was able to drink it again for a while right after my knee surgery. My body thinks coffee is a laxative. At that point, I needed a regular laxative due to the opioids I was taking. Win-win.

So I drank more coffee for a while, until recently, quite frankly, when my body decided once again that coffee is totally evil and I shouldn’t drink any of it.

Now, I’m back to tea.

When I want a caffeinated tea, I have some lovely combinations that I’ve come up with recently.

For black tea, I prefer Assam tea to Ceylon. Ceylon always has a bitter aftertaste to me, while Assam doesn’t. I have a beautiful Assam that I use as the base for my black teas.

Then, I get to add things to the tea bags.

One of my recent favorites has been Assam, dried ginger root, and dried elderberries. It gives the tea a nice fruity taste, while the dried ginger root gives it a lovely spiciness.

I’ve been making my own ground chai mix. I understand that this is an abomination to the purists out there. However, it’s been a really easy way for me to make chai tea in the mornings.

Here’s the recipe:

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoon ground cloves

6 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

I use about 1/2 a teaspoon in a tea bag. I’ll add this to both my rooibos tea, to make a decaf chai, as well as the Assam. And I’ve made a delicious chai-spiced coconut chia seed pudding with it. (OMG so good!)

One of the other recent ingredients that I’ve recently acquired is vanilla powder. I’m still figuring out what teas go well with the vanilla powder.

We grow a lot of mint along the edge of the house. I have dried a lot of various types of mint leaves. I’ve been trying the various mints with the vanilla powder.

Of course, I first tried it with the chocolate mint. Sheer heaven. It went well with the peppermint tea as well. Last night, I tried the apple mint, but I didn’t add enough of the vanilla powder to actually make a difference. Will have to try that again later.

I have essence of Bergamot oil. I plan on getting some more Assam and making myself what’s called Earl La Crème tea, which is black tea, Bergamot, and vanilla. (That was what I’d bought the vanilla powder for in the first place.)

I still go back to my favorite coffee-like beverage now and again. That’s a combination of chicory root and roasted dandelion roots. Some mornings, that’s just what I want.

For non-caffeinated tea, I still frequently make my hibiscus, dried ginger root, and elderberry tea. I like dried rosehips with that as well sometimes. Lemongrass, hibiscus, and rooibos is another bright tea that I like. Or peppermint and licorice root tea.

If I could switch back to coffee, would I? For a while, absolutely. But eventually, I’d go back to tea. As I said, I cycle between the two constantly, and I’m just in a tea mood for the time being.

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