The Tea Drinker

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jul 5, 2016

Filed under: Personal 173 comments

I was going to start the Good Robot postmortem today, but that needs a little more time. So instead, please enjoy whatever this is:

I’ve often made reference to the fact that I drink a lot of tea. It’s become something of a running joke on the Diecast. This has led to the mistaken conclusion that I’m some sort of tea aficionado. Given how much I consume, I must surely be aware of all the flavors, be particular about my brands, and be picky about how I prepare it, right? Like a wine snob, but for tea?

Well, no. In truth, the only good thing I can say about tea is that I like it better than water.

So why do I drink it?

I sit at a computer a lot, and I like to drink while I’m doing it. And I generally don’t want to spend all day drinking water. I want something with some kind of flavor.

When I was in my 20’s (way back in the 90’s) I drank soda. That is my drink of choice. I preferred citrus-y stuff, like Sprite. I like cold drinks, I like carbonation, and I like tart. Perfect. My mouth still waters when I hear the crack of someone opening a can of soda. But soda has a lot of sugar and I was getting fat.

I switched to diet cola for a bit, but it wasn’t really my thing. Also, diet cola back then had a strange aftertaste that I didn’t like. (I think this is fixed now. These days I can’t even tell the difference between regular and diet.)

I messed around with some other drinks. I tried some Gatorade type stuff and made an interesting discovery: Strong food dye makes me hyper. I have a theory – totally unsupported except through my own personal anecdotes – that this is actually a common thing. For years people claimed “candy makes kids hyper”. Which was taken as “sugar makes kids hyper”. Which has apparently been debunked? But maybe it wasn’t the sugar. Maybe it’s all that dye. (Or some other ingredient common in candy but rare in normal food.) On more than one occasion I’ve watched my own kids eat candy and then engage in pronounced, sudden, uncharacteristic stimming behavior. I don’t know. One family doesn’t make for a study, but I do know when my brain is malfunctioning. And having strong food dyeOr again, maybe some other ingredient unique to candy and “liquid candy” like Gatorade. was clearly causing problems.

So I switched to Propel fitness water. Don’t get me wrong; I knew it wasn’t a “fitness” drink. But it was the right flavor, it was mostly clear, and it wasn’t as sugary as soda. But then money was tight and it turns out that whatever I’m drinking needs to be cheap, because I want to drink a lot of it.

So I switched to coffee. (Black.) It wasn’t cold, it wasn’t carbonated, and it wasn’t tart, but gallon-for-gallon it was probably about ten times cheaper than Propel. And it turns out that caffeine stuff is pretty awesome. But the problem was that I was drinking too much of it. Way too much. It was making my sleep irregular. It was also causing me to clench my teeth all the time. After some months this became agonizing.

So I switched to decaff. That helped, but after some time the jaw-clenching problem returned. Also, my teeth were falling apart and I’d cracked a rib. I was worried all this caffeine was depleting my calcium.

So I switched to tea. My favorite tea would be breakfast tea. But I was also developing various health problems that are too unpleasant to discuss in polite company. Let’s just say that there are somethings that, while they might normally seem harmless, will cause me chestbuster-alien levels of discomfort the next day. (But not, I might add, in my chest.)

So I switched to white tea. I’ve got a couple of brands I trust, and I’m shy about trying new flavors because the consequences for drinking something that irritates my system are pretty extreme.

So no, I’m not a huge fan of tea. I drink white tea, and white tea barely makes my top ten list of tolerable beverages.

If things don’t work out with white tea then I’m switching to water, because I hate herbal tea.



[1] Or again, maybe some other ingredient unique to candy and “liquid candy” like Gatorade.

From The Archives:

173 thoughts on “The Tea Drinker

  1. Yerushalmi says:


    I had never even considered how much some people go through to choose a drink.

    All my life I’ve basically just drank seltzer. Strong seltzer, heavily carbonated, made from one of those home seltzer-preparing devices.

    I’ve never even considered drinking anything else. I can’t stand the taste of sugary drinks; I’ve never been a fan of sweet. I can’t stand the smell of coffee, much less the taste (I leave the room whenever my wife makes herself coffee). And tea has too much of a “cough medicine” connotation.

    1. Warclam says:

      Ugh, I know right? Coffee smells exactly like burnt toast to me.

      1. I hate the taste of coffee so much that I can’t even eat desserts with coffee in them. I’ll be going “YECH!” and people will be staring at me like I’m an alien. It doesn’t matter how much sugar, cream, and chocolate you try to cover that coffee with, I can taste it, and it tastes NASTY.

      2. BenD says:

        But burnt toast is one of the best smells on Earth, BenD wrote while guzzling coffee.

    2. Noah Gibbs says:

      And yet my wife (and numerous others) can’t drink much of anything carbonated or she’ll get serious abdominal pain, several times daily.

      It took us a surprising amount of time to track that problem down to the carbonated-right-in-our-kitchen seltzer we were using, because why would that cause problems?

      But it does.

      I’m several iterations through the “find a regular drink” process for working from home as well. Currently I put a little pure caffeine powder into fruit juice, but you have to pick something with some tannins — pomegranate, blackberry or blueberry, say. If you pick something with no native bitterness or the wrong texture (apple, pear, white grape, any of the blended-fruit “nectars”), the caffeine either doesn’t dissolve or dissolves but tastes really horrible because nothing masks the bitterness.

      1. Carbonated beverages screw with the acid levels in your stomach. I had to quit them myself.

        Shamus, I’m not a fan of “herbal” tea but I have caffeine problems as well so I switched to drinking various fruit teas, chilled. You might try Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger–it’s a mixed rose hip tea so it’s NICE and tart. Most of their fruit teas are pretty decent, and there are enough of them that you can mix it up if you get bored with one.

        Also if you REALLY miss the occasional carbonated beverage, try treating yourself with a kombucha every now and again.

        1. Also a little tart cherry juice in water is pretty good.

          I’ve gone through the Saga of Something To Drink myself. I have a hard time staying hydrated and just drinking plain tap water makes me feel ill for some reason.

          1. I’d also recommend my favorite brand of coconut water, but it’s expensive. :P

        2. I’ll second Celestial Seasonings. Got a box each of their Sleepytime and Chamomile teas sitting around in case of caffeine emergencies. :D

          1. Chamomile tea is pure evil.

        3. He is asleep so I am going to go ahead and say this (he hates discussing is food issues, in fact I am surprised you all got this much)- part of the issue is food allergies/intolerances/whatever you want to call it- including all citrus, and most fruits, amongst other things. Including food flavorings- and those are tricky to track down. Occasionally we can find something cranberry, mango, or peach that doesn't bother him. Otherwise, no go. And we do have kombucha (purchased plus make my own), which he loves, but can only tolerate small amounts.

          1. Viktor says:

            If it’s only fresh fruit, heating may let him eat it. Depends on what type of intolerance it is, so look it up, but 10 seconds in the microwave lets some people eat citrus when they couldn’t before.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Its funny how when you mention that you like tea,people suddenly consider you sophisticated.Even if you treat it as your junk food equivalent.

    My poison of choice is this radioactively green* bunch of chemicals that is advertised as green apple.But I dont care what it contains,I love the taste.

    *Yes,I know that when you blend green apple skin you get that color.But this juice is not green due to apple skin,its all just chemicals.

    1. Fists says:

      It’s a cultural thing that varies depending on what’s common in the area, here in Australia it’s really common to drink tea like Shamus does, as a water substitute, so it doesn’t really have that idea of sitting down with tea cups tied to it. With wine, in Australia, the USA and England people all seem to go to that stereotype of expecting you to be a wine snob/aficionado if you buy bottles regularly but in many parts of france it’s considered fairly standard or even something that’s largely terrible because all of the wineries have heaps of offal grade junk to offload while the good stuff is exported.

      1. Da Mage says:

        I dunno, goon is technically wine, and I don’t think it’s possible to be a goon snob.

        1. Fists says:

          That’s why I said in bottles :p

          There’s definitely goon snobs out there though,

          1. SKD says:

            Great. Now I have this irresistible urge to google Canadian Surrealist Porn

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Well,I dont know what I expected to find,but I certainly did not expect to hear the high pitched siren.Next time,I wont check out the video first.

            2. Richard says:

              Well, that certainly lived up to expectations. Some of that is so very weird that it’s actually safe for work.

              Most of the results were not, though, so don’t.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Safe for work maybe,but definitely not for the brain.

    2. Mephane says:

      The connoisseur knows that radioactivity is blue.

      1. Andy says:

        And Fiesta Ware collectors will tell you that red is the radioactive-est color.

        1. Chuk says:

          Isn’t it orange? That’s the only kind I’ve ever actually measured with a Geiger counter.

          1. Duneyrr says:

            I don’t have a geiger counter here, so I wouldn’t know how much more radioactive my tangerine bowl and mug is from all the other colors I have :|

      2. Kelerak says:

        Does that mean that Fallout 3 actually got something right by introducing Nuka Cola Quantum?

  3. Da Mage says:

    I don’t mind a straight black tea, no sugar or milk…..but I mostly just have water on a day-to-day basis.

    1. Incunabulum says:

      Cold black tea with lemon and no sugar. Decaffeinated if you must. Ridiculously easy to make. Take a multi-gallon jug, fill it with water and an appropriate number of tea bags seal and set out in the sun in the morning, pick up and bring in when you come back from work. Add some halved lemons and put in the fridge to chill.

      I prefer it kind of weak so that it functions like water, but doesn’t *taste* like water – especially in the field where you need to keep hydrated , even ice water doesn’t go down as easy.

      I’ve never had ‘white’ tea, but I agree that ‘herbal’ (or ‘green’) teas are usually pretty bad unless spiked with a feth-ton of sugar.

      1. Only the most vile of heathens would suggest putting sugar in green tea!

        But i have to confess i do prefer a red or white tea if im to drink lots of it.

        1. Incunabulum says:

          Well, then you’d have to assume most of the major beverage companies are run by vile heathens because all the green tea you can buy pre-bottled is sweetened.

          1. tmtvl says:

            Well yeah, most of the major companies are vile heathens. Or should I say, most of the major Corporations? (dun-dun-dunnn)

  4. MichaelGC says:

    It’s not cheap, but these guys do the nicest teas I’ve ever tasted:

    (They are part of a giant multinational, of course: any apparent mom-&-poppery is purely for marketing purposes.)

  5. Henson says:

    If green teas aren’t hazardous to your health, you may want to also consider genmaicha, which is essentially green tea with less caffeine.

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      The caffeine point is likely very much a matter of technique and variety, but I am a big genmaicha fan. It’s also one of the few teas that I don’t mind drinking at pretty much any temperature, and tolerates “stewing” well. It’s still pleasant even finding that 3/4 full cup with a teabag still in it that was forgotten about an hour ago.

  6. Nick Pitino says:

    Could be worse, this use to be my go to drink:

    Then none of the stores around here had it anymore for some reason. Oh sure there were other flavors, but Cherry Drink and Lime Drink cannot hold a candle to Blue Drink.

    It’s that nice shade of Cherenkov blue that really makes it.

    1. Axehurdle says:

      I used to buy an orange drink that didn’t even have drink on the label. It just said “orange”.

      1. Kylroy says:

        I used to buy store-brand drink mix. Learned way more than I ever intended about what cheap food dyes the human digestive tract can and cannot digest. Would have saved me a lot of worry if I’d known that the the dye in their Fruit Punch laughs at my stomach acid.

        1. Incunabulum says:

          Am . . . am I bleeding? Inside? That’s bad. Wait, blood shouldn’t be that color. Oh shit, I’m gonna die!

    2. Abnaxis says:

      That reminds me of the barrel juice you used to be able to get for about a nickel a piece.

      …which apparently no longer exists on the internet? All I can find online is name-brand stuff, not the cheap things I remember from childhood.

      1. Hugs? That is what ours was here.

        1. Hugs are still around, just upgraded to “brand”. Same thing. I never had soda or koolaid growing up but my mom would occasionally buy hugs as a treat, especially for parties.

    3. LCF says:

      What sort of house-cleaning chemicals is that, and why would anyone drink it?

    4. This reminds me of all the jokes about “purple drank.” XD

  7. Duoae says:

    It’s been confirmed that some dyes cause hyperactivity. I remember skittles, smarties and (I think) fruit gums or opal fruits changing some of the dyes during the 80s or early 90s.

    I mostly drink tea when I’m at home because I’m British and particular about the brewing of my tea and the quality of milk that goes into it – which you can’t control so well in other environments.

    Otherwise I drink coffee as I’m not particular about that but do like the taste and nowadays you can get pretty good machine coffee so it’s not a hassle.

    I too drink a lot when in front ofmy computer or consoles but really don’t like drinking water that much but have gone off cordials and other additives because I find them too sweet or overpowering when drunk in quantity (which is what I used to do).

    My favourite cold drink is 50/50 fruit juice/sparkling water – even with the pulp…

    1. Incunabulum says:

      Not debating whether or not dyes cause hyper activity but – a company changing recipes doesn’t mean much. They often do it if there’s enough people who *think* there’s a problem, regardless of whether or not there is one.

      If enough customers thing Dye no5 is a problem you just change it rather than spend time trying to show them they’re wrong.

      1. Duoae says:

        Ah, seems you’re right. I had remembered the reports of the 80s and around 2011 in the news and from fda but it seems the evidence still isn’t conclusive.

        Sorry for overstating!

    2. Richard says:

      There’s a fair bit of evidence that a lot of people have allergies or sensitivity to Tartrazine (E102, FD&C Yellow 5) and to a lesser extant, Sunset Yellow (E110, FD&C Yellow 6).

      There have also been some studies linking these two (and a couple of other colourings) to hyperactivity in children, but the studies were fairly small and so provided little evidence.

      It’s quite hard to do these types of studies. Something about experimenting on children by giving them sweets…

  8. Mephane says:

    When I saw the title and image, I was so 100% sure this would be one of those posts where you dissect that you observe in which you will refer to by the metaphor .

    And then you surprised me by making it literally about drinking tea instead. :D

    1. Mephane says:

      Ah yes, my fault. I forgot I have to manually escape angle brackets here. The original comment was:

      When I saw the title and image, I was so 100% sure this would be one of those posts where you dissect <phenomenon> that you observe in <group> which you will refer to by the metaphor <post title>.

      And then you surprised me by making it literally about drinking tea instead. :D

  9. Jeysie says:

    As someone else who also can’t stand the taste of plain water but needs to be careful of caffeine/sugar/fat, I’ve been searching for alternatives myself.

    If you like/can eat cucumbers, then cucumber water is actually pretty good. You peel and slice a cucumber and let a slice sit in a glass of water for about an hour in the fridge before drinking it. (If you like making big batches ahead of time, then slice about half a cucumber per two liter container and let it sit overnight in the fridge.)

    Another one I like is mint water. You take one of those tea infusers, put a tablespoon of mint (as in from a spice bottle of mint) in it, and let it steep. You can either treat it exactly like you would normal tea, or again, brew a whole bunch and stick it in the fridge overnight, though you might want to add two tablespoons for that. (Actual mint leaves would probably be even better, but they don’t sell them at my local grocery.) You can also let a slice of lemon soak in it too, though that might possibly cause stomach upset if you’re prone to acid issues. (Oddly even though I have GERD it doesn’t seem to affect me too badly.)

    Though I admit I personally don’t mind herbal tea. Both Celestial Seasonings Chamomile and their Vanilla Sleepytime Tea make for pretty good iced tea and have exactly the effect you think they would.

    1. Grudgeal says:

      Celestial Seasonings had a lovely Honey Vanilla Chai. Didn’t even need milk, I just drank a cup or two of it bare before going to bed. It was one of my favourite brands.

      They stopped selling it last year and it’s just been irreplacable, no other brand produces a Chai that good at a reasonable price. I still have a box of it, sitting lonely on my shelf. I don’t have the heart to finish it, knowing I will never get another cup of it ever again once the last bag is gone.

      1. Jeysie says:

        Celestial Seasonings is awesome. I have fun buying different combinations of herbals to try making iced tea from. (I have an American-style electric kettle and a Takeya iced tea infuser thingy.) I think I tried their Chai once; sad to hear they don’t make it any more. :/ Does Bigelow have anything similar? They’re kind of the runner-up to Celestial at my grocery store when it comes to herbals.

        Though I have to go easy on any blend with black tea in it because of the caffeine; it does a number on my GERD issues if I drink too much of it. (Oddly it does not have much of a stimulative effect on me; I’m the type of person who can drink an espresso at 8PM and still go to bed at 9PM.)

    2. Duoae says:

      You can also buy mint tea in teabag form as well! Twinnings do a nice one. I think I also tried mint&green tea and that was okay too.

      1. Jeysie says:

        I didn’t realize this. :) I will have to look for this when my spice bottle runs out. Thanks!

        1. Grudgeal says:

          If there are any shops that carry Turkish goods in your area, there’s a tea brand called Dogadan that makes a very good mint tea.

    3. Lazlo says:

      I know in my experience, if you plant a little bit of mint, the only “care” it takes is fighting it back to prevent it from taking over your entire yard.

      1. Jeysie says:

        Sadly I live in an apartment building, but my quick research suggests you can also grow it in a container, so this might be a cool idea.

        I wonder if the plant gives off scent while growing, that would be a plus as well. I miss getting to have nice-smelling things sitting around, but caring for a mom who uses oxygen kinda precludes the use of candles or incense.

        1. Bubble181 says:

          It does, however, bear in mind that mint seems to attract small flies like crazy.

          1. Akhetseh says:

            Plant basil and problem solved!

        2. Sigilis says:

          It took me a second to realize exactly what you meant by “uses oxygen”.

          1. Jeysie says:

            The doctor’s tried kicking her from her oxygen-huffing habit, but sadly she seems to be addicted nowadays.

            (She has chronic bronchitis and severe sleep apnea. [/seriousmode])

        3. Peter H. Coffin says:

          It does. Mildly, at least.

        4. Lazlo says:

          It has very little scent when growing, really the leaves have to be crushed to give off their smell. But fresh-picked mint smells *amazing*.

      2. Peter H. Coffin says:

        If you lose that fight, then mowing smells lovely.

      3. Chuk says:

        I have a yard, and can confirm.

    4. Nidokoenig says:

      Ginger is also good, cut a thin slice or two and steep in boiling water. Has a mild muscle relaxing effect, so it’s good for relieving nausea from motion sickness. It’s also a good base for stocks and soups, too.

      Banana skin makes a nice green tea(well, it’s more yellow, but you get the idea). Collect a bunch of skins in the freezer(remember to wash them and take the stickers off), then dry them out at the bottom of the oven while you cook something else, putting them in the fridge if they don’t dry out completely first time. Then you can break them up(I use a Slap Chop) and steep them in boiling water. Pour through a tea strainer with a small filter/piece of kitchen roll as it can be a bit dusty.

      Combining the two is quite nice, too, especially with a dash of rose syrup.

      1. Grudgeal says:

        That Banana trick sounds good, I definitively have to try that out. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Grudgeal says:

    I’ve never really thought about that stuff. I’ve just drunk tea all my life. Right now I go through about half a dozen PG tips a day. Cheap black tea, especially since you get about two-three cups (or a teapot) out of a single bag because it’s only by the second refill the tea mellows out to the point where it stops eating at the spoon.

  11. Ingvar says:

    Given availability, my drink of choice is “carbonated water” (or ‘diluted carbonic acid’, as I prefer thinking about it as), possibly with a very small amount of salt added, especially on hot days.

  12. Humanoid says:

    Being so used to “diet” soft drinks (sodas) these days – mainly decaf Diet Coke – the sugary ones give me a weird aftertaste instead. Not sure how to explain that, it’s not like I don’t end up consuming a lot of sugar from other sources including tea, and that’s fine.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Maybe the after-taste is the type of sugar in the drinks? I think Coca Cola changed their recipe up here in Canada, some time in the last decade. Like, when I was younger, I could drink normal pop, and diet pop, and neither tasted weird, although I could tell the difference between them. As an adult I drink almost exclusively diet pop, because I need to control my caloric intake, and I drink a lot of it. So, there’s been several years where I wasn’t drinking normal pop, and then when I tried it this year, it tasted…oily? Slimy? Like Aunt Jemima? Whatever it tastes like, it lingers in my mouth, along with some kind of mild bitter taste*. I think what happened, is that Coca Cola in Canada finally changed from normal sucrose, to corn-syrup-based fructose. That’s my hunch anyways.

      * I happen to be unusually sensitive to bitter tastes, so an average person probably wouldn’t even notice this.

      1. Abnaxis says:

        I’m pretty sure most of the aftertaste happens because they put a metric arse-ton of sugar in soda–and historically if you try to match that level of sweetness in diet it tastes like crap (though they’re getting better at packing sweetness in there with sugar alcohols and whatnot). By carbs, a (12-oz) can of regular Coke is like 3/8 to a 1/4 cup of sugar equivalent (10 tsp, to be exact). Try putting that in a 12-oz cup of tea and see how it tastes…

        At the same time, however, I do think you’re right in that the regular formula has changed somewhat over time. As a diabetic, I used to use Coke for low blood sugars until it made me nauseous once from all the sweetness (nausea and hypoglycemia do not interact well, let me tell you…), and I could have sworn soda used to have more carbs when I was little (more like 50-60g instead of 40g now) in the ’90s. Maybe they have changed their formulation to make it still as sweet with ~25% fewer carbs?

        1. King Marth says:

          Best example I’ve heard for this: A can of Coke sinks in water. A can of Diet Coke floats in water, since you need something like a thousandth the aspartame for that degree of sweetness, thus removing sufficient mass to cross density 1g/mL.

          It occurs to me now that I’ve never personally tested this. Hmm.

          1. Munkki says:

            Hmm. Thinking back to sausage sizzles of days gone by – I’m pretty sure coke usually floats, diet or not. That said we do get a different formulation of it here to you guys. Maybe the corn syrup version sinks?

    2. Hermocrates says:

      It’s probably the high fructose corn syrup, or glucose-fructose as it’s known in Canada, that gives regular pop that aftertaste. As a diet drinker myself (diabetic), I can’t stand regular pop anymore because of that thick, syrupy aftertaste. But if you can find any “traditional” pop, either with those specialty brands, or “Retro” varieties I know Pepsi put out, they still use cane sugar, and I find they taste much more palatable.

      Nothing matches the “bite” of aspartame though ;-)

  13. EricF says:

    Home carbonation is pretty affordable – my wife drinks it almost exclusively, and we go through about one $20 canister per month. Keep the bottle in the fridge (prior to carbonation) for the cold, and you can add a few drops of lemon juice (from the liquor aisle) for the tart.

    1. Lazlo says:

      I’ve done this as well, and it seems like a very good solution.

      I really suspect that what makes water seem less pleasant at times isn’t so much about the *taste* as it is about the tonicity. Anything that you add, be it CO2, salt, sugar, fruit juice, if you can use these to make a beverage that is only slightly hypotonic as opposed to the extreme hypotonicity of pure water, it’s going to have a better feel to it, and thus a better taste.

  14. Hal says:

    I’m not opposed to tea, but I don’t have the patience to brew it. My Keurig helps (even without the pre-made cups, because it’ll put out hot water quickly), but teas that require a longer brew time (>5min.) will just be lukewarm by the time they’re ready.

    I love my coffee, but it’s become an albatross in recent years thanks to my acid reflux. I tried to quit it, but then I had children, and coffee is the only thing keeping me quasi-functional.

    Maybe I’ll just switch to meth.

    1. LadyTL says:

      It sounds like your Keurig doesn’t actually have hot enough water for some teas. I just use a standard electric kettle and even after brewing mate for 7 minutes it still is hot. It does sound perfect for green and white teas though.

    2. Kelerak says:

      This is actually the true origin story for Walter White.

    3. Christopher Kerr says:

      Brewing tea in merely “hot” water is an abomination, one which is unfortunately common when it is made on the same equipment as coffee.

      Black tea should be brewed in water that is boiling when it is poured – not past-tense boiled, but actually still boiling.

      Note that this isn’t the case for green or white teas, which should be brewed cooler.

      “Herbal” and “fruit” infusions are not tea, so you’ll have to ask someone that drinks them what they’re suppposed to be like.

  15. Abnaxis says:

    Speaking of someone who has been drinking diet since they were a child around ’90-ish, the taste of diet changed around the early aughts, with the discovery of a bunch of non-aspartame sugar substitutes that taste close to sugar. In the intervening time, they’ve gotten really good at using these sugar substitutes to make the taste more “real,” which actually taste like crap to me because I hate the sheer sugary-ness of the regular stuff. This is why (I think) you can often find multiple “brands” of diet that are still both diet–one brand is for people like me who prefer less-sweet diet while the other is for people trying to kick a sugar habit. See also Coke Zero vs. Diet coke.

    Also, the count-down begins now for how long it’s going to be before someone starts talking about how “unhealthy” diet drinks are…

    1. Kelerak says:

      all sodas are unhealthy, but you should already know this :)

      1. LadyTL says:

        Unhealthy is really a relative term. Some people have no real impact from sodas while others can see a dramatic change by not drinking it.

      2. Abnaxis says:

        I have a (respectful, well-measured) rant stored up for this, but I would rather know what exactly you mean by “unhealthy” first…

    2. Grudgeal says:

      Coke Zero *is* Diet Coke. Marketing studies in the late 90ies found that Diet products were mostly bought by women because ‘diet’ and ‘light’ are female-targeted buzz word in advertising parlance that men, at least not men in the demographic that usually consume the most soft drinks, weren’t responding to. This caused the creation of ‘Zero’ and ‘Max’ labels to make the products palatable to the male audience. If you look at the advertisements for Coke Zero you see they’re extremely male-oriented.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        Coke Zero and Diet Coke are not actually the same. They changed the non-sugar parts of the formula when they were first making Diet Coke, along with the sugar->aspartame replacement. Coke Zero is regular Coke, with only the sugar replaced, and the rest of it is done in a way, so that it tastes closer to regular Coke, and not like a completely different product.

        If you want to see how close they all taste, buy a bottle of each of the three, and compare their tastes one sip at a time, and rinse with water in between, and repeat it in differing orders. I’ve got a Coke machine in my office with all three, and have done this test already; Coke Zero tastes very similar to normal Coke, and Diet Coke tastes much different.

        1. Hermocrates says:

          You can also confirm this by literally “drinking both of them.” They’re definitely not the same.

        2. Joe Informatico says:

          Diet Coke tastes very different because 30, 40, however long ago it was first formulated, they couldn’t make a low-calorie drink that tasted the same as regular Coke. Later on they figured it out and hence, Coke Zero. My understanding is they keep making Diet Coke because it’s an established brand with its own loyal drinkers who like its unique taste. Coke Zero lets them grab calorie-conscious customers who don’t like the taste of Diet Coke.

    3. Munkki says:

      Diet drinks are unhealthy! Especially water. Did you know water can flatten villages, erode canyons and cause soil salinity that ruins cropping lands? It’s true!


      1. Endominus says:

        It’s almost as bad as that deadly chemical, dihydrogen monoxide. Did you know that it’s the main component of acid rain? And it can cause severe burns in it’s gaseous form? And it’s in OUR SCHOOLS?!

        We should all band together to petition the government to ban it wholesale from the country. It’s the only way to be safe.

        1. Syal says:

          At the very least we should convince them to water it down.

  16. psivamp says:

    I drink water constantly. For whatever reason, I pretty much need to be drinking something while I work. It used to be Coke and I would joke that I converted caffeine and corn syrup pretty much directly into code. But I also started sleeping poorly and it contributed to my mild weight problem. I think part of the problem with drinking soda is that the brain doesn’t really think liquids are a source of calories ( no sources ).

    I’ve cut back to one can of soda per day during the work week and the rest of my oral fixation need to be drinking is Poland Spring from a water cooler.

    1. ngthagg says:

      I’m also a dedicated water drinker. But I won’t even have one flavoured drink a day, because I find I don’t enjoy the taste of water afterwards. As long as I stick to water, I will enjoy it.

  17. LadyTL says:

    When I was younger I hated both tea and coffee because all I had access to was cheap junk. Once I was making my own money though I was able to go to quality coffee shops and found out I did like coffee (made a certain way). The same thing happened with tea when I got to try teas other then grocery store brands (which didn’t used to have the greatest selections).

    Right now I am living in a place that doesn’t have very good tap water, it’s actually killed house plants, so I spend alot of time with juice, soda and tea. I do tend to favor tea that doesn’t taste traditionally tea-ish. Lots of Mate and Roobios and Chai. I love that alot of online tea companies though have samplers so you can get to try alot of different things and I have about a dozen companies now that I have the option of getting tea I know I like from.

    1. Kelerak says:

      Oh dear. I don’t know how you live without having good tap water.

      I tried Yerba Mate once (though that was the Guayaki stuff, not sure if that counts?), liked it a lot, but never really picked it up after that. Maybe it was because of the cost per can, but it’s not honestly that much different from how much I was spending on energy drinks when I was younger.

      If I can get my hands on a good cup of chai, I’ll absolutely go for it, but it needs to have that spice to it. A lot of the places that I would get chai from (that mostly being Starbucks and Panera) has pretty weak chai, which isn’t too terrible, but isn’t that great either. A bit weird, because my introduction to chai was via Oregon Chai, which is a lot sweeter than normal chai tea would be.

      1. LadyTL says:

        I wouldn’t know what the cost per can is since I get the loose leaf tea but it runs about 14$ canadian where I get it for 100 grams. That lasts me about a month with my cups of tea. I pretty much only make my chai at home though so I can make it right. Most places like Panera and Starbucks are using a premixed concentrate that after you add in ice and such does run pretty weak. To be honest though the Mate I drink isn’t straight tea but flavored usually with spice or fruit or chocolate.

      2. Abnaxis says:

        +1 for a good, spicy chai tea. My introduction was steeping it myself, and I tend to forget to take the infuser out, so I got used to it strong…

        Right now, I can’t actually have tea because there’s a water-chemical advisory in my area against boiling water…

      3. Grudgeal says:

        I’ve been making my own blend lately, ever since the convenient bag Chai brand I bought was taken out of circulation. I usually pre-mix the spices, store them in portioned plastic bags and just pour out the mix in a cooking pot whenever I want a teapot of it or when I’m having guests.

        For 1 l (roughly .22 gallons)

        2-3 tablespoons of loose-leaf black tea (any off-brand Ceylon or Assam will do)
        1 crushed roll of cinnamon bark (or half a tablespoon of powder)
        8 crushed cardamom seeds
        2 teaspoons of aniseed
        4-6 cloves
        Add shredded ginger to taste (I usually do without)

        Add to 5 dl (1.1 gallon) of milk (high-fat is better than skim milk) and 5 dl (1.1 gallon) of water, bring close to boiling and then reduce the heat and leave it to simmer on low heat (anything between one-fifth to one-third). To hasten the process you can pre-boil the water in a kettle. It usually takes about 5 minutes. Add sugar to taste, usually a tablespoon or two will do. When the milk begins to form a little layer on top of the liquid the tea is done.

        1. Munkki says:

          You use decilitres as an everyday unit of measurement? I’ve only ever seen people use litres and mililitres.
          Where’s that from? I’m quite curious. Is it a standard thing where you’re from, a personal choice or something you picked up professionally?

          1. Grudgeal says:

            Rather standard practice for cooking in most of north-western Europe, as far as I’m aware. And if I’m wrong, just take it as an amusing personal quirk belonging to me and all (read: both) of the cookbooks I’ve read.

  18. Kelerak says:

    I’m trying to avoid drinks with a ton of sugar and especially those with artificial sweeteners in them (sucralose, aspartame, etc), as they end up royally fucking up the body in the long run. By the time I decided to stop drinking those, I was already drinking a ton of water, so it’s not like it’s super difficult to switch, but I also feel that need to drink something that isn’t water.

    I’m trying to make the switch to black coffee at the moment, but that’s really difficult, as my default cup was always four tablespoons of creamer and two packets of Splenda. That barely constitutes as coffee, at least to connoisseurs of it. I can barely tolerate the hoity-toity grounds (that being Lavazza dark roasts, which may/may not be super fancy depending on how you view 12oz bags for $8) without my setup, and my tastebuds can’t tolerate Folgers on its own. I may just have to switch from “completely black” to “adding milk”, as milk does take a bit of the edge off.

    I know I do like tea, though. I was introduced to it by my grandmother, who started me out on pomegranate tea (not sure what type it was, though). After that, tea was something I’d rarely have at restaurants or if I ever took a trip to the Teavana in the mall downtown, where it’d be five dollars for a 16oz cup of whatever tea.

    So, I feel your pain, Shamus.

    1. LadyTL says:

      If you still like tea you should check out the different retailers online. There is alot of online stores that sell loose leaf and bagged tea for pretty decent prices.

  19. My friend (and dance instructor) had her gallbladder removed a few years ago. Her digestive system is now very fragile and there are a lot of food items that she cannot eat without suffering some serious intestinal consequences.

    She has found some benefit in adhering to the FODMAP diet and drinking a lot of flavored fizzy water, like LaCroix.

    I personally drink a metric shit-tonne of green tea every day. So I totally understand…

  20. Sleepyfoo says:

    I drink a good earth herbal tea. I put 3 bags in a 1.75 litter bottle, and let it sit for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge. That will get me through a day or 2 most days.

    Originally, I would drink soda, then juice or milk. However the Calories were getting to me, and the price was higher than I like. The tea comes out to like 50 cents a bottle, even taking into account they don’t carry it in my local stores and I have to order it online.

    I’m just not a fan of plain water.

    Peace : )

  21. Destrustor says:

    I can drink simple tapwater just fine, although if presented with the immediate choice I’d probably go with chemical fruit juice or some kind of soda. I’m not picky, and often end up mixing sodas and fruit juices to vary the taste.

    I’m trying to cut back on the sugary drinks however, as about a thousand bucks of dentist bills per year for two years straight makes me realize that maybe my teeth need a break. Also my weight is hard to keep in check, and that might help.

    So I’ll probably go for good old tapwater for a while. It’s for the best.

  22. Arvind says:

    I usually only drink water – lots of it to stay hydrated in our 50 degree summers. I find that drinking water when feeling like you need a snack is a great way to avoid those extra calories.

    1. Kelerak says:

      I don’t know if that’s Fahrenheit or Celsius. Either way, that temperature is ridiculous.

      1. Arvind says:

        Celsius. It’s pretty warm!

        1. Galad says:

          Oh wow. In my part of the world we rarely get above 40 degs celsius, and even that (understandably) feels too hot.

    2. MelTorefas says:

      Where I grew up, 50 degree Fahrenheit summers were the norm. Staying hydrated in that was generally not the problem. >.>

      (replied to the OP rather than the reply, oh well)

    3. SyrusRayne says:

      I’d like to try to transcribe the sounds I made when I realized you were talking Celsius, but I won’t for my sanity and your own. The thought of 30 degree weather makes me upset. It strikes me as unreasonable. 50 degrees Fahrenheit would be more my speed.

  23. McNutcase says:

    The easy way to get flavour in your drinks is to get a pitcher, fill it with water, and then chop up a couple lemons and/or limes. Set that in the fridge, refill it when it’s empty, dump the fruit for fresh at the end of the day. If you feel like getting fancy, home carbonation machines aren’t too hideously expensive.

  24. Strange Guy says:

    As an Englishman black tea is my main drink of choice. When it’s too hot or I’m too lazy for hot drinks I’ll usually drink fruit juices or squash- but apparently squash isn’t common in the US (they may know it as cordial) so that isn’t really an option for you.

    1. Andy_Panthro says:

      Fellow Englishman here, and I drink a few cups (mugs) of tea a day. Yorkshire Tea preferably.

      1. RTBones says:

        Not an Englishman, but married to a proper Yorkshire lass – Yorkshire tea or Betty’s Earl Grey for me.

    2. Christopher Kerr says:

      As an Australian, the majority of my hydration is definitely black tea, usually a good loose-leaf Assam. Expensive, but I don’t like coffee black, and I don’t need calories in my drinks.

  25. silver Harloe says:

    The only way I’m able to enjoy water is from a water fountain. Something about coldness and aeration I guess?

    I can tolerate water by refrigerating it first: I have six big (20 or 32 oz) glasses I fill with water, put in fridge – when I finish one, I refill it, take one out, shift the other 4 forward, and put the new one in back. I go through maybe four a day, so usually it’s all cold enough. Though the glasses may be too big, because by the time I get to the end of a glass, it’s all warm and icky.

    I tried refrigerating pitchers of water and pouring them into glasses, but it never seemed to work as well as just putting the whole glass in. Probably because I needed to spring for glass pitchers and cheaped out.

    1. Hermocrates says:

      The only way I'm able to enjoy water is from a water fountain. Something about coldness and aeration I guess?

      Well both coolness and high dissolved oxygen are both linked to improved perceived flavour of water, so you’re spot-on. That’s why most taps have aerators in them, and why water that’s been sitting for a while tastes “stale.”

  26. Cinebeast says:

    This is fascinating. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t get my coffee in the morning.

    I do clench my teeth a lot, though. Hmm.

    1. Syal says:

      Teeth are overrated. If they won’t stop clenching just yank them out as a warning to the others.

  27. Disc says:

    I used to drink a lot energy drinks in my early twenties. This was my favorite. That changed when I went to have a fundoplication surgery . (Had a nasty case of reflux disease due to “structural fault”, my diaphragm acting like a hernia against my stomach). Being on the list of things I wasn’t allowed to digest for several weeks afterwards, I stopped drinking them altogether and eventually replaced with black tea. Better than coffee and it keeps my caffeine addiction in check, but I also enjoy some cold carbonated water and the occasional hot chocolate or heated berry “juice soup”, as Google translate insists calling it.

  28. The Rocketeer says:

    Until the fall of 2014, I was a proud member of the United States Air Force. I worked on the flightline as a 2W151, an Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist, or, colloquially, a Weapons troop. It’s a more fascinating job than I’ll ever have again. And yes, I’ve handled a rocket or two.

    It was also a very physically demanding job with very long hours more often than not, and it became very convenient to rely on caffeine to get me through the longer nights. And, eventually, every night.

    After I separated, I no longer had any strenuous physical activity built into my daily routine, but I did still have a heavy caffeine habit to the tune of two or three cans of Monster a night. It took me a long time to realize it- too long, really, since I’ve let myself get fat in the meantime. After two years of separation, I’d added 7 inches to my formerly-tiny waist, and I slept terribly. Eventually I realized what any idiot should understand- that no one of my leisurely lifestyle has any reason to buy an energy drink, ever- but then foolishly thought I could wean myself off with other sources of caffeine, like regular soda.

    Now, I’m smart enough to realize that I just can’t keep caffeine in the house. No coffee, no soda cans. I’ll sit and chug it until it’s gone, no matter how much I have on hand. I haven’t yet cut it out completely, but I’m getting closer to that point, fooling myself with caffeine-free variants whenever I give in to the old longing.

    You know the worst part? I don’t even like energy drinks, or most soda. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and energy drinks mostly taste like Mountain Dew with Flintstones vitamins crushed into them. But here I am.

    1. Shamus says:

      I love finding out the origin of people’s handles. I’m amazed to find out you actually ARE a rocketeer.

      1. The Rocketeer says:

        Well, hear the rest of it, first: my handle slightly predates my career in armament. It isn’t even a reference to the film of the same name. It was chosen totally at random when I was transitioning away from my previous monicker, and became serendipitously, temporarily apt.

        And although I worked with a multitude of rocket-propelled munitions, I was on F-16’s for most of my career, which didn’t load 2.75″ rockets themselves nor their launchers at the bases I served at. Only at my last base, where I worked on A-10’s, did I regularly load them. As it turns out, they’re fun! Nice and easy. Get a good crew with you, and you can get a wonderful rhythm going.

        Because “Rocketeer” and any variants thereof are inevitably taken already at any site you care to name, I’ve been very slowly evolving into Rocketchap, as you may have observed on Twitch or Hitbox.

        1. Supah Ewok says:

          “Because ‘Rocketeer’ and any variants thereof are inevitably taken already at any site you care to name, I've been very slowly evolving into Rocketchap, as you may have observed on Twitch or Hitbox.”

          Listen man, all you gotta do is find a name too stupid for even the Internet to ever want, and you’re guaranteed a free name at any site you care to name. Something like Diegetic Lobster, The Belligerent Bellini, or Supah Ewok. You wanna keep the Rocket theme, maybe try Rocket Socket, Rocketeering Gangster, or, my favorite, Rocket Imbroglio.

          1. The Rocketeer says:

            While a fine suggestion, “Rocket Socket” was taken by your mother.

          2. Kelerak says:

            Or you can make a slight misspelling of a default name from a slightly obscure RPG.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Obscure rpg.

          3. Hermocrates says:

            I had figured that a one-off line from an old LucasArts Indiana Jones talkie would make met set for life with a unique username. While it’s worked fairly well, it also turned out that Hermocrates was a real philosopher too… So alas, it was not to be on Twitter and a couple other sites.

  29. Trix2000 says:

    I’m in the fortunate position where I actually really like the taste of water, so I can often sate myself with a bunch of that with little other concern.

    Which is good, because before I got on that I was downing a lot of soda, and despite not having weight issues (well, over-weight issues) I doubt it was particularly healthy. I still have a fair bit of soda now and then, but I’m much much more likely to grab a bottle of water over a can these days.

    1. Supah Ewok says:

      If there’s one advantage to working outside in a Texas summer, it’s that water becomes the best tasting thing in all of creation. Although I like some lemonade with meals on workdays.

      1. Viktor says:

        Yeah, all the people on here who talk about not being able to drink water are very confusing to me. I mean, I prefer soda with meals, since it’s a contrast, but it’s 100+ all week and will only get hotter. Water constantly is the best way to not die.

        1. Philadelphus says:

          My personal favorite is soda and water with meals, or really any time I have soda. I love soda (especially Mountain Dew), but I can’t drink just soda for very long without starting to crave some water to cleanse my palate. I’m also perfectly fine with just chugging water all day though, thankfully.

  30. I drink distilled bottled water mostly, by the gallon a day though that’s a more recent turn of events. I do thirsty, physical work and staying hydrated does more for my energy levels than caffeine ever did. Cheap, too. Only $1 a gallon.

    Otherwise it’s mostly whole milk, sometimes chocolate flavored, and juices, mostly orange and whatever’s cheap, which usually means it’s not much better for me than soda. Both can get expensive with how much I can drink, and I have to purposefully temper my thirst for milk. No allergies but too much and I start to “gum up the works” so to speak.

    Used to be big on Kool-aid, limiting the sugar used to make it just sweet enough while keeping it cheaper than soda, which isn’t so easy to do as by the liter they’re both roughly the same price ’round here if you follow the instructions. I wholly admit to loving sugary drinks, and as such my method of making Kool-aid wore thin with time, though I still bounce back to it every now and again.

    Soda has been, and remains, a staple of my diet for longer, and in larger quantities, than it ever likely should have. I’ve never been a fan of caffeine in any form and have always preferred clear, citrus~y drinks, usually in volumes that would kill lesser men. What specifically I drink is determined largely by price. The grocers in my area almost always have Pepsi and/or Coke products on sale, so rare is it I spend more than a $1, plus tax, on a 2 liter. Cans are just too expensive, even with frequent sales and recycling. I’ve purposefully cut back on soda, especially at work, though I don’t always replace it with the best alternative, as mentioned above.

    I’ve never had a taste for coffee, much less the liquid cake most everyone drinks from their preferred cafe, and try as I might I’ve never had a taste for tea either.

  31. Ilseroth says:

    I had similar issues; I drank Soda, but mine was actually worse then citrus flavored things like Sprite. I drank Vanilla Coke. The smooth aftertaste of vanilla really cuts down on how hard the acid feels, but it’s still a brutal drink and I was taking in about 4-6 cans a day.

    Well a few years back, and me getting a couple root canals ( I am pretty young to be getting any, as I am 27) and I decided to make soda a “sometimes” deal. I still drink it, but I buy a 12 pack once every few weeks to a month; and stretch it out over a while.

    Though there was a time I cut it completely for about a year, I was worried if I started drinking it again I’d fall into the same habit of swigging it like it was well, water. I was also worried of a potential caffeine addiction, since I never even noticed the effects, but I just think I am not affected particularly strongly by caffeine at all; just goes through my system like it isn’t even there.

    My replacement search pretty much went as follows. I like juice, but juice is expensive as hell, and honestly not much better despite the lack of carbonation, things like gatorade are a bit better sugar wise, but again; expensive. Finally I ended up, as you have, on tea. Personally I drink green tea and I am not too picky about what kind. Sometimes tea bags, sometimes the super cheap bottled stuff; really whatever I decide to pick up at the store.

  32. Gm says:

    I used to drink Leppin

    But Tea yeah I have about five types of it to drink and also drink coffee 2-3 times a day.

  33. Retsam says:

    I drink regular coffee… but my main issue is that I get addicted to the point that when I don’t have it, I get bad headaches. So I’ll go through phases where I’ll switch to decaf or tea to wean myself off the caffeine until the withdrawal headaches go away. (And then switch back to regular and repeat)

    I’ve also used hot apple cider as a coffee substitute, too. No caffeine, but it’s a hot drink and tastes better than water and that really seems to be the main thing that matters for me. (There’s probably more sugar in there than necessary, though)

  34. Nelly says:

    Tea, Julie Andrews. Yorkshire for everyday, Russia Caravan (which has a lovely smokey tang) when I want something different, always with fresh boiling water.

  35. Mersadeon says:

    About the “diet drinks nowerdays taste closer to the real deal” thing: actually, that’s one of the reasons there is such a big taste difference between Diet Coke and Zero.

    Diet Coke started with a very simple idea: make Coke, but with less bad stuff. But it just didn’t taste good, artificial sweeteners just couldn’t quite come close to the real Coke taste. So they changed plans and made it its own taste, not even trying to go for the normal Coke taste.

    Nowerdays, sweeteners are much, much better, so Coke Zero is the execution of that initial plan – it tastes pretty close to normal Coke.

    Personally, I stopped drinking sweet stuff when I was starting to live alone, at about 20. Too expensive, and once I started living without it, I felt much better. Now, I pretty much live off carbonated water (because boy, do I love it carbonated) and a bit of juice here and there. I’m not a tea drinker, which is unfortunate because tons of other students and friends love tea and have some neat little gifts of exotic brands for each other every once in a while. I never liked tea, my kindergarten teachers literally tried to bribe me to drink it and I still wouldn’t do it.

    1. Anthony says:

      Interestingly, the infamous “New Coke” was based off of the recipe for diet coke, just with actual sugar.

  36. MelTorefas says:

    Man. Reading this post and many of the comments makes me very grateful that I have always just liked water. When I was younger I really enjoyed root beer, but my tolerance for sugar dropped off markedly in my mid 20s, and it has been years since I regularly drank anything but water (and the apple juice I use as the base for the fruit smoothies I make).

  37. Ysen says:

    I drink diluted apple juice. I love apple juice, but it’s acidic and sugary, so it’s not very good for your teeth. Watering it down it drastically reduces the acidity and the sugar per glass, and I still like the taste, although it might seem a bit strange at first if you’re used to undiluted juice. It’s also cheap – a bottle lasts two or three times as long as it normally would, since you’re watering it down.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      What’s your ratio for water/apple juice? I imagine it’s easy for that to taste kinda bland if you put too much water in.

      1. Ysen says:

        I use about 60% water / 40% juice.

        If you’re worried about it being bland make it stronger to start with, then just take a sip, add water, take a sip, etc. until you work out how much you can dilute it and still enjoy it.

  38. newdarkcloud says:

    I chose water pretty much by default.

    I don’t like most teas and coffee.
    I cut down on soda (except for family gatherings) in order to not gain any more weight.
    And I do drink Crystal Light, but I find those “to-go/for work” packets just don’t have enough powder to get any flavor out of them.

    Coupled with the fact that water is readily accessible from the cooler(s) in the office, it was an easy choice.

    1. Kelerak says:

      I once used Crystal Light powder to get a fake blood effect for a Halloween costume one year. Not such a great idea in the long run.

      That has nothing to do with anything, by the way.

  39. Lisa says:

    In case it helps, I’ve grown fond of Rooibos, or red tea. It’s naturally decaffeinated (i.e. it grows that way). I find it a little sweeter than black tea, so I don’t add anything to it, unlike green or black tea.

    I’ve no idea what it might do to your system but I’ve found less of my own issues with it. I also don’t know if it’s some sort of ‘connoisseur’ type tea there. It was here, but it’s become pretty common now.

    1. Nidokoenig says:

      Rooibos is pretty nice. I find I get a little nauseous if I drink a lot(about a pint) within half an hour, but that’s probably because I don’t drink it often. It’s also a neat way to darken green tea, about three parts green to one part rooibos will give you a drink with some bite if you’re switching from coffee or black tea down to green.

      1. Christopher Kerr says:

        I find Rooibos drinkable, but as a strong black tea drinker, it always feels a bit like tea by way of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation’s Nutri-Matic Drink Synthesiser – it’s a cup of something that’s “almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea”

    2. Rooibos is my go to bedtime drink. That or Traditional Medicines Lavender honey stress tea. (Shamus likes Rooibos, but always forgets he does so I occasionally make him a cup and he is always pleasantly surprised.)

  40. LCF says:

    Most waters and most tap waters are fine, except the one in my home.
    It’s actual fruit juice, or diluted mint syrup when I run out.
    I sometimes take tea from the Tea Stash, either Green Tea (got me some japanese leaves) or White Tea (Bai Mu Dan is nice).
    Coffee is to wake up in the morning, I like it but avoid drinking it if I don’t need to. Some milk, no sugar. Some Vietnamese companies make a chocolate-flavoured coffee, delicious but hard to find.
    Milk. Yes. Either a bowl, or just a glass, two cookies. Room temperature. Not too hot, not too cold.
    I recently discovered bissap, an African beverage. Boil hibiscus flowers (water should change colour very fast, watch it!), take them out of the water, let the liquid cool, then to the fridge. When it’s cold, add mint syrup, orange flower aroma, vanilla extract, possibly a drop of orange juice, what have you… On its own, there is a fine and delicate perfume, hidden under a whole stack of hay. Using syrup, aromas and such help bring the perfume back and decrease the hay taste. Remember that if you want to make a cup of it, and don’t infuse too much. Delicious, when done right.

  41. Fabrimuch says:

    People go through painful, lengthy processes to find their beverage of choice and meanwhile, I only drink tap water because I don’t like carbonated drinks, alcohol or fruit juice and I’m too much of a cheapskate to buy bottled water.

  42. A way to make tap water a little “better” is to boil it with a water boiler, then put it either in a glass bottle or in a pyrex measuring container and let it cool to room temp, then put it in a bottle in the fridge and let it cool.
    Water that has boiled gets a slightly different taste than unboiled water. To me it feels sweeter and less harsh for some reason.

    Also, if you ever make icecubes then boiling the water first will make then much clearer. I can’t recall why and I’m too lazy to google it right now.

    I’ve also found that drinking warm (boiled water from a water boiler, not water from the house tap water heater) hits the spot as well.

    PS! A Good water boiler will boil (heat) the water to 85 degrees then shut off. A lot of instant coffee, coffee or tea other “warm” products recommend 85 degrees water. Also at 85 degrees any bacteria is dead as well so it’s statistically safer than drinking cold tap water directly.

  43. General Karthos says:

    Suggestion: Don’t switch to hard liquor. It never works out well.

    In all seriousness though, for me, it’s diet soda. I’m actually trying to limit my intake, and finding it rather difficult though. When I want to drink something I tend to go to the fridge open it, and magically, there’s diet soda in there. So I grab whatever is the flavor of the day and drink it. I find I drink the fruity ones more slowly than the dark ones with caffeine, so when there’s a choice I usually go for fruity.

    When I have a cold, strongly brewed green tea is the only beverage for me though. Clears my sinuses out and soothes my throat. (Though brewed as strongly as I brew it, it winds up being fairly bitter. Thankfully, since I have a cold, I can’t taste it.)

    I used to drink coffee, but then I discovered that it can sometimes build up a residue and when a chunk of petrified coffee goes into your mouth feeling like you’re trying to swallow a dead squid whole, and not one of those tiny ones you can get at your local asian market. One the size of a dishrag…. My point is, I can’t drink coffee any more without picturing that particular moment. When I needed caffeine my fix became five-hour energy. Now it’s powering through it because I can’t afford five-hour energy.

  44. Don Alsafi says:

    I too am a big drinker of Propel, for the same reason: I really need my hydration to have some sort of flavor to be able to drink it as much as I should.

    But when you say you had to cut it out due to the cost … were you buying the bottled variety? Because I pick up the powder mix form from Amazon on a regular basis. $25 for 60 packets comes out to about $0.40 a glass. A pretty reasonable price, I think! :)

  45. Pete_Volmen says:

    This reminds me of your post about your music taste, likening it to junk food.
    Interesting how you have many strong preferences/habits, all for differing reasons.

    It’s not just the sugar-> hyper thing that’s been debunked, by the way.
    There’s no real trend with stuff like food colorings.

    It also turns out that the hyperactivity of kids after consuming candy/soft-drinks is not physiological, it’s psychological, and has nothing to do with the behavior of the children, but with the biased observations of the parents.
    They’ve done tests where they gave kids non-sugary stuff, but told the parents that it was sugar, and sure enough, the parents thought their kids were hyper.
    That’s not the strange part though. The parents were sure that their children displayed hyperactive behavior. Both kids and parents were observed, and what they found was that A: the kids were behaving normally, even though the parents were sure they were hyper, and B: the parents were overly critical/judgmental , hovering, and controlling, unlike parents that were told that their children received non-sugary (i.e. artificially sweetened) stuff. Basically, kids behave exactly the same when given the same foodstuffs, but when parents think their children received something they thought makes their child hyper, the prejudices of the parents color their view.

    1. Shamus says:

      I find that pretty unpersuasive. I mean, I know what stimming looks like. It’s a radical behavior that my kids don’t normally exhibit. And I saw it after my kids consumed those things. Moreover. I didn’t KNOW they had consumed those things when I made my observations.

      “What’s wrong with Esther today? Look at her! I haven’t seen her do that in a ages. In fact, the last time she did this was when… OOOOh.”

      We never did any proper tests to narrow down the offending substances. The symptoms were pretty unpleasant.

      Maybe my family just happens to be a bunch of mutants, but I think more study is needed.

      1. Benjamin Hilton says:

        As with most things, I imagine the truth is somewhere in the middle. There are a lot of people who are affected adversely by what might seem to be random foostuffs, but I am also completely willing to believe there is some expectation bias that goes on some times. I would be interested to see a study where he kids are falsely told what they are eating is sugary. I have specific memories of eating M&Ms when I played peewee soccer because I thought it would give me super energy. And everything I’ve learned studying psychology points to a marked influence between what you believe you can do and what you actually can do.

  46. KingJosh says:

    Personally, I just kept drinking soda and ignored the weight gain!

    Kinda surprised no one else has suggested this…

    1. Philadelphus says:

      So I got laid off from my job back in March, and my soda consumption went from basically a (small) bottle of Mountain Dew every week day (plus occasionally something on weekends) to having one about once a week. My weight hasn’t really changed at all in that time frame. I had a computer job where I sat around most of the day, so it’s not like my physical activity level has really changed, either. All I can conclude is that my weight level isn’t really linked to my soda intake, so…whenever I get work again I can start indulging more often without feeling guilty, I guess?

  47. Felblood says:

    There was some research published several years ago that indicated that a lot of childhood behavioral problems were attributable to Red 40, which was a staple additive to nearly every colored soda, juice box, frozen yogurt and hard candy back in the 80s.

    The dye made from some kind of sea crustacean, and a significant portion of the population has an allergy-like response to it, which disrupts attention span and promotes impulsive behavior.

    I’m one of those people. I can get super messed up on Hawaiian punch. As a kid, I would drink a strawberry soda before a little league game, and then fall asleep on the field, out of sheer boredom. (–though being sober doesn’t do much to improve my appreciation of the sport. ;P) Like most kids in my boat, my parents always attributed my weird behavior after drinking sodas to the sugar, but it’s the red dye.

    Once they started checking labels for Red 40, I became a much more well adjusted person. Not that a person who went though an Elementary school like mine with a combination of devout pacifism and spastic weirdness is ever going to be able to run for public office, but I have a chance at OK now.

  48. Zaxares says:

    I sometimes wonder if I’m the only guy who LOVES to drink water. Water makes up 95% of what I drink; I always have a huge glass of it on my computer desk, and I refill it several times a day. Most days, water is all I drink.

    Aside from water, the only other things I drink on a regular basis (and by regular I mean maybe once or twice a week) is regular Coke and orange juice. Sometimes I’ll have tea as well, but it’s usually only when I’m at official meetings and there isn’t any plain water around. I used to drink chocolate milk as well, but I sadly had to give that up as I’ve developed an allergy to dairy.

  49. John the Savage says:

    As an opera singer, people always tell me to drink tea when I’m sick. The trouble is, it tastes FUCKING AWFUL to me, no matter what kind; I literally can’t finish a cup. Theraflu is even worse. I’ve resolved to just drinking hot water, sometimes with honey in it.

  50. I find it a bit strange when people can have any specific opinion about “herbal tea”. Because every kind of plant you use gives you a completely different type of tea. And it’s not one of these “connoisseur” type differences where its a subtle hint mortals cannot distinguish. Literally the texture, smell, taste, feel, effects on you are completely different. I can’t understand the idea of having “herbal” and “traditional” teas at all, only “Plant A type tea” and “Plant B type tea” make any sense to me. I guess tea teas are made from the TEA plant because people were too lazy to give that plant a proper name or something, but the two categories are still a bit nonsense to me. You have tea that’s made from this type of plant and “herbal” tea for literally every other plant. That’s just lazy categorization right there.

    Also the stuff you buy in the bags compared to just getting a bunch of dried plants and putting them in water is genuinely worlds apart. I have no idea what they put in those bags, but I’m pretty sure its not the thing that’s pictured on the box.

    1. Anthony says:

      The meaning of the word tea was *originally* that of a brew derived from the tea plant. It comes from the Chinese word for the plant. There wasn’t any unoriginality about it. Generalizing the word “tea” to mean a brew made from pretty much any plant (besides coffee beans for some reason) is a modern innovation.

  51. Moridin says:

    Until reading this thread, I had no idea how common this sort of thing is. When I realized that I should probably stop drinking soda and energy drinks(especially the latter), I just skipped right to water, with occasional orange juice and milk(and tea, during winter time). Now my only drinking-related problem is that I tend to not drink enough unless I watch myself.

  52. wumpus says:

    My dad was a big tea drinker…until the first few kidney stones. Apparently it’s the oxalates, which you also get from dark green vegetables.

    As a non-caffeinated, non-soda person, I drink water, and the occasional green tea or herbal if I’m having sinus issues. I really like a variety of juices, but that’s expensive _and_ fairly high calorie, so water is the usual worktime lubricant.

  53. Deadpool says:

    Okay so I am super late but I hope not too late for Shamus to read this.

    See, while I am NOT a tea afficionato, the young lady next to me as I type this (Hi there!) is. And has been for well over a decade. She is like the Mona Lisa Vito of tea. So here’s the advice she gives:

    Most of the problems you hint at with breakfast tea is likely (hard to be certain without knowing the symptoms) to indeed be caffeine. And drinking tea in an empty stomach.

    More importantly: white tea is NOT intrinsically lower in caffeine content than other kinds of tea. Caffeine content is tea is largely dependent on how the leaves are processed and what parts of the tea are used.

    I actually found a REALLY good site that delivers tea at home. They are not super cheap, although hardly a particularly expensive habit. sells loose leaf tea and they’re all pretty damned good. If I can make some recommendations…

    Oolong tea is relatively low on caffeine because they don’t use the tips. This one:

    Will probably help you out. Note that 1oz is about 10 POTS (5 or so cups) of tea. So the price isn’t exuberant. And the citrus flavor might be up your alley.

    Pu-ehr is another kind. Earthier flavors, and also do not use the tip. The price is higher but Pu-ehr’s can be steeped 3-4 times before it loses the flavor.

    One 2 oz bag should be tea for months. Just a thought.

    If I had a PO box of some kind I’d send you some eventually… Should be ordering hers in a month or two anyways…

  54. Brandon says:

    If I may, let me offer another alternative worth a try: mugicha, or roasted barley tea. I love the stuff, though I can’t drink it. I tended to over-consume and it started to give me tummy troubles. That said, the Japanese drink it all the time with no issues. It’s affordable and tasty.

  55. kdansky says:

    I just drink water. If it’s cold, it’s delicious. Zero calories, zero health issues for high consumption. I keep a thermos around which I fill with water and then drop some ice cubes in, and fill it twice a day. Just don’t drop ice cubes into an empty thermos, because it will literally explode. I’m not kidding.

    I also drink coffee and tea, but water is the big one.

  56. Anthony says:

    One thing I’d definitely recommend with Green Tea/White Tea (they’re basically the same thing) is to brew at a lower temperature. Maybe around 140F or lower instead of 180F. This takes a lot of the bitterness out of the mix.

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