Sportspeople are always on the look-out for the right drink to rebalance the body’s fluids and to provide the right nutrients. Alongside water, coffee and isotonic drinks, grabbing a tea before a workout can act as a performance-enhancer and as a stimulant. It can be regenerative after your session. Tea experts Yuno and Sandra from ‘Oma’s Teekanne’ are here to reveal to you which teas are best suited to different situations.
These days there are thousands of well-known types of teas, all of which stem from one same plant. The differences between them are a result of where the plants grow, when the leaves are picked and how they are then processed. A distinction is made between green tea, black tea, oolong, pu-erh, white and yellow tea. Fully fermented leaves result in a darker infusion, hence the name black tea. Non-fermented tea leaves, however, remain green.
One thing all teas have in common is that they are all packed with antioxidants and nutrients which strengthen the immune system, having a positive effect on the body and one‘s sense of wellbeing. The healthiest teas are green and white teas, as these are the least processed and therefore remain full of valuable nutrients. Studies suggest that drinking three cups of green tea per day allows the body to achieve maximum benefit from the drink.
Tea before sport
Tea contains a similar amount of caffeine (or theine) as coffee, though the effects are delayed. This means that the caffeine takes longer to take effect but that it then lasts for longer. Green tea, in particular matcha tea, is the best choice for a sportsperson before a training session. Just as with coffee, the caffeine in tea increases performance, improves reaction times and concentration as well as enhancing energy levels.
Matcha tea is described as the ‘espresso of green teas”, as the whole tea leaf is used and so contains an especially high level of caffeine, catechins and amino acids. In order to feel the full benefit of matcha tea, sportspeople should dissolve 2 to 4 bamboo spatulas of valuable matcha powder in 100ml of water between 30 minutes and one hour prior to training. The best way to mix it is using a so-called ‘chasen’, a special matcha whisk used to stir the powder. The water, as with all green teas, should not exceed 80 degrees.
Tea after sport
The best tea to help you recuperate after a particularly challenging session is a variety of Japanese green tea called gyokuro. The infusion is pale green in colour and is known to be the finest green tea. With its plethora of nutrients, this variety promotes recuperation and relaxation. Our tea experts Yuno and Sandra from Oma’s Teekanne recommend infusing three teaspoons in approximately 300ml of 70 degree water for two minutes.
Green rooibos tea for relaxation
Rooibos tea is not a tea in the traditional sense, as it does not come from the tea plant. However, both a red and a green infusion drink is produced from the South African redbush plant. The green variety, like green tea, is not fermented and is therefore particularly easily digested. It has no caffeine but a high number of antioxidants and minerals, making green rooibos the perfect choice for recuperation after an evening session of sport.
Green tea is therefore a valuable alternative to coffee or juices for all sports people and passionate tea drinkers ;)
Yuno and Sandra manage ‘Omas Teekanne’, the first vintage tea bar in Graz (Austria) with its adjoining upcycling and design shop. Tea lovers are able to choose between more than 50 types of green and black, herb, fruit or rooibos teas. Peckish tea drinkers can also choose between the delicious pastries and freshly prepared sandwiches also on offer.
Learn more about the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine here.