For a lot of us, nothing can or will ever stand in as an adequate substitute for that morning cup of joe. For one thing, there's the caffeine content, and then there's the ritualistic aspect of making (and drinking!) coffee in the morning.

In spite of our nation's coffee obsession, it doesn't mean we can't make room for tea, too. The benefits of drinking tea--be it a mug of rooibos, chamomile or earl gray--are incredibly compelling.

China's long history of tea-drinking led us to reach out to Chinese native Catherine Yin for some additional tips and guidance on imbibing the hot beverage.

Yin, a 27-year-old assistant to the dean of admissions at a school in Shanghai says that one of the draws of tea is its budget-friendly price tag. Although some specialty tea leaves will surprise your wallet, "many are not expensive, so everyone can drink tea," hence making it an easy part of the eastern lifestyle.

Many of us have heard of certain herbal teas' abilities to assist with digestion, but Yin cautions: "It's not good for your stomach to drink tea right after meals. You need to wait about half an hour. Even though tea leaves are very natural, they will add some burden to your stomach for digesting." So before you reach for that mug of peppermint after dinner, wait a little while.
Yin notes that the many different types of tea "all have different purposes," and goes on to say that flower tea is good for beauty and jasmine for the complexion. Purists technically believe that only five types of tea exist (green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pu-er), with the other existing herbal varieties being derivatives of one of these.

Certain teas are also said to carry other heavy-duty health benefits, which we might be skeptical of: does drinking oolong tea regularly really reduce our risk of diabetes? Does pu'er tea really reduce fat in the stomach, as Yin asserts?

Perhaps these larger claims are best taken with a grain of salt--or a cube of sugar as it were!
We can, however, be less suspicious of tea's mood-enhancing qualities, and would do well to appreciate the fact that tea, if nothing else, is simply satisfying, soothing and makes for good socializing.

For some specific benefits of drinking various types of tea, click through the slideshow above. We bet you'll have the kettle on in no time.

More from Elizabeth Street:
How to Make Coffee Like the Experts
Reese Witherspoon's Delicious Tea Recipe
Combine Caffeine and Exercise for a Stronger Workout