Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Overlord’s Creep Spreads To Blizzard

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My previous estimation of “I’ll still be updating this blog even if I am focusing on BlizzPro right now!” may have been a bit optimistic.

It’s been a couple of weeks, and I am happy to report that I haven’t blown anything up or set anything on fire yet.  In fact, I’ve been able to do a ton of new, shiny stuff:

  • I’ve managed to build up a pretty decent library of articles over at BlizzPro — use this link to access the archives of everything I’ve written so far, including my new weekly Behind the Lore series!
  • The sausage fest formerly known as the HearthPro podcast has been inundated with glitter and raspy lady-voices thanks to my being elected as their third co-host! Though my first appearance was technically in the Special Beta episode, my actual debut as a co-host type and not just a guest is in Episode 4.  New episodes are released every Monday!
  • It finally happened — Internet Celebrity Status has been unlocked.  I now have more followers than I do people I’m following on Twitter (and no, I didn’t just go ahead and unfollow a bunch of people to get it):
    internetcelebritybunny
  • Hearthstone’s closed beta happened.  As you may have gathered by my inclusion on the HearthPro podcast, I got in.  I am a Baddie McBadderson with a win/loss ratio so crappy that the random matchmaking system often has trouble finding someone on my skill level.  At first it made me a little sad, now I take it as a point of pride that I may very well be the worst Hearthstone player ever.  Fame and fortune will be mine.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has been invaded by a small odangoed Lalafell thaumaturge named Bunny Sagan (spoilers: it’s me).
  • I toured some tiny little indie game company you may or may not be familiar with, I forget what their name is… Hurricane?  Tornado?  Oh, no, Blizzard.  I toured Blizzard.

While I gear up for an impending comic review and try to refocus my brain on Actually Producing A Blog Post, I figured I’d share some of my experiences and impressions of my journey through the hallowed halls of Blizzard Entertainment’s Irvine campus, or what some might call Nerd Disneyland.

Blizzard isn’t just one enormous building — it’s several enormous buildings.  I was only able to tour the World of Warcraft hub (“only,” she says) and that on its own took about two and a half hours to cover the lobby and the second floor.  The lobby is home to the infamous Blizzard Museum, kept safe by a life-sized hyper-realistic statue of Nova Terra and a bank of computers where you can log in on your StarCraft 2, Diablo 3, or World of Warcraft accounts and kill time while you wait.  It’s also where you’ll stumble across the giant Horde and Alliance plushies that so many people take photos with, something I should have planned ahead for, since they ended up photobombing this otherwise amazing photo of myself with my tour guide, the devastatingly handsome Monte Krol:

Other than clearly being a male model so talented that he can ambi-turn with the best of them, Monte is the voice of the male goblins in World of Warcraft and the game’s Lead Tools Engineer.  He’s been with the company for thirteen years, just shy of receiving the commemorative shield given to employees for 15 years of service (they receive sword at 5, a ring at 15, and the Lich King’s helm at 20), so he knows where all the cool stuff and secret candy stashes are.

The Blizzard Museum is not only a repository for awesome concept art, character bios, and community appreciation — StarCraft 2 shoutcasters have their very own plaque in the eSports exhibit — it also features a StarCraft 2 voice changer that you can mess around with to sound like Abathur or Izsha if you follow the instructions given on how to manipulate the small soundboard hooked up to it.  To answer your next question, yes, I made poop jokes as Izsha.  I’ve got you covered, guys. (Not with poop.  Ewwww.)

The second floor of the World of Warcraft building is where all the magical creative stuff happens.  It’s home to concept artists, quest designers, and the most impressive collection of official Warcraft figures I’ve ever seen just in one guy’s office.  One of Blizzard’s core philosophies is “embrace your inner geek,” and their employees have definitely run with it based solely on their office decor.  They go all out on making their work environment comfortable, which sometimes means decorating their workspace with hanging vines, tropical plants, and dim lighting to look like a balmy jungle.

No, seriously, I forget whose office it was, but it was one of the most glorious things I’ve ever seen.  I’m pretty sure he was even using a specific color of lightbulb to get the full effect.

Everyone I spoke to, even the team Leads (who were undoubtedly swamped with Patch 5.4’s impending release), were more than happy to explain to me their roles in the development process and even just to chat.  It didn’t feel like anyone was reading from a script or being forced to interact, and that sense of welcoming really was appreciated.  About halfway through the tour I ran into Greg Street, a.k.a. the infamous Ghostcrawler, and I can honestly say that he is really a pleasant and kind-hearted guy when he’s not being screamed at and threatened by the denizens of the internet JUST AS TERRIFYING AND HARDCORE AS YOU THINK HE IS.

(Don’t worry, Greg, your secret’s safe with me.)

Across the courtyard from the World of Warcraft building is the fabled Blizzard Library, guarded by more lifelike statues of Illidan and Jim Raynor.  The library itself is small, but stuffed with every tabletop RPG manual, graphic novel, or programming reference guide you could ask for.  They even have a gigantic console gaming and Blu-Ray section for their employees to borrow from.  If I could have a library card from anywhere, it’d be from there!

The tour ended not in the gift shop — sadly, they don’t have one — but in the campus’s cafeteria.  If you follow any Blizzard people on Twitter, you may have noticed them talking about how good the food is.  After sampling it for myself, I can safely say it was a better dining experience than most restaurants I’ve been to.  Vegan, kosher, and halal employees always have options available that are not just “a salad” There is an ice cream machine and a spread of just about anything you could possibly want to eat that day.  This isn’t typical “pizza or hamburger” choice, this is more like “Stuffed Greek Burger” versus “Tofu Veggie Wrap with Watermelon Salad.”  It makes sense, though, when you figure that a lot of these employees are spending at least two of three mealtimes at work; good food means they’ve got the fuel to make it through the long hours.

If you want to schedule your own tour, Blizzard’s official site explains what you need to do.  There’s no cost, and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to see where your favorite games are born!  Keep in mind, though, that spots are very limited and may require a bit of patience to get depending on how many other tours have already been scheduled or phases in the development cycle that may see the campus closed to visitors.  All in all, it was a great experience, and only a little bittersweet for me.  Getting an inside look at how Blizzard operates has only made me hungrier for a desk of my own there.  One of these days…

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Overlord Bunny Goes Pro!

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Folks, this morning I found something amazing in my inbox.

As of today, I am officially BlizzPro‘s newest editor.  This means that I will regularly be contributing news articles to their most glorious of websites so that you, the players, can stay informed of the most exciting changes in Blizzard Entertainment’s gaming lineup — live events, PTR thrills, patch notes, the works!

What does this mean for my blog?  Well, probably not too much.  I’ll still be writing original gaming articles here (I’m hoping with the same frequency), and of course, you can always catch me on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.  If you’re not much for the social networking but all about the gaming, I’m also noobing it up pretty regularly on Battle.Net as BunnyOverlor#1766 or on Steam as BunnyOverlord.  Noticing a pattern, yet?

I’m also hoping to start livestreaming my gaming adventures on my Twitch channel — I’ve done one “test” show with the fabulous Miss Bonekitty and a whole horde of stinky zombies just asking to be set on fire, but I’m still working on some technical stuff with it as well as figuring out a regular time that works for everyone.

I don’t have any articles up on the site yet, but that will be changing soon!  In the meantime, head on over to the sparkly new BlizzPro Forums and say hello!

A million thanks to all of you for your support and reads, by the way — I legitimately could not have done this without you all listening to my voice and spreading the word.  I may not be as internet-famous as some, but damned if I don’t have quality over quantity.

Oh, The Humani-Tea

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Before moving to California, I worked for a chain of tea stores that shall go unnamed.  I would just cut out the middle man and call them Voldemort, but I feel like that’d be unfair because prior to an also-unnamed chain of coffee shops that actually deserves a villainous snake-faced moniker buying them out and shit-canning or forcing almost everyone in my store out of their jobs despite promising us that we wouldn’t have to worry about such things and giving us all a measly $3 gift certificate for coffee on our way out the door like that was supposed to make up for it, they were an incredible company to work for.  The atmosphere was great, the people I worked with were amazing, and most importantly, I learned how to make a bitchin’ cup of tea.

Tea is, in my opinion, the most misunderstood beverage out there.  Most people just don’t know how to brew it, which isn’t a slight against them — unless you’ve grown up in a family of loose-leaf tea drinkers or worked somewhere that serves tea, the only way to learn what to do is to read up on the subject, and with most of the tea you’ll find in non-specialty stores being the cheap dunk-in-water-and-go bagged variety, there’s really not much exposure to it in the first place.  I’ve found that whenever someone tells me “I don’t like tea,” it’s due to improper preparation or one of the many misconceptions floating around out there:

  • “Drinking tea is gay.”  I apologize in advance for even typing out this abhorrent reasoning, but sadly, it’s been one of the most common negative perceptions I’ve heard.  It’s disgustingly offensive and small-minded.  Tea does not have a gender.  Tea is a beverage.  If you are trying to impose gender roles on your drink, then you’ve got much deeper issues than simply being a bigot.
  • “Tea tastes disgusting.”  Bitter tea is a direct result of using a water temperature that’s much too high or steeped it for too long.  Weak tea means you haven’t added enough tea leaves or haven’t steeped it long enough.  Plus, there’s multiple flavors and varieties of tea out there, just like wine — certain types of tea have certain characteristics that may or may not be palatable to you.  One hundred percent of the time that someone has said this to me, I’ve managed to brew them a cup of tea that has absolutely blown their minds.  Go to a tea shop and ask for a recommendation based on flavors you like; I guarantee whoever’s behind the counter will be more than happy to help.
  • “I’m a coffee person.”  Coffee and tea aren’t mutually exclusive!  There’s no rule that says you can’t enjoy both.  There’s even some blends, like JavaVana Mate, that actually contain cappuccino and chocolate in addition to the tea itself and serve as a really nice “crossover” option (it’s not just for the music charts anymore).
  • “I only drink iced tea.”  Loose-leaf tea doesn’t just mean “hot tea.”  It’s just as delicious and easy to make iced as it is hot!
  • “It’s way too expensive!”  At first glance, yes, it’s going to seem pricey, and some super-rare teas will come at a premium cost… but most loose-leaf tea can be re-brewed between 3 and 5 times using the same leaves, and some even more than that.  Your average cost for a medium-range tea will come out to about 20 cents per cup, which is significantly cheaper than hitting the coffee bar.  Tea bags are cheaper, but the ingredients they contain are far inferior to loose-leaf, meaning you don’t get as much reusability from them and you’re sacrificing a great deal of taste and potential health benefits.  Spend the extra few cents to get the good stuff.  It’s the most affordable luxury you’ll find.
  • “It’s too hard to brew.”  Most tea shops will sell any number of brewing devices for loose leaf tea, whether they’re a one-cup maker that sits on top of your mug, the infamous “tea ball”, or a fully-automated appliance like this one that I would sell my first, second, and thirdborn to get my hands on.  You can put the kettle on while you do stuff around the house, or if you’re lucky, your workplace will have one of those instant hot water spigots.  Wait a minute or two for the tea to finish steeping, which you’d do anyway with a tea bag, and enjoy.  All you have to do is know how hot your water needs to be, how much tea to put in, and how long to let it brew, which is made even easier thanks to the advent of things called “post-it notes” and “refrigerator magnets.”
  • “I need something with a caffeine boost.” or “I can’t have caffeine.”  The vast majority of teas out there contain the same amount of caffeine as a cup of decaf coffee — yep, surprise, decaf actually contains about 20% caffeine — or less.  There are multiple 0% caffeine options in the world of tea, as well.  If you absolutely need the pick-me-up, there’s options out there for you, too.

I’ve been intentionally vague on a few points thus far simply because I’ll be explaining them in further detail a bit later on.  Welcome to Tea-Brewing 101.  There will be a test, but you get to drink the results.

Why Tea Bags Suck

Once upon a time, I, too, fell victim to the Celestial Seasonings trap.  It was extremely cheap, and they had a ton of flavors, so why not?  At that point in my life I’d never had loose-leaf tea, so I had nothing to compare it to.  Even after drinking my first “proper” cup of tea, I didn’t notice much of a difference… until I went home that night and brewed myself a cup of the bagged stuff.

It was so awful that I spit it out and poured the rest down the sink.  Once you go loose, you’ll never… reverse?  (With rhymes that sick, just call me T-Rabbit.)

The most significant difference I’ve found is between bagged green tea and real green tea.  The tastes are worlds apart, no matter how high-end the bags claim to be.  After reading the ingredients for several different brands of green tea bags, I concluded that this was because most of the time, you’re not even getting green tea.  You’re getting a blend of black, white, and just a sprinkling of green, or the mysterious “natural tea blend” which could contain actual dirt, for all we know.

The other varieties of tea out there, however, are not immune from the Taste Gap.  Even in the rare event that the ingredients check out, cut open a bag and look at what’s inside.  It’s a powdery mess that’s been ground up so finely you can’t immediately identify what it once was.  Contains “orange peel” and “jasmine flower?”  Maybe so, but you wouldn’t know it just by looking at it.  For reference, this is what good loose-leaf tea will resemble:

From The Cozy Leaf on Etsy. It's so pretty.

This is the one time you actually *want* something you’re about to consume to resemble potpourri.

Not only is it prettier, but you can presumably identify the ingredients.  The tea leaves themselves haven’t been chopped into oblivion, meaning they can actually open up in the hot water, allowing the natural oils that give tea its flavor to spread more evenly and provide a significantly more delicious taste.

Bagged tea also tends to go stale much more quickly due to its packaging, guaranteeing even further loss of taste.  The flimsy cardboard boxes and paper envelopes they come in won’t keep sunlight and air out reliably, which is a must in the eternal…

Storage Wars

Before I go any further, I should probably remind everyone that I no longer work for any tea companies and am, in fact, an unemployed bum at the current time.  Thus, I am not being paid off by anyone to make recommendations or write this article or spread bullshit to drive up their sales — I’m writing as a tea drinker, not a tea vendor.  With that being said…

Buy the damn tins.

If you’ve ever been to a Teavana, you know what I’m talking about — they recommend that you purchase one of their air-tight, light-tight tins to protect your tea from going stale (which will happen in less than a week with the paper bag they give you, versus a year or more if you snag a tin).  This isn’t a lie.  I learned this the hard way, myself, the first time I bought tea from them.  I was certain that it was just a sales tactic to get an extra few bucks out of me without really giving me anything in return.

Fast forward two weeks as I’m making myself a cup of my new favorite tea.  The first thing I noticed upon opening the bag was that the smell wasn’t quite as good as it had been in the store and during the previous week.  It only took one sip of the finished product to hammer home the point that I, Overlord of Bunnies, had screwed up royally by not getting a tin to keep it in.  Yes, it would have meant shelling out an extra few bucks, but the tins themselves are reusable, so for a loyal tea drinker like myself, it’s really a one-time investment.

You do not have to purchase the tins specifically from Teavana or whatever store you happen to be buying the tea from if you’d rather get a cheaper option.  Any container that prevents light and air from getting in will suffice.  Tupperware and glass will not work.  If you can see through it, it is not light-proof, and it will affect the tea’s freshness.  While you’re buying your tea, however, check any clearance or sale sections, because they frequently mark down decorative and “older” style tins.

As an added note, if the tea you’re buying contains orange peels, lemon peels, or any kind of citrus, be sure that your tin is specifically approved for citrus, otherwise the seal can swell and make it either extremely difficult or completely impossible to reopen.

Brewing Options

Obviously, you can’t just dump loose-leaf tea into the bottom of your cup and drink it — well, you could, but I operate under the rule that the only tea you should be chewing is boba tea.  There’s plenty of options out there as far as nifty gadgets to make sure you get all of the tea with none of the mess.

  • The One-Cup Tea Maker.  Almost every major loose-leaf tea company out there has its own version, but they all work the same.  Put your tea leaves (and sugar, if you so desire) into the device, then pour in the hot water and let it steep.  When it’s done, simply set it on top of your mug, which will activate a pressure plate that allows the liquid to empty out but won’t let the leaves themselves through the strainer.  Some of them are dishwasher-safe on the top rack, and all of them are easy to wash by hand.  Adagio Teas sells one through ThinkGeek as well as in their own stores, and Teavana has the PerfectTea maker, which is also available in a 32-oz version if you’ve got multiple tea drinkers in the house or just really like tea.
  • Tea Infusers.  The most famous incarnation of the tea infuser is probably the tea ball, but many companies have started selling adorable versions like this rocket ship or, if you’re of the nerdier persuasion like myself, you can pick up a Death Star infuser, complete with the most delicious exhaust ports ever.  A quick Google search of “tea infuser” brings up a myriad of other results to cater to almost any taste or fandom out there.  As adorable as they may be, however, they are prone to a couple of problems; hinges and latches can become loose or unreliable after repeated use, meaning there’s a chance of the tea spilling out into your drink.  Finer-leaf teas, such as Earl Grey or green tea, may also slip through the holes on some models, unlike the one-cup makers which utilize a very fine mesh that will act as a barrier against the most delicate of teas.  If you tend to prefer chunkier blends and aren’t a daily tea drinker, or just want something cute to bring out when company’s over, these are good (and cheap) options.
  • Tea Strainers.  Basically like the one-cup tea makers, but with less engineering.  These sit in the top of your cup filled with tea leaves, then you pour the hot water over and let it brew (the bottom of the strainer basket has to actually reach the water, however, to be effective).  Since most are made using that super-fine mesh, the size of your leaves won’t be such a concern, but whereas the one-cup makers will work with nearly all mug sizes, these are a bit more specific.  If you use novelty mugs which may be smaller or larger than “standard,” you may find that the strainer doesn’t fit.
  • Infuser Mugs, Thermoses, and Tea Pots.  Infuser mugs are essentially a mug and tea strainer all in one bundle and usually made of ceramic (including the actual infuser itself), but share the same problem as many tea infusers — the holes are usually too big to use with smaller tea leaves.  For those who want something for the drive to work or are looking for a more portable option, many companies offer travel thermoses with built-in mesh infusers, although finding a place to save or dump your leaves once it’s done brewing can be problematic if you’re in the middle of traffic or don’t want to have to take along a spare bag or drip cup.  Infuser tea pots are best for entertaining — company, not Beauty and the Beast — or for keeping a steady supply at hand if you know you’re going to go back for a second cup, but they cannot, I repeat, CANNOT BE PUT DIRECTLY ONTO THE STOVETOP.  Use a kettle to boil your water, then pour it in.  If you put the tea pot itself onto the stove to boil, it will melt, explode, combust, or do any other number of awesome-sounding verbs that are great in a Michael Bay movie, but not so much in your kitchen.  Similar to the tea pots are the infuser pitchers, which I find work absolutely perfectly for iced tea.
  • Tea-Brewing Appliances.  If you have money to burn and no shits to give, there’s the One-Touch Tea Maker that is, quite simply, the most glorious thing I have ever laid eyes on.  Press buttons, reap rewards.  No watching the clock, no boiling a kettle or worrying about water temperature.  About the only thing it doesn’t do is massage your shoulders and whisper sweet nothings into your ear, but there’s only one Tom Hiddleston and I hear he’s otherwise engaged so it’s a great substitute, anyway.  If it’s a bit out of your price range, but you still want the added convenience that comes with having a quasi-robotic tea servant, Zojirushi makes several varieties of water boilers that will heat your water to whatever specific temperature you need.

How To Tea Like A Boss

Congratulations!  You’ve overcome your prior prejudices against tea, bought your storage tins, assembled your supplies… and now have no idea what the Hell to do.

There are several common varieties of tea that you’ll find, each with different perceived health benefits (NOTE: not a doctor), flavors, and brewing requirements.  There’s also a few handy tips and tricks that apply to all of them:

  • For preparation, tea leaves are measured out in heaping teaspoon units, so dig through your baking supplies and find one to ensure the most accurate (and delicious) results.
  • Don’t microwave your water, ever.  Buy a cheap kettle and boil it the old-fashioned way.  Microwaving water will affect the flavor and, if you’re drinking tea for health reasons, may lessen or remove any purported health benefits.
  • If you’re adding sugar to your tea, I recommend putting it in with your tea leaves to allow the water to naturally stir it through for better flavor.  Add honey into the bottom of your mug before pouring the brewed tea in, then stir.  German rock sugar, which is crystallized beet sugar and water, will add sweetness without altering the flavor like table sugar can, but is slightly higher in calories (25g per teaspoon) and has the same glycemic index, so it is not safer for diabetics!
  • Don’t stir your tea while it’s steeping.  It can damage the leaves and affect the quality of the brew.
  • Teavana sells digital tea timers with pre-programmed, color-coded buttons depending on what kind of tea you’re brewing.  I highly recommend picking one up, or, if you’re brewing at your desk, Adagio Teas has a free desktop app for PC users that will keep track of time for you.
  • To make a single serving of iced tea, fill your cup (not glass!) to the top with ice and use double the normal amount of tea leaves with half the normal amount of water.  Pour the hot tea directly into the ice-filled cup, top off with ice to replace what’s melted, and stir.  Voila!  No waiting to cool required!  You can use the same concept to brew a whole pitcher for immediate consumption.
  • Want stronger tea?  Add leaves, not time.  If 2 teaspoons is too weak for your tastes, try 3 teaspoons instead, but brew it for the same length of time, or else you’ll risk burning the leaves!
  • For the best tea, Earl Grey, hot, look for varieties that include pieces of bergamot rather than bergamot oil, essence, or flavoring.
  • To achieve the purported health benefits of each type of tea, it is recommended that you drink three 8 oz servings per day.  Note that no health benefits have been proven by any scientific body, and tea is not a substitute for medication or a doctor’s care.  Drinking too much tea can also cause problems for people with kidney or gallbladder issues, so when in doubt, ask your doctor!
  • Most tea stores will provide specific instructions on how to brew their teas, often via a sticker on the front of your tea tin.  Keep it handy!
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, you can mix two different teas to come up with unique flavors and blends of your own, so feel free to experiment!  There’s some special instructions to keep in mind, however.
    • If you need 4 teaspoons of tea total for your cup, you can usually split it down the middle with 2 teaspoons from each tea that you’re mixing.  If there’s a particular tea you want to be a more dominant flavor, shift the balance so that the majority of your mix is from its side.  Shake to mix the dry leaves together before you brew to ensure the flavor is evenly distributed.
    • The water should only be as hot and the brew time should only be as long as the most delicate tea in your blend.  For example, if you’re mixing a green tea (extremely short steep time and lower temperature) with an herbal tea (long steep time and high temperature), you want to let your blend steep for the extremely short time using cooler water.

White Tea

Caffeine Content: 1%
Amount per 8oz: 1.5 tsp
Water Temperature: 175 F (boiling water + 4 to 5 ice cubes)
Steep Time: 2 minutes
Purported Health Benefits: Hydration and detoxification, healthy skin and nails
Flavor: Light, usually mixed with fruity or floral ingredients, though there are some chai-flavored white teas that can offer the taste without the caffeine.

Green Tea

Caffeine Content: 5%
Amount per 8oz: 1 tsp
Water Temperature: 175 F (boiling water + 4 to 5 ice cubes)
Steep Time: 1 minute
Purported Health Benefits: Supports healthy blood sugar, boosts immune system, contains EGCG complex
Flavor: Light, sometimes “grassy.” Usually sold plain, but other flavors, including jasmine and mint, do exist.

Oolong

Caffeine Content: 10%
Amount per 8oz: 1 tsp
Water Temperature: 195 F (boiling water + 2 to 3 ice cubes)
Steep Time: 3 minutes
Purported Health Benefits: Aids digestion, promotes healthy teeth
Flavor: Light to moderate, usually with a sweet, earthy note.  Works well with chai and spiced fruit flavoring.

Black Tea

Caffeine Content: 20%
Amount per 8oz: 1 tsp
Water Temperature: 195 F (boiling water + 2 to 3 ice cubes)
Steep Time: 3 minutes
Purported Health Benefits: Cardiovascular health
Flavor: Robust, most popularly enjoyed in the mornings as a breakfast tea.  Earl Grey is considered a “black” tea.

Mate

Caffeine Content: 100% (equivalent to a regular cup of coffee)
Amount per 8oz: 1.5 tsp
Water Temperature: 208 F (boiling)
Steep Time: 5 minutes
Purported Health Benefits: Energy and appetite suppression due to caffeine content
Flavor: The mate sold by stores like Teavana is not the same as the yerba mate that is enjoyed in South American countries, though the rich flavor is “inspired by.”  Recommended for coffee fans due to its bold flavor and varieties that may include ingredients like chocolate and cappuccino.

Rooibos

Caffeine Content: 0%
Amount per 8oz: 1.5 tsp
Water Temperature: 208 F (boiling)
Steep Time: 5 minutes
Purported Health Benefits: —
Flavor: Because of its naturally sweet flavor and lack of caffeine, rooibos is often recommended for children or those with a sweet tooth.  The fruit varieties, especially, often taste just like juice, even without sugar!

Herbal

Caffeine Content: 0%
Amount per 8oz: 1.5 tsp
Water Temperature: 208 F (boiling)
Steep Time: 5 minutes
Purported Health Benefits: Depends on ingredients; examples include honeybush for relief of menstrual cramps or lavender for a calming effect (as someone with anxiety issues, I’ve had success drinking lavender teas to bring myself out of mild attacks or lower my stress level throughout the day).
Flavor: Typically contains no actual tea leaves, but can run the gamut from nutty or chocolate-y flavors to fruity or floral.