Coffee vs tea. A battle old as time. Even our grandparents were comparing them and trying to find out which is best and why. One is the student-friendly drink that keeps you up at night and helps you study the next day’s mid-term, the other is the go-to beverage for calming and relaxing.
Although we all love to drink them so much, do we know what they actually are and how they differ from each other?
Not to worry. In this article, I’m going to explain all you need to know about these two beloved drinks and what makes them different. We will ask questions like “Does tea have more caffeine than coffee?” or simply “Is tea or coffee better for you?” and answer them.
After you’ve done reading, it’s up to you to decide which is superior and why.
If you’re ready, let’s start.
What is Coffee?
Have you heard that in a single year over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed? Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world and it has a crucial role in our daily life. When most people wake up, all they can think of is having a warm and strong cup of coffee. Well then, what is coffee, which originated in Ethiopia, is actually made from the seeds of the Coffea plant’s berries. These seeds are called “coffee beans” and if you roast them, you’ll get our precious coffee. Coffee plants can be found between the Tropics of Capricorn and the Tropics of Cancer, it’s also called the “coffee belt”. This area includes countries such as Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Ethiopia, etc.
Additionally, we have several coffee bean species. For instance, Arabica is the most consumed coffee bean species with a striking rate of %60. It has a sweeter and fruity taste with more acidity compared to the others. Robusta, on the other hand, is well-known for its strong caffeine content (almost double as Arabica), bitter flavor, and being the second-most consumed coffee. There are two other bean species called Liberica and Excelsa, but they are not that famous.
What is Tea?
First recorded in Ancient China in the 10th century BC, tea continues to become one of the most popular drinks in the world to this day. It is the mixture of leaves of the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis) and hot water. Due to Camellia Sinensis’ love for subtropical continents, tea plants originated in ancient Asia and Africa.
In addition, there are different types of tea such as oolong, green tea, white tea, and black tea. These unique types occur as a result of the tea processing stage it undergoes.
Black tea has distinct robust flavors while green tea is sweet and has a floral and vegetal flavor. Similarly, white tea has a delicate and floral flavor, but the floral-like taste is much lighter. Oolong tea, on the other hand, is well-known for its grassy, full-bodied, and toasty taste.
Although it was still known among some people before the 19th century, the popularity of it has drastically increased in the 19th century. Nowadays, it has become the national drink of countries like the UK and Turkey.
Differences Between Coffee Vs Tea
Being the precious companion of the students who pull an all-nighter to study for the next day’s mid-term and workers who need to do their tasks before the deadline, caffeine means everything to us in the 21st century. Due to its energizing nature and stimulant effect, most of us start the day with it.
Caffeine in tea vs coffee is mostly different as a result of the brewing process they undergo. As coffee is a considerably more concentrated brew than tea, the amount of coffee beans required in a cup of coffee is slightly more than the number of tea leaves needed in a cup of tea. To give an exact amount, a cup of coffee uses 15g of beans while tea only requires 2g of tea leaves.
In fact, even different types of coffees have different caffeine amounts in them. For example, an espresso shot contains 60 mg while an 8oz regular brewed coffee contains 90 mg. With one of the highest caffeine amounts, 180 mg, a cold brew is also a good option for those who want a strong coffee. In contrast, even decaf coffee has a negligible 2mg of caffeine in it.
Just like the coffees, types of tea also consist of different caffeine content. To give an example, Yerba Mate ranks at the top of the list with almost 85 mg caffeine while green tea has just 30 mg caffeine in it. One of the most popular types of tea, black tea, has 60 mg caffeine, just like a single espresso shot!
To sum up, the amount of beans and leaves used in these beverages is the actual reason why coffee has more caffeine content than tea. But beware, when it comes to the types of coffee and tea, which have more caffeine can change.
Although it’s a highly subjective topic and ultimately you decide which tastes better and why, I will explain coffee vs tea’s acidity levels and what they taste like.
Coffee beans have two main species and the most famous one is Arabica. Coffee made from Arabica beans can have a fruity flavor such as berries, dried fruits, or even exotic fruits like papaya. It tends to be sweeter and softer with a high acidity compared to Robusta. The other bean species is called Robusta and it’s mostly known for its stronger and chocolatey taste with a peanutty aftertaste.
It is also worth mentioning that other than these two flavor descriptions, you can find unique-flavored coffees out there as the coffee industry is an endless world that is waiting for you to explore.
Tea, on the other hand, has an earthy and floral taste generally, but it varies from type to type.
For instance, black tea has nutty, balanced, and strong flavors while green tea tastes fruity, floral, and even oceanic with a bittersweet aftertaste. White teas, on the other hand, tend to have delicate, relaxing, and floral flavors.
As you can see, both coffee and tea’s flavor depends on their types that occur as a result of the brewing or fermentation process. That means you have limitless options to try and explore the rich worlds of tea and coffee!
Let’s dive into the health benefits of these delicious drinks and see if they can help us to enhance our health.
As both drinks contain the same stimulant called “caffeine”, it is important to know what caffeine does to our body.
The caffeine content in tea or coffee depends on various factors such as preparation or brewing method, serving size, temperature, etc. As we mentioned before, a regular cup of coffee (8 ounces/ 90mg caffeine) contains almost twice the caffeine black tea (8 ounces/ 45mg caffeine) has. The question is, is caffeine beneficial for us?
According to this article published by several scientists, caffeine can enhance our physical endurance, mental alertness, and concentration while reducing fatigue. It is also considered as a “performance enhancer” in sports and studies showed that consuming caffeine can enhance exercise performance and endurance by 12%.
In addition, caffeine intake might decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes by enhancing insulin sensitivity. It is also worth mentioning that adequate amounts of caffeine consumption may help decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
To put it simply, antioxidants play a big role in protecting your body against free radical damage. Thus, they can decrease the risk of some chronic diseases.
Although they both have antioxidants, tea has much more concentrated antioxidants compared to coffee. Tea and coffee have a high level of polyphenols which is a plant-based antioxidant. Its main role is to protect our cells from free radicals and assist the healthy-aging process.
Tea usually has more polyphenols than coffee as extreme heat in the brewing process of coffee kills the polyphenols. The highest amount of polyphenol recorded can be found in matcha green tea, with almost triple the amount of closest rival.
To sum up, drinking coffee or tea can help you to age slowly and prevent some chronic diseases as a result of antioxidants in them. Extreme consumption, however, may lead to unwanted results, so keep in mind to consume them moderately.
Consumption of coffee vs tea around the world is at unprecedented levels nowadays and we can safely say that they are totally worth it. It can be difficult to decide which is better; is it coffee with its strong caffeine content and various flavors or tea with a relaxing nature and floral flavors?
Ultimately, it’s up to you which one to choose but you can rest assured that you won’t be disappointed whether you choose tea or coffee. Enjoy them and have a nice day!
A proud coffee aficionado who is determined to share his passion and knowledge about coffee with others. Writing and sci-fi are sine qua non of my life. It is not a good day for me if I haven’t had my coffee in the morning.
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