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Tea or Coffee?

Tea or Coffee. How do the cups compare?

The ongoing debate of tea or coffee has found its way onto the breakfast table and office conversation time and time again – and everyone seems to prefer one over the other. As a tea drinker myself, I’ve always been firmly on the side of the leaves over the beans. But how do they stack up in a head to head (rim to rim) comparison?

First of all, coffee is clearly the better choice if it’s a caffeine boost you’re after. Estimates of caffeine in coffee are generally much higher than black tea – with coffee containing up to 200mg caffeine/ 8 oz. cup compared to up to 70mg caffeine/ 8oz. cup of black tea. However, it ought to be said that caffeine is not a particularly good way of reducing how tired you are in the long run. Although it does provide the initial boost you’re craving, you’ll soon find that you need more to ‘top up’ as its affects wear off. Additionally, drinking coffee has been shown to have a detrimental effect on your sleeping if drank up to 6 hours before bed time. It might be better, therefore, to try and get some more sleep instead – and not enter into a vicious cycle of drinking coffee because you’re tired, and being tired because you’re drinking coffee. You might also consider drinking black tea instead, as it will provide you with a smaller caffeine boost that will affect your sleeping patterns less.

Second of all, tea seems to be the best choice if it’s weight loss you’re after. Whilst most studies focus on green tea as an aid for weight loss due to the chemical catechins, black tea has also been shown to help with the process. Although it is debatable whether either tea or coffee have a real effect on weight loss, it’s fairly safe to say that you’re at least less likely to add more calories to your tea. Coffee drinkers across the world often have the options of additional creams, syrups and even chocolate – adding to the calories already present. Tea, on the other hand, tends to be drunk with only the possibility of extra milk or sugar – still bad, but not as bad.

Finally, many studies also suggest that tea has more health benefits than coffee – for example, it has been suggested that tea improves your immune system. Since tea can reduce stress levels (and coffee can raise them), tea is – in that respect – kinder to your body. Additionally, the reduced chance of disrupted sleep from choosing tea over coffee will also no doubt aid in your body’s natural defences.

There are many advantages and disadvantages to drinking both coffee and black tea, but overall it seems that tea might be the winner. At least until more research is done.

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