Are you a tea or coffee person? This guide compares two of the world's most popular beverages, so you can decide once and for all what is best for you.
Although very different, tea and coffee share more similarities than you would have imagined. These two beverages can be served either hot or cold, both have caffeine contents, and both have several claimed health benefits.
On the other hand, even though tea and coffee are very similar, they are also different in some ways. They differ in caffeine levels, antioxidants, and the culture by which they are found in. These differences cause us to prefer one over another, including drink one and not the other.
The origins of tea
Tea originated in China as a medicinal drink. It was served to people who were ill and needed a quick remedy to feel better. It later became more popular in south-west China, in the region now known as the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan. These areas are credited with being the first place where tea was drunk for pleasure, rather than being used for medicinal purposes. They boiled the tea leaves into a liquid, stimulating a new and profound beverage.
Drinking tea became popular in Western cultures as its popularity grew in Great Britain during the 17th century. The Brits were also the ones introducing tea production and consumption to India (a British Colony at the time), in order to compete with the Chinese monopoly on tea.
The origins of coffee
Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia, initially being consumed whole. It was discovered accidentally by a herdsman who was on a walk with his goat. He noticed his goat eating coffee berries and thought they were poisonous so naturally he became worried for his goat. Curious as to what the goat was eating, he tried a berry himself and noticed that it has a strong lasting taste, a taste of coffee.
The herdsman brought the coffee berry back to his friends and family excited about his new discovery. Showing everyone the berry led to a ripple effect of tasting and exploring the coffee tree and its beans further.
The legend says that Arab traders from Yemen brought back the coffee bean from Ethiopia to their own respective countries. These traders planted their own coffee trees using the seeds that they brought back.
Caffeine in tea
In a typical 8 oz cup of Black Tea you could find 25-48mg of caffeine, while the decaf tea cup has 2-5mg of caffeine. The level of caffeine that is in a typical 8 oz brewed Green Tea is 25-29mg of caffeine.
For example, Waka's Kenyan black instant tea has 4.5% caffeine = about 26 mg of caffeine per 0.02 oz tea powder (0.57 grams). The Japanese green tea matcha has on average 3% caffeine = about 76 mg of caffeine per 0.09 oz unsifted matcha powder (2.55 grams).
Caffeine in coffee
In a typical 8 oz cup of brewed coffee you could find 95-165mg of caffeine, the decaf cup version will include 2-5mg of caffeine. Lattes and mochas have high levels of caffeine as well, ranging from 63-126mg of caffeine.
Waka's Colombian freeze dried Arabica instant coffee has 2.3% caffeine = about 70 mg of caffeine per 0.1 oz coffee (about 3 grams). The Colombian freeze dried Arabica Decaf instant coffee has 0.13% caffeine = about 3.6 mg of caffeine per 0.1 oz coffee (about 3 grams). The Indian freeze dried Arabica instant Coffee has 2% caffeine = about 60 mg of caffeine per 0.1 oz coffee (about 3 grams).
Overall, coffee has more caffeine than tea. It might be good news for those looking for an instant energy fix, but may cause anxiety and other side effects for others.
Antioxidants in tea
Tea is filled with antioxidants that can protect you from many different free radicals. Because antioxidants slow the body’s aging process, it can also help improve your skin; making it look younger.
Not only it might make you look younger, but black tea also includes the antioxidant theaflavins, which can help in reducing bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Read more about the benefits of tea here.
Antioxidants in coffee
Coffee also has antioxidants that serve for health benefits. Typical antioxidants that are found in coffee include chlorogenic acid (boosts metabolism rates), cafestol (helps improve memory), and trigonellin (prevents dental issues). Read more about the claimed health benefits of coffee here.
The tea drinking culture
The tea ceremony is a celebration that promotes the preparation and presentation of tea. It plays a crucial part in weddings in East Asian cultures up to this day.
Tea drinking is also known in various countries as an important daily life activity, known as Afternoon Tea, High Tea or Elevenses. The Afternoon Tea is a light meal in the afternoon portion of the day, followed by some tea. Light foods such as sandwiches and salads are often served alongside the tea. The meal is usually eaten between 3:30-5:00 PM. Hight Tea is also a meal eaten in the late afternoon or early evening, typically consisting of a cooked dish, bread and butter, accompanied by tea. Lastly, Elevenses is a much shorter tea break when you enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, and sometimes biscuits, at around eleven o'clock in the morning.
The coffee drinking culture
Coffee culture has turned into a social culture, that can be seen experienced by many all the time, but especially in the morning. Meeting up with some friends over coffee is another way to catch-up for a quick get together. Coffee culture is also demonstrated by the presence of coffee shops on almost every corner. Wherever you go you can find a coffee shop to fill your coffee needs.
Coffee traditions have turned into different forms of cup of joe all over the globe. Some people add an egg to their coffee, whereas others believe it is best to not add anything and just drink the coffee straight the way it is, black.
Instant coffee vs. instant tea
Instant coffee and tea bring the original brewed taste of coffee or tea back, ready to be made at your convenience. Instant products do not require much effort and are ready fairly quickly. When wanting a cup of tea or coffee in a matter of seconds, turn to instant to save some time.
With tea powder all you need is a spoon and water to make your cup. No need to wait for the flavors of the tea leaves to bleed into the cup as they do so instantly. Instant tea powder can be made into your favorite hot and cold tea beverages without the steeping time and minus the tea bags.
Just like instant tea powder, instant coffee is also an easy way to brew coffee. With instant coffee, coffee can be made at home or on the go without coffeemakers or additional equipment. It's ready in moments so you don’t have to wait for the coffee to drip down as it is being prepared. Similar to instant tea, instant coffee can be made into any hot and cold beverages of your choice.