A Heated Discussion: Coffee or Tea?

What’s your hot beverage of choice this winter? Coffee or tea?

Either way, you’re in luck! Both coffee and tea have health benefits and are just downright enjoyable to consume. With so many options and varieties in each category, we thought it worthwhile to take a look at the benefit make-up so you’re getting the maximum value health and dollar-wise.

COFFEE

Let’s start with coffee, a $40B market. Marketers would have us believe that the best part of waking up is Folgers in our cup. However, not all coffees are created equal, as we explored in our November 2016 blog on this topic covering organic and fair-sourced, availability and awareness, value and price. If you’re looking to evaluate what’s in your cup, consider the full spectrum of processes involved to get it there. These include: raw materials, roasting and brewing. A lot can go wrong (or right!) along the way.

“Every step a truly top-notch coffee bean endures on its journey to your cup is a labor-intensive one, and many hands do much work to ensure your mornings start off right. The raw materials are valuable enough on their own, but when the craft of roasting and the skill of brewing (when the brewing really is done with skill) are added to the mix, well, the result is almost priceless—though it comes to us pretty cheap, relatively speaking.” (article, Serious Eats)

To break it down, it’s worth a look beyond the label to the coffee’s company. A quick visit to the website of your coffee of choice should provide some answers. Once you understand the company’s practices, its time to consider aroma and flavor. If you’ve never considered the art of coffee appreciation, here’s an article by Coffee Area to help you define the 800 notes found in coffee by its body, taste and aroma. Our favorite option comes from a company who sustainably farms and roasts with care to create high quality coffee rich in flavor and freshly packaged that doesn’t break the bank.

TEA

Tea is the healthier alternative to coffee, right? Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. Again, as in coffee, there are many variables to consider in selecting your tea of choice. All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, a warm-weather evergreen. How the fresh leaves of the tea plant are processed and their level of contact with oxygen determine resulting types of tea. During oxidation, tea leaves undergo natural chemical reactions that result in distinctive color and taste characteristics. (source, teausa.com)

Tea has less caffeine than coffee, in general and its well established that the compounds in tea – their flavonoids – are good for the heart and may reduce cancer. When shopping, it’s important to note the distinction of teas derived from the camellia plant and herbal teas made from herbs, spices or other plant material. After looking at tea labels and an online search of the company, you’ll be more informed to choose wisely. Look for packaging that ensures freshness and company quality processes. Our top selection comes from a company who sources its teas from China, SriLanka and India (where the soil and climate conditions are optimal for the tea plant), harvests at peak maturity and dries the tea in methods that preserve the most aromatic flavor and antioxidants.

One of the top reasons to drink this beverage (hot or cold) is that all teas from the camellia plant are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that detoxify cell-damaging free radicals in the body. And the longer you steep the it, the more flavonoids you’ll get in your ideal afternoon cup of tea.

The COMPARISON

When we talk coffee, we’re jazzed about naturally occurring antioxidants and essential micronutrients, increased alertness, improved energy levels, boosted metabolic rate and physical performance. See our November 2016 blog: Be Thankful for Coffee’s Five Amazing Graces.

When we talk tea, we’re elated about the presence of polyphenol antioxidants and its benefits as a digestive aid that is hydrating, calorie-free, energizing while providing weight management support. See Time’s 13 Reason’s to Love Tea.

Perhaps we should be consuming a balance of coffee and tea daily. I default to coffee for a morning jumpstart and to tea for an afternoon or evening caffeine-rich or caffeine-free experience. What are your preferences for sipping and savoring your beverage(s) of choice?