Beautifully Infused Addictions

The Coffee vs. Tea Debate

To some, coffee is an essential drug, a dark liquid used to jolt the brain and scare away headaches and fatigue, while others are drawn to the fragrant soothing of tinted teas which offer a decent fix for exhaustion. Both coffee and tea have strong social standings in our world today, but if put up against each other, which would reign supreme and which would be left steaming? Whether you enjoy the drinks cold and sweet, or hot and traditional, here are some pros and cons to help you choose between these addictive beverages, including diverse histories, health benefits and distinctly different flavours.

For starters, coffee and tea have been around for eons. Herbal waters were supposedly discovered around 2737 BC, while coffee bean extract appeared around 1000 AD. The legends of these monumental discoveries may not be factual but they’re very popular. The story of tea originates in China, where the adored emperor, Shen Nung, was supposedly sitting beneath a towering tree while his servant boiled some drinking water. The legend explains how leaves fell from the tree, fluttering down and landing in the emperor's water. Shen Nung reportedly decided to try the newfound infusion and loved the simple change in flavour it offered. He shared his servant’s discovery with everyone and tea has been an adored drink ever since. Several thousand years later, a humble Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi, allegedly noticed that his goats were so energetic after sampling a particular berry, they were not able to sleep at night. Kaldi reported his findings to an acquaintance at his local monastery, who made drinks out of the berries and found that the bitter mixture kept him awake and alert during his lengthy evening prayers. The acquaintance shared his discovery with the other monks, and the knowledge of the energizing berries quickly spread, sweeping through town after town and bringing these magical beans across the globe.

Moving on, ​some people enjoy the simple things in life, such as the perfume of flowers or the subtle sweetness of a warm cup of tea, while others are drawn to the bold richness of coffee, as its strong bitter flavour chases away any fatigue. Clearly both infusions have distinct flavours and aromas, yet it is entirely possible to enjoy both the delectable taste of a perfected brew and the ambrosial goodness of a sweetened cup of tea slipping down your throat. Scientists in 2014 found that the largest coffee market, in terms of retail value, was the United States, at $130 billion, while China led the tea market at $90 billion. Considering those massive numbers, are you going to go with teas gentle flow or fight your way toward the brew?

Finally, our society today is full of skeptical opinions and paranoia, making it difficult to know what to believe and what to live by. For example, many people traditionally have believed that coffee, as beautiful as it is, stunts your growth and causes various heart diseases. Now, however, with our constant advancement in scientific knowledge, scientists are realizing that there are perhaps more benefits to drinking the dark elixir than consequences. Recent studies generally found no connection between coffee and increased heart disease or cancer. In fact, scientists have found that consumption of this strong infused beverage can decrease mortality and protect your body against Parkinson’s disease, type-2 diabetes and liver disease. These new revelations are caused by the fact that past experiments did not take into account that heavy coffee drinkers commonly participate in high-risk behaviours, such as smoking and physical inactivity. Tea, on the other hand, has a spotless reputation. The infused water contains antioxidants, which help eliminate specific chemicals found in your body that attack artery walls and contribute to cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, the benefits of tea are limited; drinking this infusion alone could potentially help your health, however it is not clear whether the tea itself is beneficial, or perhaps tea drinkers simply live a healthier lifestyle compared to others. The facts may never be known, but thus far, both delicious hot drinks seem to offer equal health benefits.

To conclude, coffee and tea drinkers are usually quite loyal to their beverage of choice. They are swept to one side or the other, with factors such as history, taste and health benefits aiding in forming strong opinions against either beverage. With research proving that our society prefers to be woken up with the unmistakable aroma of roasted coffee beans, will you join the sweet mochas and strong brews, or will you stay true to relaxing earl greys and sociable orange pekoes? The choice is yours. Which do you prefer, coffee or tea?

References:

National Coffee Association. (2009). ​The history of coffee.

Mayo Clinic. (2017). ​Nutrition and healthy eating.

Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School. (2014). ​Tea: a cup of good health?

Huffpost. (2014). ​Here's unsurprising proof that coffee is more popular than tea in pretty much every country.

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