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Are You A Coffee or Tea Person?

Wong Shu Lee  

|

  May 20, 2022

Coffee and tea are two of the most common drinks in the world. Both contain caffeine and antioxidants and can help you feel energized, making it difficult to decide between the two. 

 

Here is everything you need to know about the differences and similarities between coffee and tea and which is better for your health. 

 

Coffee Contains More Caffeine

 

Coffee and tea both contain caffeine, a stimulant that can make you feel awake and energized. 

 

Studies found that people who consume a moderate amount of caffein have a lower risk for type 2 diabetes than people who do not consume any. They were also less likely to develop certain cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases — including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's — and cancers like colon cancer, uterine cancer, and liver cancer. 

 

One cup of coffee typically contains 80 to 100 mg of caffeine. One cup of tea, by contrast, only contains 30 to 50 mg of caffeine. Generally, coffee has two to three times more caffeine compared to a similar-sized black tea. However, the exact ratio depends on several factors, including: 

 

  • The type of tea
  • Amount of tea used to brew a cup 
  • The temperature of the water
  • Length of time the tea is left to steep 

 

Black tea, for example, contains 48mg of caffeine, while green tea only contains 29mg. Pure herbal teas such as peppermint tea and chamomile tea contain no caffeine at all. 

 

However, it's important you don't consume too much caffeine, which not more than four to five cups of coffee a day. That's because, in excess, caffeine can cause: 

 

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Elevated heart rate
  • In extreme cases, it can cause epileptic seizures

 

Keep in mind, everyone's caffeine tolerance is different, so it's important to note how your body reacts to it and adjust accordingly. 

 

Tea Provides More Sustained Energy and Attention

 

Since coffee contains more caffeine than tea, it will give you a bigger buzz. Tea, however, appears to provide a more sustained boost in energy than coffee. 

 

That's because tea, unlike coffee, contains L-theanine, a chemical that metabolizes caffeine over a longer period of time. 

 

Both green tea and black tea contain L-theanine, but green tea has slightly more, at about 6.56 mg, compared to black tea's 5.13 mg. 

 

Coffee Contains More Antioxidants 

 

Both coffee and tea contain antioxidants —  chemical compounds that may reduce your risk of certain conditions like cancer or diabetes. However, coffee has more antioxidants generally than tea preparations. 

 

In fact, a 2013 study found that coffee contained more antioxidants than tea, hot chocolate, and red wine.

 

Common antioxidants in coffee include chlorogenic, ferulic, caffeic, and n-coumaric acids. Some experts even consider caffeine to be an antioxidant. A major component of green tea called catechin is also considered an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. 

 

Consuming antioxidants in the form of coffee or tea is believed to potentially prevent oxidative degradation, a chemical reaction that can cause cellular damage. 

 

—-

 

There is no clear winner between tea and coffee, the choice basically comes down to which effects you are looking for. 

 

If you'd like a quick buzz, coffee's high caffeine content will get you there. However, if you are more sensitive to caffeine, you may prefer tea due to its lower caffeine content and L-theanine levels which means you get a longer, more stable energy boost.

 

Just remember to drink coffee and tea in moderation for antioxidant benefits, as having more than four or five cups per day can provide health risks from the amount of caffeine. 

 

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