Catherine Felegi is the founder and author of the blog Tea Love, a blog dedicated to all things tea-related. You can find this post and others on her page, http://cafelegi.wordpress.com/.
I must admit, as much as it pains me to say this, I do drink coffee. It feels like a betrayal, cheating on my love of tea but there are times when simply, I cannot wake up. At this moment, I have a cup of coffee by my side to stay awake and meet with friends later. Coffee is my pick-me-up. Tea is my meditation.
Now, there are plenty of benefits for both drinks. But who honestly is the true winner? If you ask The Color of Tea, neither. Both have separate benefits. But let's compare the two drinks and I will let you decide in the comments!
Where does it come from?
Coffee: Coffee comes from the coffee seed (not the bean, which is a misnomer), originated in Yemen.
Tea: Tea, as we well know from my blog on the history of tea, comes from a plant called the Camellia sinensis from China.
What's the origin story?
Coffee: Coffee, like tea, does not have a concrete origin story. One legend believes that Sufi mystic Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin saw some very energetic birds flying about. Upon sampling the berries that the birds were feasting on, he found the coffee seed.
Another story states that Sheik Abou'l Hasan Schadheli's disciple, Omar, found the beans and tried to eat them. When he found them to be bitter, he roasted them. That did not help so he boiled them. When he boiled them, he saw that it created a brown liquid and sampled some and discovered coffee.
Yet another account says that young goat herder Kaldi saw his hyper flock chewing on the berries. Naturally curious, he chewed on a few himself and, upon finding himself energized, brought it to the Muslim holy man. The holy man disapproved and threw them into the fire, causing a pleasing aroma. The other holy men followed the smell, raked the berries from the embers and boiled them to produce the first cup of coffee.
Tea: When Emperor Shen Nong, who was well-known for his knowledge of both agriculture and medicine, was resting and boiling water one day, he saw a leaf fall into his drink. Rather than toss out that water and boil a new batch, he decided to try this gold liquid, producing the first cup of tea.
How are they made?
Coffee: Coffee berries are picked and roasted depending on what the manufacturer wants to produce. From there, they can be ground and boiled for your enjoyment. You can also eat some delicious chocolate-covered coffee berries, if you so choose.
Tea: Tea will vary depending on what the manufacturer would like but typically, the leaves are picked, wilted, oxidized, bruised and packaged.
How much caffeine is there in each drink?
*Note" Caffeine is an important topic. If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, please look up caffeine content of all drinks.
Coffee: Coffee is well-known for its caffeine content and, if you are like me, you more drink it to stay awake more than anything else. Coffee, depending on the cup, can range anywhere from 0 mg (when drinking decaf) up to 200 mg for a generic brew.
Tea: Tea also varies for caffeine content. While a "pure" tea (that with the camellia sinensis plant) will always have caffeine, you can opt for an herbal tea that does not have any caffeine. However, a cup of tea can go up to 61 mg for a black tea brew.
What are the health benefits?
Coffee: Coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson's disease, liver cancer, gallstones and type 2 diabetes! However, keep in mind that too much can raise blood pressure and cause the case of the jitters, so drink in moderation.
Tea: Tea has many health benefits depending on the tea. They can help with everything from weight loss to pregnancy. However, it is not firmly proven that tea does perform all these benefits, so please bear that in mind.
And now, I pose the question to you. Which is better, tea or coffee?