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The Great Debate: Coffee vs. Tea

Updated on April 27, 2015

Which Side Are You On?

Which is better: coffee or tea? One might ask, "Better for what?" For some, there is nothing that can be substituted for the wonderful aroma and the first sip of a morning cup of coffee.

For others, the first beverage they reach for when they get home from a long day is a cup of soothing, refreshing tea.

In the summer, both coffee and tea lovers have delicious iced versions; there are caffeinated and decaffeinated versions of both; and both come in an endless variety of flavors.

So, which is better? Let's weigh our options.

Pick Your Poison

Which drink do you prefer?

Image by Raymond Brown on Flickr
Image by Raymond Brown on Flickr

Which is more popular?

See the numbers

If I wanted to find out which was better in regards to the true consumption count, we could answer the question of which beverage is better by popularity.

As a whole, coffee drinkers spend about $18 billion on coffee; over half of us drink coffee every day, and another quarter drinks it occasionally.

Entire empires, like Starbucks, have been built on the back of coffee beans. But I'm sure you already knew that. Did you know that Starbucks opens approximately 5 coffee shops every day? This is what they tell us in the book, The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A. Michelli.

We might have trouble getting our recommended 8 glasses of water, but we have no trouble pouring a third or fourth cup of coffee.

Image by Like_the_Grand_Canyon on Flickr
Image by Like_the_Grand_Canyon on Flickr

All About Tea

The second most consumed drink in the U.S.

Did you know that tea is the second most consumed drink in the U.S.? It's second, only to water, but on an average day, only 20 percent of Americans have a cup of it.

A study by the American Institute for Cancer Research found that green tea, one of the most beneficial teas, health-wise, was the least popular non-alcoholic drink in the US. Yet tea is very popular for its health benefits and just for tea enthusiasts in general.

Do you drink tea? Take the poll below and weigh in about why you enjoy sipping a cup of tea.

Do you enjoy tea? - Take the poll...

Why do you enjoy drinking tea?

See results

Tea vs Coffee - Let's take a peek

Image by Andrea_44 on Flickr
Image by Andrea_44 on Flickr

The Benefits of Tea

Why is tea good for you?

Both drinks have their devotees, but just because something is popular doesn't mean better. We typically associate tea with health, and indeed, a myriad of health benefits are granted to tea drinkers.

Tea is chock full of antioxidants, particularly green tea. Tea is packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, which are known to fight disease.

Tea contains about as many flavonoids as fruits or veggies. In addition, green tea can lower the risk of breast cancer and reduce death rates from heart disease. Black and green teas can lower the risk for ovarian cancer.

Choose Tea Leaves

Image by austinevan on Flickr
Image by austinevan on Flickr
Image by Vassilis Online on Flickr
Image by Vassilis Online on Flickr

The Down-Side of Tea

When is it not as good for you?

One of the drawbacks of teas you buy in the grocery store is that they are made of roots, flowers, stems, herbs, and spices. Which isn't a big deal, until you know how much better it could be.

In herbal teas, there are typically not tea leaves at all. To ensure you get the benefits from flavonoids, make sure you are getting tea from leaves. Remember this next time you throw a party and give out tea favors to your guests!

Another benefit: hot brewing green or black tea releases phytochemicals.

Pros & Cons - Of Coffee & Tea

Coffee or Tea?

Image by Shandi-lee on Flickr
Image by Shandi-lee on Flickr
Image by vmiramontes on Flickr
Image by vmiramontes on Flickr

The Benefits of Coffee

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Coffee was regarded as the unhealthy choice until only recently when research emerged showing that coffee could reduce the risk of liver and colon cancers, Parkinson's disease, gout, and type II diabetes.It is not certain whether coffee is hard on the heart of some people, but one to two cups seems to be fine.

Coffee has now become another popular item for gifts, as in coffee gift baskets. People love coffee and tea, there's no doubt about it!

Caffeine can provide a pick-me-up, but as a drug, it can also cause jittery feelings and irritability in some people. It should also be noted that green and black teas are caffeinated, but in lower amounts than coffee. A cup of black tea has about half the caffeine of a cup of coffee.

Image by tvol on Flickr
Image by tvol on Flickr

Low Calories to Intense Calories

Cut the Cream!

Both tea and coffee are non-caloric beverages that fit into virtually any diet plan. But we tend to dress them, especially coffee, up with sweeteners, cream, milk, flavor shots, whipped cream, etc.

In that case, a simple cup of tea is much, much better than a dressed up cup of coffee. It takes the coffee and turns it into a glorified cup of sugar!

Image by
Image by

Coffee vs Tea

The Great Taste Comparison

Which tastes better? This depends on who you ask! Some people can't tolerate caffeine and hate the taste of coffee. Other people find tea too diluted and need the strong taste of coffee. Others find incredible pleasure in the subtle tastes of tea, you could argue forever about which tastes better and arrive nowhere. It really just depends on the person.

Of course, there is nothing to say that one person can't enjoy both coffee and tea. For these people, experts recommend having a cup or two of coffee in the morning and then enjoying tea throughout the day.

Studies have shown that holding a hot mug in both hands can produce feelings of contentment; whether it is coffee or tea in their personalized mug doesn't really matter as long as you are enjoying it.

Comments - Did you learn anything in this lens?

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    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      Great lens. I prefer coffee but do enjoy a strong freshly brewed tea like oolong. That stuff in bags sold by Lipton and Tetley is not what I consider tea. Doesn't even compare to the good stuff.

    • profile image

      dessertlover 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens! I've always wondered what the differences were between coffee and tea - healthwise. This was helpful!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Terrific lens. I like coffee but I do drink a reasonable amount of tea also, mostly green.

    • profile image

      ouriloilo 6 years ago

      Coffee or tea? I prefer coffee. Tea is tasteless.

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 6 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens :)

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 6 years ago

      What a great topic for a lens! Give me one of those sweet coffee drinks from Starbucks and I'm one happy camper.