Coffee and tea are two of the most popular beverages in the world today. These two drinks are used by different cultures all over the world as a form of refreshment and as a stimulant. Only water outranks them in popularity. These two drinks have their similarities and their differences as well, which makes them unique. They are also characterized by advantages and some disadvantages as well.
Historical Background of Tea- The history of tea goes back to thousands of years in the past. Its use as a beverage is so ancient that no one is really sure about how it all started. There are several places in the world that claim the honor of being the birthplace of tea. One of these places is a location somewhere in Southeast Asia, in a point where the countries of India, China, Tibet and Burma meet. Historians speculate that from this area came the first practitioners of cultivating the tea plant. There is another area which can be found in the Yunnan province in China which has also been identified as the birthplace of tea. In fact locals claim that the place has the oldest cultivated tea tree which is more than three thousand years old.
As proof that tea drinking goes back to the ancient days, legends about it are known in China. One such legend is about the emperor Shennong who discovered that tea was such a pleasant drink after a few leaves of the plant were blown towards a bowl of boiling water that he was preparing as a drink. Tea drinking spread from the various countries in Asia and from there to the Western world. Western countries such as England have taken to tea drinking that tea time has become a British tradition.
Historical Background of Tea– Compared with tea coffee is a lot more recent discovery. Legend has it that it was first discovered in Ethiopia when a goat herd was intrigued by the fact that his goats were unusually jumpy after eating the fruits from a certain plant. That event was supposed to have happened sometime in the 9th Centyury but the earliest written record of it was in 1671. It is more likely then that coffee drinking started some time in the 13th Century. From Ethiopia the knowledge of coffee spread to the Middle East, to Europe and then to the Americas and Asia. Right now coffee is cultivated in almost all of the continents.
Benefits of Tea Drinking- One of the reasons why tea is very popular is because of the numerous health benefits that are attributed to it. In fact because of the increased awareness about fitness and health more and more people are turning to tea as their beverage of choice. Here are just some of the benefits that you can get out of drinking tea:
1. Antioxidants- This is the most popular benefit that you can get out of tea drinking and with good reason. The antioxidants help in fighting the effects of the toxins that we get from the environment, Some forms of tea contain the most potent antioxidants known to man.
2. Reduced Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke– The drinking of tea can also contribute in reducing the risk of the development of cardiovascular diseases. It can prevent the development of clogs in the arteries and in the veins which can cause health problems in the future.
3. Stronger Bones- Some studies suggest that tea drinking can also develop stronger bones. Add that to the fact that some people drink tea with milk which is the number one source of calcium.
4. Fights Cancer– Some studies also suggest that tea might contain some components that can help in fighting off cancer. This claim is not conclusive yet, but the evidence is strong and is really pointing out that way.
5. Increases Your Rate of Metabolism- Drinking tea can also increase the rate of metabolism of your body. That kind of property is why tea drinking is very popular among those who are aiming to lose some weight. Add that to the fact that tea is free from calories which means you can drink it without adding anything to your waistline.
Benefits of Coffee Drinking– Coffee is a lot more controversial. There is actually an ongoing debate right now as to whether coffees can bring some benefits to the body or not. Here are just some of the known benefits that you can get from drinking coffee:
Stimulant– Most coffee drinkers consume this beverage for its stimulating effect. Tea has more caffeine but since very little amount is needed in making a cup of tea a cup of coffee packs a lot more stimulating effect. People have come to depend on coffee for this effect and only energy drinks which are increasing in popularity can match them.
Helps the Liver– Drinking coffee can help protect the liver from damages. This is very beneficial to those who are in the habit of drinking a lot of alcoholic beverages. This can prevent diseases and damages to the liver from happening in the future.
Antioxidants- Just like tea, coffee is also rich in antioxidants which can help protect the body from the harmful substances that it might get from the environment.
Memory Boost- Aside from giving you a strong stimulation, coffee drinking can also be helpful when it comes to boosting your short term memory.
Health Risks– I guess it is inevitable that there would be some concerns raised regarding the drinking of these two beverages. Between the two, coffee seems to have more risks on the health than tea. This is mostly attributed to the fact that drinking coffee means you are also consuming a huge amount of caffeine. While that is the main ingredient of coffee and the one that brings its stimulating effect it can also be mildly addictive and then there is the fact that it can cause some changes in your heartbeat. Constant coffee consumption can also lead to unnatural highs in the body which can never be healthy.
Tea drinking is not completely safe from having some form of bad effects to the health and to the body. One of the recent findings associate drinking of very hot tea with the chances of getting cancer of the esophagus. Scientists cite the fact that heat can help in promoting cancer cells in the body. That is why it is suggested that you should only drink tea that is lukewarm and not scalding hot. Some findings also suggest that green tea should not be recommended to pregnant women as it can cause some problems to them.
So Which is Better?- Given all of these characteristics and benefits of the two, can we now determine which is the better drink? Overall it seems that tea can provide more health benefits between the two drinks. This is the reason why it is often associated with health drinks and fitness programs. But, personally I prefer coffee because I enjoy its taste more than the bland plain flavor of tea. Even the strongest flavored tea pales in comparison with the most diluted form of coffee. If you are not in it for the health benefits then go for coffee by all means.