Coffee or Tea. It’s a worldwide debate that’s not going anywhere soon. Though some countries like Australia are nearly evenly split on their preferences, most proudly declare one or the other their drink of choice.
This notably includes China where 98.9% of the population prefers tea, according to Indy100, whose 1.3 billion citizens easily make it the second most popular drink on the planet behind only water. On the flip side sits Guatemala with a staggering 99.6% of citizens choosing coffee.
Though tea may reign supreme regarding numbers, coffee consumption is rising faster than ever causing this a debate to only grow in intensity. This made us wonder—could factually comparing the health benefits of coffee and tea decipher which drink is superior? And not just concerning our taste buds, but also our minds and bodies?
Although you can likely guess where our loyalty lies (hint: it’s in our name), we’re not trying to answer the centuries-old tea vs. coffee conundrum with a single blog post. However, why not take a more in-depth look into these drinks and consider how—and if—they can physically and mentally benefit our lives in more ways than merely being delicious.
Boosting Antioxidant Levels
In the simplest of terms, antioxidants are integral elements in supporting our overall health. Created naturally within the body and ingested as part of our diet, both coffee and tea contain high levels of several antioxidants—the most significant being polyphenols.
Essential for reducing inflammation and repairing the damage of cells, studies have shown that polyphenols can decrease rates of cancer, slow heart disease, protect tissues, and more.
Freshly-brewed green tea contains higher levels of antioxidants and polyphenols than black, iced, or ready-to-drink teas—all of which have far lower concentrations. However, coffee handily wins this battle as the average cup of joe boasts a full two and a half times more polyphenols than the average green tea.
Boosting Your Immune System
Trying to kick that stubborn cold for good? Then put that kettle on the stove and pour yourself a warm cup of tea. By naturally introducing T cells, a type of white blood cell necessary to combat illnesses, green tea has been proven to boost your body into sickness-killing overdrive.
Any increase of antioxidants and polyphenols is beneficial. However, when it comes specifically to boosting your immune system or treat autoimmune diseases, there’s no link suggesting that coffee is an ideal method like there is for tea. Though it will by no means slow down recovery, don’t expect coffee to speed it up either.
Preventing Heart Disease
Remember those polyphenols from above? They’re not only fantastic for immune support and cellular health. They also assist in decreasing inflammation which can lower the risk of stroke and heart attack. So does that mean coffee wins this category too?
Not so fast. Though the antioxidants do help in some areas, a study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association actually gives the advantage to tea. Researchers found that consumers that drank over six cups of tea daily had a 36% lower heart disease risk vs. single cup a day drinkers.
As for moderate, two to four cup a day coffee drinkers, they found a 20% drop in heart disease in comparison to their lighter coffee drinking counterparts. Not bad, but still a substantial 16% decline from tea drinkers.
Dementia & Memory
Tales of Buddhist monks chugging tea to enhance meditation practices dates way back to 5th and 6th Century China. Since then, this drink has become a stimulating staple in the lives of billions to boost concentration and focus. So does this legendary beverage score higher points than its considerably younger rival?
Though no one denies that a buzz from a strong cup tea can snap anyone into attention—and some studies in the UK have seen some possible cognitive improvements—they frankly don’t compare to those observed with regular coffee drinkers.
A study published by the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease revealed that drinking approximately 3–5 cups of coffee daily during your middle-aged years was linked to a 65% decreased risk of dementia and/or Alzheimer's Disease later in life. In the same study, they found no significant changes in tea drinkers whatsoever.
So overall—is coffee or tea the healthier choice? It all comes down to a draw. Coffee wins in promoting a lifetime of sharp, stellar brain power. Tea takes the cake in supporting your heart to pump stronger than ever. Either way, you’re doing your body a delicious favor so drink what makes you happy!
Join us in toasting to our health with freshly roasted coffee beans grown in Kona, Hawaii. Carta Coffee Merchants proudly ships handpicked, small-batch 100% pure Kona coffee in multiple varieties straight to your door.