Tea or Coffee?

What’s your preference?

For me it’s definitely coffee first thing in the morning and if I have tea it’s always mid-afternoon.

It becomes a ritual more than anything.  The preparation, the smell of fresh coffee beans and the perfect cup.  Not to mention the daytime perk and a few other benefits.

After years of studies that seemed to swing between dire warnings and cheery promises about what our favourite caffeinated beverages do and don’t do, much of the recent science regarding coffee and tea is generally positive.

According to what some clinical dietitians have to say for tea vs coffee for health benefits: drinking tea has been linked to lower risks of cancer and heart disease, improved weight loss, and a stronger immune system. Meanwhile, studies point to coffee as a potential way to head off not just Parkinson’s but type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and heart problems. 

Drinking too much of either can have an opposite effect.  Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, and if you have low iron levels, excessive tea intake may exacerbate your condition. Excess caffeine intake from tea may reduce melatonin production and disrupt sleep patterns.

For coffee it can be increased anxiety and poor sleep (especially if you drink it at night).

But let’s face it, almost anything in moderation is okay and almost everything in excessive amounts is not. Maybe the best thing is to have a little bit of both.

Of all the various types of teas we can choose green tea is often touted as the healthiest tea. It is chock full of polyphenols and antioxidants that help to boost brain and heart health. Green tea is considered one of the least processed true teas as it does not undergo oxidation. But it’s not always the best tasting. You have to go for high end Chinese green teas which are pan-fired or roasted featuring toasty and earthy flavors. Japanese green teas are steamed resulting in floral and vegetal tastes. I always ask my friend who lives in Tokyo to bring me back powdered matcha when she comes to visit. My neighbour has brought me back very nice green teas from China.

As far as coffee is considered, drinking it black is best because of the micronutrients, including potassium, magnesium, and niacin. The effects of coffee vary widely based on the type of bean, the brand of coffee, the roast, and the brewing method. I do French press and prefer an organic fair-trade brand the best but it’s the flavour that seals the deal. To my detriment I can only drink it with real cream and maple sugar ( therefore one cup is sufficient. Right now my favourite is “Joshue Treethe first roast and their espresso – I buy the beans and sometimes mix them together as one is medium roast and the other is dark. They’re full bodied but not bitter.  Second choice is “Peet’s” Major Dickason’s Coffee Blend – a rich, robust dark roast with full body.  Unfortunately we cannot buy these in Canada. I brought several bags back but now they’re finished.

Canadian brand “Kicking HorseKick Ass is also high on the list.  My latest purchase is Ethical Bean which is organic and fair trade – bought at Costco. 

When back in Palm Springs I’ll be sure to buy Joshua Tree at the farmers market or when visiting Joshua Tree.  In my opinion it’s still the best.

So what will it be...coffee or tea?