Tea versus coffee: battle to the death

JOSH DARE (under pseudonym Georgina White) weighs in on the daily war that’s being waged just by the kettle.

It’s a tense battle here today in the trenches of the kitchen come morning tea time. The opponents are fired up to boiling point and have long history of feuding. Welcome to the ultimate grudge match: tea versus coffee.


Standing in the black corner (by the toaster), over 12 centuries old is Coffee. With origins stretching all the way to Ethiopia and Europe, this contender is the Beverage Beast from The Middle East. And in the kind of orangey-brown corner, still standing after 5,000 years is Tea. The love puppy of Chinese medicine, this challenger has been dubbed The Continental Oriental.


Never before has this arena seen such bloodlust. The coffee fans are taunting, “Pussies!” at the tea drinkers. The tea fans are screaming back, “Tweekers!”. But it an equal battle?


Coffee’s health benefits have been debated and it stands on shaky ground. There’s no doubt to its popularity – according to a 2001 survey, Australians drank more cappuccinos than hot tea, milk or fruit drinks. How many, you ask? Roughly 434 million cappuccinos in 2000 alone, according to Lavazza Coffee. But personal taste aside, the long term benefit of drinking coffee is open to debate, despite several studies focusing on the relationship between coffee consumption and many medical conditions, ranging from diabetes to cardiovascular disease to cancer. However, one fairly consistent finding has been the reduction of type 2 diabetes in coffee consumers. Which could be good news, if you’re anti-type 2 diabetes and like a good cuppa joe.


Tea, on the other hand, is often perceived as coffee’s less popular little brother. It shouldn’t be the case though: research has shown that drinking tea can provide many benefits. In recent years, research has suggested that tea is high in antioxidants which fight cancer and disease. While this has not been medically confirmed, most nutritionists suspect that drinking tea daily reduces your risk of at least some forms of cancer. In one study, tea drinkers in the United States had half the risk of prostate cancer. Also, the typical level of caffeine in a cup of tea is about half that of coffee. (According to Tetley, the average caffeine content of one cup of brewed tea is about 40mg, whilst the same amount of drip coffee contains about 85mg.) Recent studies in the UK also show that drinking rehydrates just as effectively as drinking water does.


But, at the end of the day, there’s one important thing besides health that’ll dictate what you drink: taste. The choice between coffee and tea willo all come down to personal preference. So just get out there and wear your hot beverage with pride.

Box out
Instant weight loss in your coffee?
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