Comparing Coffee and Tea

By Damian Papworth

For millennia men and women from all across the globe have savored tea both for its healthful benefits and for its unique taste properties. Tea has been a mainstay in the dietary regime of many countries in the Eastern world as well as in countries of the west, such as Great Britain. It continues to be a mainstay in the diets of many Americans today, in part due to its great versatility.

Some teas serve as the perfect accompaniment to finger sandwiches and petit fours at a proper tea party, while others provide a deep sense of calm and rejuvenation after completing a workout routine. Some people enjoy a strong cup of good tea in the morning to help wake up, while others savor a nice mild cup at night to help them relax for bed.

Tea comes in a variety of all-natural, herbal blends, many of which have been shown to possess great health properties. For example, many teas are rich in antioxidants, which help the body defend itself against free radicals in the atmosphere and against the potential onset of many forms of cancer. Green tea in particular is often cited as one of the single healthiest, most anti-oxidant rich natural products in the world. Many scientists cite its pervasive presence in the Japanese dietary regime as a major source of their population's lower rates of cancer and better overall health.

While it has never been doubted that tea has numerous potential health benefits, it has only recently been discovered that its common counterpart, coffee, may also have health properties which are beneficial for the human mind and body. In the past decade scientists have begun to analyze the chemical composition of the coffee bean, and, as a result, have found that dark coffee, like tea, is very rich in antioxidants. Due to recent studies it has been suggested that daily coffee drinking may help with memory preservation and with the prevention of certain types of common cancer.

Most Americans today enjoy coffee both for the caffeine fix it provides and for its bold, smooth flavor. Some people enjoy taking a quick vacation from a long day with a good, strong cup of black espresso, while others look forward to socializing with good friends over a warm, frothy cappuccino at the local cafe. Whether it is treasured for the morning pick-me-up it provides or for its rich, unique flavor, coffee has long been a mainstay in the western diet.

Coffee drinks, like tea, come in a vast array of blends and flavors. And while the two drinks certainly possess many similarities, coffee is unique in that the beans used to brew it will reflect the climate and soil properties of their origins. The same type of coffee bean grown in one particular climate and soil will have a very different taste than that same bean grown somewhere on the other side of the globe.

Another significant difference between tea and coffee is that coffee is more often enjoyed with more additives and condiments. While tea is typically savored with just a bit of sugar or milk, coffee drinks often come with a vast array of additives, such as different types of milk, sweetener, or syrup. Thus while both tea and pure coffee have many nutritional properties, many coffee drinks provide a less healthy alternative to tea because they are often in calories, fat, and sugar.

Both coffee and tea are enjoyed for their nutritional and taste properties, yet any lover of either beverage can tell you that the two are very different beverages. - 31805

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