Consumer Wise: Coffee vs. tea: Which is better for you?

By Angie Moreschi, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 10:47 AM EDT

Drinking coffee or tea is something most of us do every day.

“When you have to have that go in the morning, coffee’s it!” said Lisa Hermeo, while enjoying a cup of java at Jet City Expresso in Tampa.

“We have a glass of tea at night for relaxing and warmth,” customer Scott Hitchcock said. “We like mint.  We like raspberry. My wife has a whole cupboard full of different types of tea bags.”

Whether you enjoy a spot of tea or that cup of Joe, the good news is there’s growing research to show both are healthy for you.

Popularity

“Mmmm, that’s good, you can taste the orange,” said Leslie Malolos, taking a sip of a café Borgia, Jet City’s signature drink, made with espresso, honey, orange zest, and whipped cream.

Coffee wins for popularity at Jet City, according to owner Jessica Conlan.

“Coffee is just a staple,” she said. “(We) absolutely sell more coffee.”

But when it comes to which is better for you; that’s a tougher call.

 “Oooooh,”Conlan said, looking up and away, struggling for an answer; finally responding: “What would be healthier for me? Tea.”

Actually, it’s not so clear-cut. 

The amount of caffeine in each varies depending on the brewing process, but an 8 ounce cup of coffee generally has about double the caffeine of an 8 ounce cup of black tea-- about 100 milligrams in the coffee compared to about 50 in the black tea. (Bay News 9 image) 

Caffeine Connection

Tea-leaves have more caffeine than coffee beans, but the brewing process draws out more caffeine from the beans, than it does from the leaves. So, once brewed, coffee has more caffeine than tea.

Caffeine can be good or bad, depending on whether you get jittery or have a sensitive stomach or get jittery, but for most, it’s a plus.

“When I get up, I have to have at least two cups of coffee, just to get me started in the morning,” customer Gary Isle said.

“The caffeine buzz is better,” concurred Hermeo.

The amount of caffeine in each varies depending on the brewing process, but an 8 ounce cup of coffee generally has about double the caffeine of an 8 ounce cup of black tea-- about 100 milligrams in the coffee compared to about 50 in the black tea. Green tea has a bit less caffeine than black tea and some herbal varieties have no caffeine at all.

You do have to be careful not to drink too much caffeine.  If you consume more than about 500 milligrams a day—which is about 5 cups of coffee or 10 cups of tea, it’s probably time to cut back a little—especially if you feel nervous, anxious or jittery.

Health Benefits Coffee

Both coffee and tea are rich in antioxidants, which is part of the reason they can be such healthy pick-me ups. Studies show each beverage has unique benefits. 

First: coffee.  Studies show java not only provides that much needed jolt, but also can help

Improve memory

Lower the risk of:

  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Type-2 Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s
  • Liver & colon cancer

Live longer

Coffee drinker Gary Isle was happy to hear all the benefits.

“I did not know that,” he said. “That’s great. I’ll just keep drinking coffee!”

Health Benefits Tea

Not to be outdone.  Research shows tea can help:

Lower the risk of:

  • Heart attacks
  • Cancer
  • Strokes

Make your bones stronger

Soothe your stomach

Boost your immune system

Burn more calories 

“Aaah, I had no idea about the weight loss. I’ll have to do that for sure,” Candace Riger said, laughing.

Oral Hygiene

On a purely cosmetic level, the tannins in tea tend to stain your teeth a bit more than coffee.  However, on the positive side, green tea is believed to help prevent gingivitis and tooth loss. 

No matter which one you drink, swish water around in your mouth after you enjoy your beverage, to help reduce staining.

And the winner is…

When it comes to which drink is healthier, actually, it’s it’s pretty much a tie.   So, go ahead and enjoy both. 

Customers at Jet City were happy to oblige.

“They have a turmeric ginger  (tea) that they sell here,” said coffee drinker Isle. “I tried it last week, it was just fantastic!”