08 July, 2011
Caffeine Content in Tea Vs. Coffee
According to MayoClinic.com, coffee has more caffeine than tea. However, every brand is different and even the same latte that you order from the same coffee shop each day may have a slight variation in caffeine content depending on how long each pot was brewed, how it was ground and other variables. Black tea has caffeine, but significantly less than coffee, and both are knocked out of the ball park in comparison to the new sports drinks.
People often forget that coffee and black tea are really beverages that contain a drug. That drug is caffeine and it can be a nasty one to kick. Both the words "caffeine" and "coffee" come from the Arabic word “qahveh.” In the 6th century, coffee trees were being propagated in northeast Africa. It wasn’t until the 17th century, however, that coffee gained popularity in Europe. By the 18th century, coffee plantations were popping up all over the West Indies and in Indonesia.
Caffeine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It increases alertness, but at the same time it impairs your fine motor skills and causes insomnia. This is why so many people who want to work straight through a project or who need to stay awake for particular hours use it as an actual drug. It only takes 15 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream, and it takes six hours for half of that same caffeine to be eliminated from the body.
Caffeine and Neurology
Over the years, caffeine has been the subject of intense study because some study suggested that coffee, even decaffeinated, may have neuroprotective qualities to it. This means that drinking more than one cup of even decaffeinated coffee throughout the day could possibly stave off Parkinson’s disease. However, there is still no clear-cut explanation and in fact, a recent study in 2007 conducted through the University of Paris, Bordeaux University and University of Lisbon involving women and men showed that caffeine intake had a significant effect on verbal retrieval in women--particularly older women--who drank more than four cups of coffee per day. There was no difference in men who consumed the same amount.
Drinking tea goes back 5,000 years to China, where it was first cultivated. Black, green and oolong teas are the three types. Tea is second only to water in terms of how much is consumed daily by people all over the world. Green tea has many health benefits because it contains antioxidants called polyphenols. Green and black teas are believed to help protect against many types of cancer. This belief stems from random studies and none of them are without variables. For example, bag teas have slightly less caffeine than loose tea. Also, brewing techniques, size of the tea leaves and their variety are significant variables that affect studies.
If you are trying to decide which is the best drink to have in the morning, you should look at your health and decide from that standpoint. Do you have acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome or heartburn? If you have any of these, then it is best if you consult with your doctor before starting to consume either black, green, oolong teas or coffee. All contain caffeine and all can induce withdrawal symptoms in people who become addicted to them.
- Kichigin/iStock/Getty Images