Saturday, June 15, 2013

Coffee Versus Tea - A Guest Post

By:  Samantha Joyce 

This headline sounds more dramatic than it needs to be. Unlike Pie vs. Cake where pie is the clear winner, there is a time and a place for coffee and tea. Confusion arises from persistent global beverage stereotypes like: Americans only drink drip coffee, the UK drinks tea, Italians drink espresso and of course in France there is the ever-present French press. In the spirit of cooperation, I offer this community building advice on how to incorporate coffee AND tea into your daily routine.

The Coffee Drinker

This highly caffeinated persona operates under the sway of some false information. They believe tea doesn’t have enough caffeine (according to the Mayo Clinic a cup of black tea has 14-61mg while a shot of espresso has 40-75mg). On a hot day coffee drinkers may be persuaded to drink a glass of refreshing iced tea. Chances are they have not had hot tea brewed correctly and find it to be weak and flavorless.

Recommendation:  A Tea Education

Start with a bolder tea like China Breakfast, Earl Grey or a Pu-erh fermented style tea. These teas have upfront flavors that coffee drinkers will enjoy. Next, people tend to ignore the basic rules of brewing a good cup of tea. Remember the 3Ts: Tea, Temperature and Time. While all tea comes from the same plant Camellia sinensis, how it is processed differs and so the amount of tea you need to brew a cup differs. Look for specific instructions. A general rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of tea per 8 ounces of hot water. Speaking of hot water, teas have different temperature needs or they become bitter to the taste. Most green teas are better at lower temperatures like 180F but a Pu-erh needs the kettle right off the boil at 212F. The last variable is time. Again it is good to consult tea packaging for specifics because tea steeping can vary from 2 minutes to 7 minutes. A common error is to over-steep the tea thinking it will make a stronger cup. If anything it could result in a bitter cup. Up the tea dosage but do not try to increase the steep time for a stronger cup. One great cup of tea may not be enough to convert a die-hard coffee drinker but it’s a start. Maybe even the start of an afternoon habit?

The Tea Drinker

Tea drinkers tend to have an openly negative reaction to coffee, where as coffee drinkers tend to keep their supposed superiority over tea drinkers to themselves.  Coffee is a harder sell to a staunch proponent of tea. Any argument regarding the health benefits, heavenly aroma or hearty taste of coffee are met with a ‘why bother’ attitude since tea still is #1 in their mind.

Recommendation: Third Wave Coffee

This is a growing trend where coffee is treated like a prized wine. The coffee’s exact location is pinpointed to a specific grower and the environmental factors and the chosen varietal are added to the nuanced flavor of the bean. It is then micro-roasted and handled with care until it reaches the consumer and enjoyed within the first two weeks of the roast date. When prepared using a careful pour over brewing method, this coffee is a delight to the taste buds for coffee OR tea lovers to enjoy.

Go With the Flow

There’s no reason to take sides in the Coffee Versus Tea battle when you can have it both ways. Good quality products and proper brewing methods make a difference in both coffee and tea. Try it! You will see that it is easy to appreciate the finer points of both.

Samantha Joyce is a writer for Seattle Coffee Gear and enjoys sharing her knowledge of all things coffee (and tea!)

Adagio Glass Teapot vs Pour Over Coffee Glass Handled Chemex photos by Seattle Coffee Gear and Samantha Joyce 

1 comment:

  1. I think that both the products contains antioxidants that stops the aging signs but that is also true that coffee contains larger percentage of antioxidants than tea . Do you agree ?

    Finn Felton

    Kopi Luwak