I'm getting old. Senior moments already!
With the cold weather approaching, I thought it'd be appropriate to address a topic of much argument and tears and bloodshed over the decades. Tea....or coffee?
I used to be a strict tea drinker. Coffee, ugh. Nasty, awful stuff. Then college hit, and I began to drink tea obsessively (you should see my cabinet. It's a bit, er, full. I think I have a good 20+ flavors in there, in various forms of bagged and loose leaf, with various grades of roll and density and cure). But, despite my strict loyalty to tea, I also started to drink the occasional coffee. I'm sorry, tea! Forgive me!!
I've gotten a bit of a taste for the stuff, but I still like to have a little coffee with my cream and sugar. It has to be practically white, and really sweet for me to be able to truly enjoy it. I also like cream and sugar in my tea, old English way. There are definitely a vaster variety of teas that I like, as well, which provides a better playing field for taste.
Some of my favorite teas include chai flavors, oolong, flavored greens, flavored rooibus, mate, and various blacks, including your standard earl grey to such strange tastes as wine flavored tea. It's my spring tea, but I drink it year round.
So beyond flavor, what are the health benefits of tea? Well, they're pretty extensive, especially green tea, oolong tea, and rooibus tea (which is naturally caffeine free). All tea has less caffeine than coffee, so if you're trying to kick that caffeine addiction, switching to tea just might be your thing.
Tea has amino acids, vitamins, polysaccharides, anti-carcinogens or anti-tumoric properties, an immune system boosters. It's good for your intestines and your skin, it's good for your teeth, normalizes blood pressure, prevents against heart disease and diabetes, prevents against various bacterias, and just plain tastes good. What kind of flavors would I recommend in your vitamin-in-a-cup?
Earl Grey is a good one, especially if you find a mix that has bergamot in it or vanilla. Chai tea, for the cold, is very spicy if you make it strong (as I always do). Any of the 'berries' are good in a tea-- strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry. Raspberry oolongs are fantastic. Chamomile is a soother. The first time I drank chamomile I fell asleep in an easy chair and almost dropped my empty mug. It's very good with honey. All teas come 'unflavored' but you can get flavored versions of anything and everything. Where to start, really? Well, shameless plug, you can go to eZenTea.com and check out their online shop. Or you can visit them in person in Chamblee, GA if you live in the Atlanta area. Their Earl Grey de la Creme, Iced Berry Wine, and Ceylon Raspberry black teas are to die for (and available on the website, go figure). Their Magnolia Oolong is delightful if you want something slightly sweet but greener. They also have several chocolate flavored teas. And they have over 160 flavors of tea in the shop, including food and desserts and meditation.
But what about coffee? Coffee has a more negative association with the great amounts of caffeine it possesses-- caffeine addiction can be very unpleasant when you go through withdrawal. I've seen it first hand, but luckily have never suffered it, having never been a regular coffee drinker. I'll stick to my tea. But in moderate amounts (you can drink all the tea you want, just so you know, but you should also keep hydrated while doing so, because both tea and coffee are diuretics, meaning they dehydrate you) coffee has been studied with results suggesting positive affects, such as reducing the risk of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, heart disease, diabetes, gout, etc. Coffee also has anti-oxidents, just like tea. But the pros are far less numerous than those associated with tea.
I would say that it's a fair contest, but, along with my bias, I think I'll stay with tea, thank you very much.