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Coffee vs. tea: Which is ‘better’ for us college folks?

Posted By Eunice Choi On Sep 26, 2011 @ 10:20 pm In Sandbox | Comments Disabled

coffee2519019976_2627ab652c_mSo, on Sept. 24, Berkeley hosted its very first Coffee and Tea Festival [1], which leads us to the question: What exactly is it that makes coffee and tea so awesome that they’re worthy of being celebrated? The Clog can’t help but feel like there’s a calling for us to generously provide our dear caffeine addicts and aficionados with a thorough (you have been warned) examination of both of these idolized libations. And to compare them if we dare.

Seeing how coffee is defined as “a precious, albeit addictive commodity for many millions of people around the world … the lifeblood of nerds, and the drink that keeps America’s workforce complacent on their journey to work” by the endearing Urban Dictionary [2], you’d think coffee is the friggen’ Elixir of Life. The hot, foamy key to success. The lucky Felix Felicis – appreciative Harry Potter reference, anyone? – to urgently gulp down before a daunting task (first Quidditch match or, in our case, exams).

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the stereotypical college student is depicted in various ways when it comes down to manner of dress, sleeping schedule (then again, what sleeping schedule?) and involvement in extracurricular activities, yet the one prevalent factor that never seems to change over the course of time is having a steaming cup of coffee in hand.

For freshmen that have just begun college, coffee is, like, such a “college thing” to have, isn’t it? It isn’t a coincidence that coffee has the cultural connotations for chaos, time efficiency and hardcore productivity. So once you grab your very first cup of Peet’s (n00b status), you feel so included into the exclusive college culture. It’s your badge of induction into the world of Independence and Extreme Sleep Deprivation. You send this silent yet utterly obvious message to others around you, “Awww yeah, I am such an adult,” when you slink down into a chair with your fingers wrapped protectively around your introductory Peet’s Dark Chocolate Mocha. Hell, you should just go enthusiastically stamp all your upcoming papers with characteristic coffee rings as legit proof of your participation in the caffeinated haze that was enveloping your head throughout last night. And if you’re feeling super hipster, maybe you can toss the milk and sugar and masochistically scald your coffee-virgin mouth with pure black coffee. You’re just that cool and that different from The Ones Who Down Coffee With Too Much Cream and Incompetent-Sugar-Substitution, Splenda.

The point has been made: Coffee is the iconic beverage of college. With its high caffeine content and chic reputation, it is sure to promise to be a dependable resource when you have lecture to attend and desperately need to stay awake.

However, it would be a downright shame to not represent the other population whose life-saving drink of choice is not coffee but instead the more “genteel” tea. Tea is just as incredible and amazing as coffee. Okay, that’s admittedly biased, but the Clog would like to present its readers with straight-up facts about both types of beverages. College is demanding, forcing us to sacrifice sleep and health when stress and work pile up. So hear us out and get informed to make good choices, as well as nab the chance to upgrade your Intelligent Conversation Starter Topics bank so that you can impress that cute guy in your math discussion class you’ve been only staring at (yet haven’t spoken to) for the past couple of weeks. That’s right, we know about that.


Coffee, made from coffee beans, is renowned for its rich, bold taste [3]. Although we are all college students not exactly attempting to become coffee connoisseurs, it’s interesting to know some its characteristics. For one, coffee is acidic, which effects how it tastes. It can leave a sort of dryness in the mouth and sour aftertaste so have mints or chewing gum at hand. Two, there is a diversity of flavors for coffee. Earthy, fruity, chocolatey, mellow and nutty are several ways to describe the different kinds of coffee.

Tea, from the leaves of certain plans, is certainly not lacking in the taste department. Its flavors are not as striking as coffee but they often have great depth. Tea can also boast of an impressive array of different kinds, such as herbal, oolong (black), white, green, and red, each with their own unique qualities. Some are bitter while others are fragrant and sweet and some are citrusy. Like coffee, tea has a large bank of words to describe its many flavors.


In terms of amount present per cup, coffee wins. Tea generally has less caffeine than coffee does, although the large assortment of tea leads to varying effectiveness. Comparatively, tea enters the bloodstream [4] slowly, which might account for why the latter is deemed healthier for the body. Coffee certainly is the preferred drink for people who need to stay awake. Tea is used more for relaxation than staying awake, but it does have caffeine.


Just for the record, too much of anything is never good. So when we talk about the researched health benefits of coffee and tea, it is with the idea of intake in moderation.

Tea seems to win in this category. With its arsenal of natural antioxidants and necessary minerals yet half the amount of caffeine as coffee, tea stands its ground well against the claimed health benefits of its rival. The two antioxidants tannis and catechin are associated with preventing cancer and heart disease. White tea specifically is known to inhibit the growth [5] of new fat cells. Generally, tea has been and is used for weight loss [6], healthy skin and maintenance of stable blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Fluoride, found in toothpaste, is another natural component of teas, which protects teeth.

Coffee is also highly praised. Studies have shown that coffee reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, aids in liver protection and prevention of heart attacks and even in relieving asthma attacks due to its higher content of caffeine compared to tea.


Teeth discoloration and proneness to addiction are two notorieties attached to coffee’s name. Once addicted, withdrawal can occur because caffeine is technically a drug. One withdrawal symptom is morning headaches due to the dilation of blood vessels in the brain. Caffeine constricts blood vessels, which could prove useful when dealing with migraines (disclaimer: Not a recommendation backed by doctoral advice), so once a frequent coffee drinker stops, the blood vessels dilate and cause pressure, leading to headaches.

Tea can be addictive as well. Moreover, popular brands like Snapple [7] and SoBe have come out with their own tea-based drinks. Unlike pure, brewed loose-leaf teas, these drinks are heavily saturated with sugar, thus making it very unhealthy.

The Clog rests its case and leaves the choice of who the winner is up to its readers.

Or to simplify life, just go along with liking both. That option is up for grabs and does not hurt either beverage’s feelings.

Image sources: Jennie Faber [8] (top) and chumsdock [9] (bottom) under Creative Commons

Article printed from The Daily Clog: http://clog.dailycal.org

URL to article: http://clog.dailycal.org/2011/09/26/coffee-vs-tea-which-is-better-for-us-college-folks/

URLs in this post:

[1] Coffee and Tea Festival: http://articles.sfgate.com/2011-08-07/bay-area/29860576_1_alfred-peet-espresso-berkeley-coffee

[2] Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=coffee&defid=1564735

[3] rich, bold taste: http://www.coffee-illuminated.com/how-to-taste-coffee.html

[4] enters the bloodstream: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Coffee_vs_Tea

[5] inhibit the growth: http://www.policyexpert.co.uk/blog/the-health-benefits-of-coffee-vs-tea/

[6] weight loss: http://www.the-color-of-tea.com/tea-vs-coffee.html

[7] popular brands like Snapple: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Diet/story?id=2123324

[8] Jennie Faber: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenniewoo/3439799764/

[9] chumsdock: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chumsdock/2519019976/

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