Students and other hard-workers know this. When the screen starting to get blurry, YouTube doesn’t catch headlines anymore, Facebook does not show any activity; probably it is that long-awaited moment to get the work done! And here comes the best friend, large warm cup of delicious life saver and brain energizer – tea or coffee. Suddenly everything is shining; eyes wide open and night prepared for humbling of records in reading! But how is it actually possible?
Text: Anežka Prosecká
These two substances are considered as the biggest commodities in the world, right next to the tobacco and alcohol. As we could expect, long time passed before we were enabled to enjoy various teabags and barista’s tricks.
Here it isworth to mention, that tea and coffee were considered as ritual and occasional beverages few hundreds of years ago and we should think more about how luxurious it could appear ages before to have a cup of these now available literally on every corner.
People and scientist still doubt about the effects of these two beverages, but the positives ones are above the possible negative effects. When one is comparing „what is better“ here comes a wide spectrum of possible answers. Generally could be said, that not tea, neither coffee is better that the other one. The most active substance in them is well known caffeine.
So the best barista knows how to make heart shape on the milk foam?
Of course not. The best baristas are able to recognize various tastes and aftertastes in coffee. To those, who put tons of sugar and litres of milk into their coffee – yes, it has more than „bitter“taste hidden inside.
I will have a tea… No you won’t.
People are used to say „tea“ about every beverage, which is prepared from herb/plant and mostly with boiled water. However, the true tea comes from Camelia sinensis, contains caffeine, differentiating according to processing of leaves and people from tearooms would just go mad, if someone calls herbal or fruit teas a tea!
And so what are these true types of tea, you may ask.
After green, black and white, there is semi-green and pu-erh. Green tea is gained from leaves being withered, fried and dried. For black teas there is an additional process. Instead of frying it is rolled and oxidising, hence reaching the black colour. White tea is just dried before previous manual processes. Semi-green tea is in the half way between green and black one. That means that the leaves are oxidised, but not fully.
Pu-Erh is a fermented tea, which has strong earthy taste, sometimes little mouldy. It can be substitution for coffee, when doctor says “not to drink coffee”.
And why can doctor gives such a recommendation?
It is scientifically proved that coffee increases blood pressure permanently and also some compounds of it are able to make mess in one’s vanes. This effect is not that significant for whole population, but it is able to help with cardiovascular diseases, when they start to occur.
One might have noticed that coffee awakes faster and stronger, but also the tiredness comes back after approximately 2-4 hours. That is because of the caffeine, which is being absorbed and eliminated in the body really fast. That is the time, when you feel little desspresso J
The similar process goes along with the tea. However some people could notice different, possiblyles intenser but longer holding effect. This could depend on the type of tea and also on another chemical compounds present in the tea beverage. These compounds are able to manipulate with caffeine in the digestion differently.
Sounds too complicated?
Here are some numbers:
Dry weight tea leaves contain 2-3% of caffeine, coffee beans 1.2-1.4% – that is almost twice as less as in the coffee. However in the cup of beverage there is approximately 40 mg in green tea and 105 mg in grounded coffee, which is almost three times more than in the coffee!
What happened with my beloved brain?
Caffeine substitutes special regions in the brain – adenosine receptors – which normally cause the tiredness. However, body will recognize that there is something different and starts to create more of these receptors. That is the reason of possible addiction to coffee/tea – more precisely caffeine
Alternatives of the desired effect:
Guarana, maté, wayusa – these are three of Latin-American trees. Leaves are used for maté and wayusa and for ages have been prepared ritually by boiling in the water during the night in the middle of the tee-pee. They contain much more caffeine and one serving should not be combined with any other caffeine beverage. Guarana comes from tree Paullinia cupana and there are fruits and seeds – together reminding shape of an eye – also highly caffeinated.
Alternative beverages without caffeine:
Beverages from the following herbs, plants can simulate taste of either tea or coffee and also have similar preparation processes.
Alternatives for Tea:
herbs – melissa, mint, linden, sage
rooibos and lapacho – trees, wooden taste, serve for releasing and reducing phlegm
Alternatives for Coffee:
In this part it is important to highlight, that instant coffee is not a coffee at all. It is basically already prepared coffee beverage, which is chemically adjusted to create these granules. Imagine how much chemistry and additives had to be used to make dry solid substance from liquid!
coffee without caffeine à it is really made from the real coffee beans, by long chemical process simulating metabolism of caffeine
chicory “coffee” à chicory, or wallflower root is used commonly in several types of coffee alternatives. It has bitter, but also a little bit sweet taste and can be prepared grounded as well as instant.
barely “coffee” à barely, which is roasted in the brewing process and can be used as a coffee substituent. When grounded it makes similar beverage, slightly more bitter and not as sour as coffee can be.